Britney Spears calls conservatorship 'voluntary'

The star's statement came in a court filing in which she nominated a trust company to take over her finances.The star's statement came in a court filing in which she nominated a trust company to take over her finances.

The conservatorship means a court-appointed guardian oversees the singer's personal and financial decisions as well as her healthcare.

The 38-year-old is currently seeking several changes to the arrangement.

Many fans have speculated she is being held against her will or stolen from, leading to a grass roots movement known as #FreeBritney.

However, the papers filed on Monday at Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday indicated that Spears wants the set-up to remain in place.

"This is a voluntary conservatorship. Conservatee wishes to exercise her right to nominate a conservator of the estate," wrote her lawyer, Samuel Ingham III, in a filing obtained by the BBC.

The arrangement has been in place since Spears' infamous public breakdowns more than a decade ago. For most of that time her father, Jamie Spears, has acted as her legal guardian, overseeing her mental health care and other aspects of her life and career.

He stepped back last year, citing health concerns, and was replaced on a temporary basis by Jodi Montgomery, a licensed professional conservator.

The singer had made little effort to alter the terms of the arrangement before this August, when her lawyers filed papers in Los Angeles, saying the star believed the conservatorship "must be changed substantially in order to reflect the major changes in her current lifestyle and her stated wishes".

Among those changes was a "desire not to perform at this time", and the removal of her father as her custodian.

Monday's filing reinforced this claim by nominating Jamie Spears' potential replacement.

"Britney is strongly opposed to her father continuing as sole conservator of her estate," said her lawyer.

"Rather, without in any way waiving her right to seek termination of this conservatorship in the future, she strongly prefers to have a qualified corporate fiduciary appointed to serve in this role."

The star requested that the Bessemer Trust Company, a New York-based wealth-management firm, took control of her finances - an estimated $57.4 million (£42.5 million), including about $2.7 million (£2 million) in cash, according to court documents.

The filing also stated that Spears does not have a developmental disability, and is not currently a patient of the California Department of State Hospitals or the California Department of Developmental Services.

A hearing on the conservatorship is scheduled for October. Last month, Judge Brenda Penny also extended the current version of the conservatorship until 1 February, 2021, in accordance with Spears' wishes.

In the meantime, Jamie Spears has sought to have future proceedings in the case sealed to protect his daughter and her two children.

Read the full story at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-54010661

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