The $57 million personal fortune of Britney Spears has taken a battering amid the drawn-out court battle to free the singer from her ironclad conservatorship.
Spears, 37, has seen her finances pockmarked by a “burn rate” of legal fees as well as her “refusal to perform”, according to court documents seen by The Sun newspaper.
Since her public breakdown 12 years ago, Spears has lived under a complex court arrangement which sees her well-being and estate, among other things, controlled largely by her father, Jamie Spears.
In the ongoing legal saga of her guardianship, the costs of paying for both the “Toxic” hitmaker’s own court-appointed lawyer, as well as her father’s law firm Freeman, Freeman & Smile, have run into the “millions”.
Spears is seeking to change that. Through a new legal team, she is now aiming to stonewall Jamie’s control over her finances and have the New York-based Bessemer Trust manage them instead.
In signalling her dissatisfaction with her conservatorship, Spears employed the Loeb & Loeb law firm to launch her bid to replace her father and lodge the independent Bessemer Trust as her conservator.
Yet, the ensuing attorney fees which run between $590 and $945 an hour is not “in the best interest of Ms Spears given the inevitable, very substantial expense that would be incurred”, Jamie argued in the documents.
‘Britney Spears simply does not share Jamie’s vision of a future,’ says her lawyer.
Jamie’s own attorney said: “The ‘burn rate’ that the estate is experiencing is high, and Ms Spears has determined not to work at this time.
“Mr Spears remains concerned about the ‘burn rate’ and at the same time, believes it is in Ms Spears’ best interest to ensure that Ms Spears may return to work with ease if she wishes to do so in the future.
“Of course, Mr Spears acknowledges that her decision to work is completely up to Ms Spears.”
The last time Spears performed was the end of a four-year Las Vegas residency that ended in late 2017, with some touring the following year. She announced an indefinite hiatus in 2019.
Such a “major change”, her lawyer Samuel D Ingham III said, shows that Spears is ready for her conservatorship to be loosened.
“Britney simply does not share Jamie’s vision of a future in which she resumes performing and leaves the management of her estate completely to him as she did in the past,” Ingham said.
“Instead, she has nominated Bessemer Trust as an independent, extremely well qualified full-service financial advisor with whom she can work collaboratively to plan for her future needs, whether or not she ever chooses to perform again.
“The only way to ensure Britney’s voice is heard will be for her to have qualified litigation counsel available in order to place her on a level playing field with Jamie.”
“[James] counsel are always welcome to pick up the phone to discuss a resolution.”