Who Is Britney Spears' Conservator, Jodi Montgomery?

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Who Is Britney Spears' Conservator, Jodi Montgomery?
Entertainment And News

Britney Spears has been making concerning posts on social media recently, leading fans to wonder if she is mentally ok. Her strange Instagram videos have been reminiscent of other periods when she needed to get help for her mental health issues.

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While Spears is one of the most successful performers in history, with a reported net worth of almost $60 million, she isn't allowed to control any of her money and hasn't since 2008. That's because her shaky mental health led her family to set up a conservatorship to protect her legal, financial, and business interests. 

The singer had a few very well-publicized mental collapses and her family stepped in to make sure that her mental illness didn't lead her to make decisions that would bankrupt her or ruin her career. Since 2008, her father and an attorney have been in charge of managing her financial and legal affairs in the form of a conservatorship, which is sometimes known as a legal guardianship. Spears' team has always said that doing that prevented people with questionable motives from getting close to Britney Spears and doing her harm. They also claim this arrangement has given her business partners the confidence in her reliability to keep working with her. 

In 2019, a shake-up in the Spears family led to Jamie Spears stepping away from his duties as a conservator. In his place, the court named a professional fiduciary care manager named Jodi Montgomery as Britney Spears' new conservator. She had already been involved in overseeing Spears' finances so this was a natural choice for the role.

Who is Britney Spears' conservator, Jodi Montgomery? 

Who is Jodi Montgomery?

Jodi Montgomery, along with her ex-husband Jack Montgomery founded the firm Paid Montgomery Fiduciary in 2011. On the firm's website, they describe the nature of the services they provide. "By definition, a fiduciary is a person to whom property or power is entrusted for the benefit of another," they write. "In the state of California, private professional fiduciaries are licensed by the Professional Fiduciaries Bureau of the Department of Consumer Affairs, enabling us to act on behalf of multiple persons not related to us for a fee.  In practice, we most often serve as trustees, probate estate administrators and conservators of the estate and person."

Montgomery comes at this career with a background in social work and she has a degree in social welfare from Berkeley. In her bio on her business website she says "she is formally trained in social work and strongly committed to meeting the particular needs of conservatees and special needs trust beneficiaries — and protecting them from all forms of physical and financial abuse."  

Why was Montgomery appointed to the role of Britney's conservator? 

Brintey Spears' father Jamie Spears had been her primary conservator until 2019 when he asked to take a leave from the role. He cited health issues because he was recovering from a ruptured colon in 2018. However, it wasn't as simple as that. In 2019, the Spears' patriarch reportedly broke into a bedroom to get to his 13-year-old grandson Sean Preston Federline and proceeded to violently shake the teen. Britney's ex-husband and Sean Preston's father, Kevin Federline, filed for a restraining order and Jamie Spears is no longer allowed to be near his grandchildren. The court also reduced the amount of time the kids can spend with their mother. Following this, Jamie Spears requested the court appoint Montgomery as a conservator. 

What does Montgomery do for Britney Spears?

Montgomery had been acting as a fiduciary care manager for Britney Spears for a year before she became her conservator. As a court-appointed conservator, Montgomery is tasked with overseeing Spears' finances, business dealings, and legal affairs. Montgomery has to report back to the court regularly and detail things like Spears' spending, any contracts she enters, and potentially also decisions about her health care, such as when Spears went to an in-patient treatment center in 2019. 

What does Montgomery get out of this deal?

Montgomery is paid set fee for her services. In the past, lawyer Andrew Wallet handled some of what Montgomery does now and he was paid about $426,000 per year for his work. Jamie Spears also drew a salary for his conservatorship but it was more modest, coming in around $125,000 annually. Presumably, Montgomery's firm has a fee structure for their services and the Spears family agreed to that when they hired her. 

Are the conservators controlling Britney Spears' life?

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There's much online speculation about the financial and legal control other people have over Britney Spears. She is, after all, a successful 37-year-old woman and mother of two. It seems preposterous that she shouldn't be allowed to make her own decisions. But there is a lot we don't know about the singer's life. She has had significant mental health issues in the past, like when she shaved her head in 2007 and attacked a photographer's car with an umbrella in 2008. She was also entangled with a man named Sam Lufti, whom her family said was trying to take advantage of her. Lufti, in return, claimed she was on meth. At other times, she has needed in-patient treatment to deal with unspecified mental health issues. Her family stays silent about all of this, probably to protect her privacy.

The legal structure of the conservatorship allows people other than Britney to manage crises in her life. Using the conservatorship, the family managed to prevent Lufti from gaining further access to the star through a restraining order and he is legally prohibited from saying anything bad about her in public. The conservators also claim their legal oversight of her career has opened up continued professional opportunities that she might not have gotten if her mental issues had been allowed to continue without anyone stepping up to help her.

Spears has been acting erratic on Instagram.

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Britney's son said she may never make music again.

It's true Britney hasn't suffered a loss of career since 2008; she has had successful albums, tours, a record-setting Las Vegas residency, and a stint as a judge on the X-Factor. It's easy to imagine that she might not have been able to get gigs like that if she was on her own and had periods of erratic behavior. She is also wealthier now than she was a decade ago, so the conservators are not mismanaging her money, nor are they taking a commission from her earnings. They get set fees. 

However, Britney Spears herself might be ready to walk away from her career. Her son Jayden Federline told his Instagram followers in March that he had asked him mom why she wasn't recording anymore and she indicated that she was thinking of quitting. "I remember one time I asked her, 'Mom, what happened to your music? And she was like, 'I dunno honey I think I might just quit it.' And I was like, 'What? What are you saying? You know how much bank you make off that stuff?'" he said in a now-expired Instagram live video on his private account.  

Spears could theoretically retire from music and still have enough money to live on quite comfortably if she wanted to. In 2018, her living expenses were reported at around $400,000. While that is a lot of money, it's not nearly as lavish a lifestyle as she could be leading. With a good investment strategy, she could turn her current net worth into a way to maintain her standard of living for the rest of her life. 

For the moment, there is no indication that the conservatorship will be changing but it is up for review later this summer. 

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Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. She is the creator of the blog FeminXer and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.