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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dementia of jazz singer Etta James sparks family fights

I've always maintained that rich and famous people have the same family issues as the rest of us, just with more publicity. In this case, Etta James is apparently suffering from dementia. She had granted Power of Attorney to her son back in 2008 but her husband (not the father of said son) is disputing that she had mental capacity back in 2008. The husband wants Ms. James' bank accounts declared community property so that he can use it to pay for her care at home. Click here to read the story, which is posted on The Probate Lawyer Blog: Famous Fortune Fights. The attached photo is also from that site.

As upsetting as stories like this are, we really can take a lesson from them. So Ms. James' bank accounts are larger than those owned by our own parents. The issues are the same. Any of us could have blended families, disputes about what care is best, loss of mental capacity and disputes about who is handling the money. All of us should take steps to make sure that we have the proper legal documents in place not just for when we pass away, but in the event that we should lose our ability to manage our own finances.

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