Nichelle Nichols, American actress and star of TV’s Star Trek has found herself in the middle of a bitter battle for conservatorship to protect her interests. Nichols was diagnosed with dementia recently and four temporary conservators were appointed to handle her finances. Her son, Kyle Johnson, has claimed that the conservatorship was for his mother’s best interests.
According to Johnson, nearly $300,000 of his mother’s money has gone missing from her bank account. He has also claimed that Gilbert Bell, Nichols’ current manager, has had a property owned by the actress deeded to himself. The fiduciary conservators are not members of the family.
A friend of Nichols has filed a case to challenge the decision of the court to designate conservators on her behalf. The actress friend, Angelique Fawcette, claimed that the move to overturn the decision is to prevent damage to Nichols’ personal and financial interests. Fawcette also claimed that Nichols’ son has ulterior motives.
Fawcette claims to be a close friend of the legendary TV actress. According to her, Nichols was not diagnosed by a psychiatrist or a geriatrician. Five years prior to the events, she recorded a video where she interviewed Nichols. Nichols could be seen on the video telling Fawcette she was frustrated at how Johnson has been insisting that she stop going to conventions, essentially telling her to stop working.
According to Fawcette, who is 48, Nichols asked her to make the video in early 2013, prior to the onset of her health problems. The video clip was released by Fawcette in favor of Nichols, who she fears will no longer have an income source once she stops attending conventions. Fawcette, a filmmaker, claims that this could put a serious dent on the star’s finances and put her Woodland Hills, California home at risk. Should this happen, Nichols might have to be moved to a nursing home, something the star vehemently opposes. Fawcette said that Nichols’ request to film the clip was a way for her to protect herself.
This type of situation is something that unfortunately occurs all too often. Disputes like this are easily avoidable when a proper estate plan is in place, and we urge all our readers to consult with an estate planning attorney to plan for their future.
One aspect of estate planning is organizing your financial and personal assets for distribution to family and friends after you’re gone. Preparing an estate plan in advance helps to reduce taxes on your estate, eliminates the need for probate, facilitates distribution of your financial assets and enables you to share your wealth with loved ones as you see fit.
Another aspect of estate planning deals with legal guardianship of minor children. Whether you’re a couple with minor children, or a single parent, your plan should include designating a legal guardian for your kids in the event of your unexpected demise. If a car accident or plane crash were to take your lives, your children will have someone to care for them until they are grown. Funds from your estate can be allocated to covering living expenses for your children until they reach adulthood.
The sooner you put plans in place for your estate, the better. Getting this done early gives you peace of mind that your loved ones will be provided for after you’re gone. You’ll be glad you planned ahead when the time comes.
Micro Estate Planning Explained
Micro estate planning plays an important role in the estate planning process in relation to the care of minor children, as it covers the interim period immediately following your demise. In the event both you and your spouse were to unexpectedly pass on, who would take immediate responsibility for your children until they can be placed in the care of their legal guardian?
Your guardian may live in another city or state, causing a delay of hours or even days before they can assume custody of your kids. They may need to wait until the court releases your children into their care. In the meantime, your children may be placed under the care of child protective services — people they don’t know or may not trust — until your guardian can take over. Your young children won’t understand why they’re being taken from their home and being placed in stranger’s care.
Through micro estate planning, you can provide for your children’s immediate care upon your unexpected demise. You can specify in your will who you want the authorities to call in the event of a tragedy that takes your lives. You may want your children to stay with close friends, people they know and love, until their situation can be worked out. Being with people they know and trust can help reduce the trauma of your children’s loss.
Your estate planning attorney can help you draw up the appropriate legal documents to ensure that authorities will know who to call and where to take your children for short term custody if a tragedy takes your life. You can even give a copy to your short term guardian(s) to present to authorities if the need arises.
Micro estate planning will protect your children’s interests by placing them in loving, trustworthy hands when they need it most.
When you hear the term ‘estate planning’, most people think it implies end-of-life planning, but legally, that is not the case. When a person reaches 18 years of age, they are considered an adult under the eyes of the law. Consulting with an estate planning attorney in Orange County or Corona is the ideal way to get things in place and decide which documents are most relevant for you and your family.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney means that you can appoint a trusted individual, like a family member, to make important financial decisions on your behalf. This is activated when you are unable to make your own decisions. The person appointed to act on your behalf is known as ‘attorney in fact’, and that person can handle financial decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so, like if you are away at college or traveling. This is an important document to have in place as for some legal issues, time is of the essence, and if you are not available for whatever reason, a trusted individual like a parent, can act on your behalf and in your best interest.
A Living Will
Also known as a health care directive, a living will allows you to document your wishes regarding medical intervention if you are unable to communicate them yourself at the time. This applies to issues like artificial life support, or cases of coma, or vegetative states. This is an important document to have in place to ensure that your wishes as to what you consider living are followed through, even if you can’t communicate them.
Health Care Power of Attorney
With this document, you can allow a trusted individual to make important health-related decisions on your behalf. In these instances, the ‘attorney in fact’, has the power to make crucial decisions based on your wishes that you have communicated to them. These types of emotional circumstances include life support and life-ending scenarios.
From a parent’s perspective, if a child is in an accident while away at college and is unresponsive and kept alive via respirator, if the parent has been appointed as their child’s ‘health proxy’, they have the rights to pertinent information about their child’s health, as well as important end-of-life or medical-intervention decisions.
Obviously, this is an important aspect of estate planning for young people as without it, geography and legal red tape can prevent an important person in your life, such as your parents, from having the power to represent your wishes.
While no one really wants to entertain the possibility of situations like these happening, the reality is that they do happen. Having documents like a financial power of attorney, a living will, and health care power of attorney drawn up before you depart on your next stage of life as a student or adult is a mature and responsible step to take. Not only can these documents protect your own wishes, they also can save your loved ones a lot of added time, money, and stress during already potentially devastating times.