Prior to the passing of blues legend, B.B. King, and radio personality, Casey Kasem, both men were thrust into the media amid allegations of elder abuse and mismanagement of funds against each of their respective caretakers.
In the case of King, his daughter and a legal advisor were in the process of seeking appointment as his temporary co-guardians in an effort to subvert King's longtime business manager shortly before King passed away.
As for Kasem, the public learned of the ongoing battle between Kasem's second wife and his adult children from his first marriage – the likes of which resembled a Hollywood movie starring Joan Crawford but this time as the dearest step-mommy.
Some of the wretched details of the drama that played out for all to see included Kasem's children being prevented by their stepmother from seeing Kasem, Kasem's hasty removal from a nursing facility apparently due to one of the children visiting Kasem without the stepmother's permission and one of the children being appointed as the temporary conservator over the stepmother's objection.
Disputes in both estates continue which most recently included King's family alleging a murder conspiracy against King's former business manager and personal assistant that will trigger (no pun intended) what is known as the Slayer Rule, i.e., one cannot inherit from the estate of a person who one killed. Not kidding: http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/b-b-king-s-estate-murder-allegations-44399/.
What many people do not realize is that, in most states including Arizona, a well-drafted estate plan which includes Powers of Attorney and a Living Will, may prevent many of the disputes seen in the cases of King and Kasem.
Medical or Health Care Powers of Attorney, Living Wills and Durable Financial Powers of Attorney are documents where a person appoints an agent to act on his/her behalf regarding medical care, finances and end-of-life wishes if he/she is no longer able to make those decisions.
If someone believes the agent nominated in the Medical or Durable Financial Power of Attorney is not acting in the person's best interest, someone may petition the court to request that a guardian and/or conservator be appointed to provide care and to make decisions, including those of a financial nature, on behalf of the incapacitated person.
In some cases, a guardianship and/or conservatorship may be elected even if a valid Medical Power of Attorney, Living Will and Durable Financial Power of Attorney are in place and there is no issue regarding a renegade agent.
For example, a person who has dementia may continue to have legal capacity, i.e., the ability to understand and appreciate the consequences of his/her actions, and, therefore, maintain his/her ability to make decisions on his/her own – even if those decisions are not very wise.
In cases such as these, a family member of the person with dementia may sometimes elect to be appointed as the guardian and/or conservator of the person with the goal of further ensuring the person's protection.
Want more information on the process to becoming a guardian and/or conservator? Contact Marissa L. Sites, Esq. of Karp & Weiss, PC at (520) 325-4200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.