Famed film director, John Singleton, allegedly had a stroke a week ago and is in a CA hospital unable to carry on his film business. Mr. Singleton “had not signed any health care directive or power of attorney that would let someone make medical or financial decisions for him,” and as a result, his mother is petitioning the court to be his guardian and conservator. His adult children do not agree. According to this New York Times article, Mr. Singleton has several deals pending requiring signatures on April 30. There is some doubt as to whether he has the capacity to complete the deals.
If he had named a power of attorney, that person could immediately step into his shoes and carry on his businesses/deals for Mr. Singleton’s benefit. If he had named a health care agent, that person could immediately consult with his doctors and make medical decisions, according to Mr. Singleton’s wishes, without having to petition a court. There is no one in place now to facilitate any of this.
In a Personal Contingency or Family Contingency Plan (a/k/a estate plan), the will gets all the attention. A good plan has additional components in place that allow individuals of OUR choosing to step into our financial and medical shoes and act for our benefit if we are unable to for a time, while we are alive.
As a result of not having either document in place, Mr. Singleton’s family is now engaged in a court fight to appoint a guardian and conservator…this costs, time, money and frays relationships.