A legal battle has begun over the medical care of media mogul Sumner Redstone. The 92 year old billionaire Redstone is the primary owner of CBS Corporation and Viacom, Inc.
A lawsuit has been filed by Redstone’s former girlfriend who was recently replaced as legal authority of his healthcare. In updating his Estate Plan, Redstone removed his former girlfriend and appointed his long-time attorney.
- The girlfriend alleges that Redstone does NOT have the mental capacity to make changes to his Estate Plan.
- Redstone’s attorneys allege that he has recently had a CT scan, which showed that he was in good shape mentally, and his primary physician and other physicians have examined him and found him to be competent.
The Probate Court in Los Angeles, California may issue orders regarding his care. That might include ordering additional medical evaluations and psychiatric evaluations. The Court may want an independent party to provide this on behalf of the Court and report back to the Court before the judge makes any rulings.
This early litigation dealing with only his healthcare authorities is a likely forecast of further litigation after Mr. Redstone passes on depending on what his most current Estate Plan sets out.
Is this a rare situation? Sadly, no
This very public battle is one that, sadly, repeats itself in many estates across the country because the likelihood of being sick first is higher than just passing away suddenly. If you look at long term care statistics by the Department of Health and Human Services,
“Someone turning age 65 today has almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services and supports in their remaining years”.
This means that there is a high likelihood that someone will be managing your healthcare at some point in your life.
What can you do?
Health Care Authorities are a vital part of any Estate Plan. Who you chose to authorize your health care, if you are unable to, is vital. You want to choose someone who will follow your instructions and act in your best interests regardless of what their opinion is.
I cannot emphasis enough that you need to have legal Health Care Authorities that will follow your desires and your instructions. Often a family member may have their own emotional issues, which will preclude them from following your instructions. For example, if you have had a long life and are in a harsh declining health, or your mental capacity is slipping away, you may desire no effort be made to preserve your life. You may feel that your quality of life has slipped away. However, if your Health Care Agent does not follow your instructions, but due to their own issues, prolongs your life in a debilitated state, that may be contrary to what your strong desires are. Do make sure that you choose someone who is emotionally strong and stable enough to follow your instructions, to carry out your health care desires, not theirs.
At the Law Firm of Steven Andrew Jackson, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, we have helped hundreds of families protect themselves and their loved ones, avoid Estate Taxes and Probate Costs, and keep their Estate Plans current with the law through The Customized Protective Estate Planning Solution™.