When It’s Not All Laughs-Jay Leno Faces Estate Planning Problem

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Jay Leno Faces Estate Planning Issues

Jay Leno Didn’t Have an Estate Plan, and It’s No Laughing Matter.


Turns out Jay Leno had to file for conservatorship for his wife because he didn’t quite have his estate planning ducks in a row. Jay’s wife has dementia, and if they had a completed estate plan, the sad and difficult time would have been much easier. A Durable Power of Attorney (POA) would have saved Jay from this predicament. If he and his wife had a completed plan, she would have named him as her POA, and that’s all that would have needed to be done.

A Durable Power of Attorney allows you to name someone who can control your assets and make financial decisions for you if you can’t do so for yourself. Instead, Leno has to go to court, which requires time, money, and medical testimony. Then, the court makes the decision. If there are other relatives in the mix, they could challenge Jay’s ability to be conservator, and seek the position for themselves. It’s up to the court to decide.

Dementia is one of those circumstances that can result in you being incapable of making these kinds of decisions. When you nominate someone as your power of attorney, they have authority to act in your best interest, and there is no need to involve the court. The other upside is the person is someone YOU choose, not the court.

Learning from Jay’s Mistake. By taking proactive steps to plan for the unexpected, we can avoid unnecessary headaches and protect our loved ones’ futures. It’s like putting on sunscreen before hitting the beach.

Due to Mavis’ dementia diagnosis, Jay wants to create a trust to hold “each of his and Mavis’s one-half interest in their community property.” The account would make sure that there are sufficient funds to provide for Mavis’ future care and for her family members after the couple’s eventual deaths.