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When he lost Capacity, did Director John Singleton Have an Estate Plan?

May 26, 2019
David Parker, Esq.
An elder law attorney can help with paying for a nursing home
David Parker, White Plains and New City NY Estate Planning Attorney
David Parker, Esq.
David Parker is an attorney who specializes in Estate Planning and Elder Law and has been practicing law for 30 years. Be it Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Proxies, or Medicaid Planning, David provides comprehensive and caring counsel for seniors and their families. A large portion of David’s practice is asset protection strategies so that families do not lose their hard earned savings to nursing home care costs. He also handles probate administration for the settlement of estates.
The family of John Singleton, the director, producer and screenwriter behind the 1991 film “Boyz N the Hood” and several other movies, said that they had directed doctors to pull him off life support on Monday, after he suffered a stroke earlier this month.

“It is with heavy hearts we announce that our beloved son, father and friend, John Daniel Singleton will be taken off of life support today,” said the statement, which was released by Singleton’s publicist around 10 a.m. Pacific time. “This was an agonizing decision, one that our family made, over a number of days, with the careful counsel of John’s doctors.”

The New York Times reported in the article “Family Ends Life Support for John Singleton After a Stroke” that the 51-year-old native of South Los Angeles died soon after the life support was disabled. Also at the same time, his family members started jockeying for control of his business affairs since he lacked capacity. Singleton had a stroke on April 17 and was hospitalized in an intensive care unit.

The statement from Singleton’s publicist said that he had “quietly struggled” with high blood pressure.

Singleton was nominated for an Oscar for his directing in his debut film “Boyz N the Hood,” which centered on three teenagers growing up amid violence in his home city. Singleton was in his early 20s and fresh out of film school, when he directed the film.

He was the first African-American and the youngest person ever to be nominated for a directing Oscar award.

After he was hospitalized with the stroke he lost capacity, his mother, Shelia Ward, filed court papers in Los Angeles asking to be appointed temporary conservator, or guardian, saying that her son was scheduled to sign a lucrative settlement agreement around April 30 and would suffer a financial loss, if no one could sign on his behalf.

Like many other celebrities, Singleton failed to sign a health care directive or power of attorney, according to his mother’s court papers.

At the time, Ward said that her son was in a coma, but several of his children disputed her assessment of his medical state. The children opposed her control of the medical and financial decision-making.

In an email last week, his daughter Cleopatra Singleton said family members were hopeful that he would recover. However, he died on April 30.

Reference: The New York Times (April 29, 2019) “Family Ends Life Support for John Singleton After a Stroke”


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