Judge Rules Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson Needs Guardianship Due to Mental Deterioration


A judge ruled Thursday that Beach Boys founder and music luminary Brian Wilson should be placed under court guardianship to manage his personal and medical decisions due to what his doctor calls a “significant neurocognitive disorder.”

In a hearing, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gus T. May approved the petition filed by the family and inner circle of Wilson, 81, following the January death of his wife, Melinda Ledbetter Wilson, who He took care of most of his tasks and affairs. .

“I find, from clear and convincing evidence, that a guardianship of the person is necessary,” May said at the brief hearing. The judge said the evidence shows Wilson consents to the agreement and lacks the capacity to make health care decisions.

May appointed two of Wilson’s former representatives, publicist Jean Sievers and manager LeeAnn Hard, as her guardians.

No major objections were raised.

Two of Wilson’s seven children, Carnie and Wendy Wilson of the Wilson Phillips singing group, asked through their attorney that all the children be added to a group text chain about their father and that they all be consulted about medical decisions. The judge granted the stipulations.

The two daughters had asked for a delay in the process at an April 30 hearing while the issues were resolved, but at the hearing it was clear that a consensus had been reached.

A doctor’s statement filed with the petition in February said Wilson has a “significant neurocognitive disorder,” is taking medications for dementia and “is unable to adequately meet his personal needs for physical health, food, clothing or housing.”

Sievers and Hard have had a close relationship with Wilson and his wife for many years. In a report, Robert Frank Cipriano, an attorney appointed by the court to represent Wilson’s interests, said Wilson recognized the need for the conservatorship and said he trusts the judgment of the two women.

Cipriano’s report to the court said he visited Wilson at her “immaculately well-maintained residence in Beverly Hills,” where she lives with two daughters and a long-time live-in caregiver.

Wilson can get around with the help of a walker and a caregiver, Cipriano said, and has a good idea of ​​who he is, where he is and when he is, but he can’t name his children beyond the two who live with him.

He said Wilson was “mostly difficult to understand and gave very brief answers to questions and comments.”

Cipriano said he approved of the guardianship, primarily because of Wilson’s general consent.

Wilson credited Ledbetter with stabilizing his famously troubled life after they met in the mid-1980s and married in 1995.

Wilson, her seven children, her caregiver and her doctors consulted before the petition was filed, according to a family statement at the time. He said the decision was to ensure that “there will be no extreme changes” and that “Brian will be able to enjoy all of his family and friends and continue working on current projects.”

Judges in California can appoint a guardian for a person, their finances (known as their estate), or both, as was the case with Britney Spears. Spears’ case brought attention, much of it negative, to conservatorships, known in some states as conservatorships, and prompted legislative changes. Wilson’s case is closer to the typical traditional use of a guardianship, which very often applies to an elderly person with irreversible mental decline.

Wilson’s petition did not seek a guardian of the estate because his assets are in a trust, with Hard as trustee.

Deeply revered and acclaimed as co-founder, producer, arranger and primary songwriter of the Beach Boys and a masterful innovator of vocal harmony, Wilson battled mental health and substance abuse issues that disrupted his career in the 1960s.

He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 along with his bandmates, including his brothers Carl and Dennis and cousin Mike Love.

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