Etta James’ Husband Artis Mills Retains Conservatorship of Wife in Agreement Reached with James’ Sons

Français : La chanteuse américaine de blues Et...

Etta James in France some thirty years ago (Courtesy: Wikipedia)

This was announced yesterday in the L.A. Times:

The longtime husband of terminally ill blues legend Etta James will remain as conservator of her $1-million estate, a Riverside County judge has ruled.

In court documents, the singer’s son Donto James had requested appointment as temporary conservator, expressing concerns about his mother’s medical treatment and the costs of her in-home medical care.

Donto James, of Moreno Valley, said he and his brother, Sametto James of Riverside, have reached an agreement with Artis Mills, who married the singer in 1969, that allows him to continue making financial and health decisions for his ailing, 73-year-old wife.

But Riverside County Superior Court Judge Thomas H. Cahraman agreed to release only $350,000 for her medical costs, less than the half a million dollars that Mills asked for, Donto James said. The ruling was made Monday.

Mills estimates that he spends about $30,000 a month on his wife’s medical care, which includes a private doctor and nursing care at their home in Riverside’s Woodcrest community.

Donto James said he and his brother asked the judge to transfer their mother to a hospital for a thorough examination to make sure she is being provided the best health treatment possible.


“Mr. Mills’ aim is to keep her alive as long as possible,” Donto James said. “That’s my aim too.”

You know, when things do become terminal for certain people, I can see the idea of them coming home to die with dignity among the things that they have amassed in their lifetimes and with the people who love them.  Jackie Kennedy Onassis comes to mind.  But not the other way around.  That’s why this whole thing looks suspicious to me, as it probably would to Etta’s sons.  And it does look like reaching with the omnipresent Dr. James being given $30,000 a month, brought up from $10,000 a short while ago.

Ransack the estate with medical costs, and there is nothing left for her sons, who incidentally are not Artis Mills’ children.  A hospital would have to account for its expenditures, even to the amount of aspirin given, while a live-in home medical situation is yet another thing altogether.  The upkeep of the household is enmeshed with the patient’s care.

This is how a spouse or family member could easily sequester funds or spend money that has nothing at all to do with the patient or his/her care.

I think that’s why the judge was influenced by the sons’ suspicions, whether they were well-founded or not, and thus he refused to give Mills the half-mil he requested.  In this, he was assisted by Dr. James’ medical prognosis that Etta has not that long to live.

Let the girl be examined by qualified, independent individuals who take care of people in this condition.  And if there is nothing else to do for her, let her then come home and let her take her final breaths in this world in a good place–her home.

Etta’s last album is called The Dreamer, and is on the Verve label.  It was released in early November.

~ by blksista on December 21, 2011.

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