Jay Leno has initiated legal proceedings to obtain a conservatorship over his wife's estate.
The TV personality submitted the conservatorship request on January 26 in Los Angeles, stating in court documents obtained by YEPPOST.com that she is "significantly incapable of managing his or her financial resources."
Included in the documents is a capacity declaration, as per the Judicial Branch of California, a form filled out by a physician, psychologist, or religious healing practitioner to apprise the court of the "mental capacity of a potential conservatee."
According to the form, Mavis Leno's physician indicated that she "has dementia."
Jay Leno is seeking court approval to enact an estate plan that he believes his wife would carry out "if she had the capacity to do so," as stated in the documents.
The petition specifies that Jay Leno "intends to establish a trust to hold each of his and Mavis's one-half interest in their community property."
"Jay wishes to establish an estate plan, comprising a revocable trust and will, that will cater to Mavis, Mavis's brother, and her sole living heir apart from Jay," as stated in the documents.
The court documents also repeatedly mention that Jay Leno has managed both of their finances throughout their marriage of over four decades.
In recent years, Jay Leno's own health has made headlines, notably after he sustained burns from a garage fire and fractured several bones in a motorcycle accident.
However, he has not publicly addressed his wife's health or specified the type of dementia she has. The petition notes that she has been "gradually losing capacity and orientation to space and time for several years."
A hearing for the proposed conservatorship is scheduled for April 9. According to the form, Mavis Leno is "capable but unwilling" to attend the hearing. She "does not wish to contest the establishment of a conservatorship," has no objections to her husband serving as conservator, and does not prefer another person to fulfill the role.
What to know about dementia
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dementia is a broad term encompassing "the diminished ability to remember, think, or make decisions," rather than referring to a specific disease. The most prevalent form of dementia is Alzheimer's disease.
In 2014, an estimated 5 million adults aged over 65 were affected by dementia. The Mayo Clinic further notes that between 5 and 6 percent of individuals with dementia will exhibit symptoms before the age of 65, a condition referred to as early-onset dementia.
Dementia symptoms encompass difficulties with attention, communication, memory, reasoning, and visual perception. Common indications include forgetting names of family members or friends, becoming disoriented in a familiar neighborhood, and struggling to complete tasks independently.
The Alzheimer's Association explains that dementia results from diseases that harm brain cells, disrupting their ability to communicate effectively. This disruption leads to changes in behavior, communication, emotions, and thoughts.
Risk factors for dementia include age and genetics, but research indicates that adopting a healthy lifestyle, such as following the Mediterranean diet, engaging in regular exercise, and avoiding smoking, can help reduce the risk. For early-onset dementia, risk factors include depression, diabetes, heart disease, social isolation, vitamin D deficiency, and other factors.