Jay Leno’s wife Mavis Leno sometimes ‘does not know’ him

A lawyer for Mavis Leno is recommending that the court approve comedian Jay Leno’s request to become conservator of his wife’s estate as she battles “advanced” dementia that sometimes prevents her from recognizing the former “TV” host. Tonight Show.”

Ronald E. Ostrin, who in January was named court-appointed legal counsel for the proposed conservator, provided the most important update on the health of the 77-year-old philanthropist, who has been married to Jay Leno for more than 40 years.

In a report filed by Ostrin in Los Angeles Superior Court on March 28, the attorney said that during his investigation into Jay Leno’s efforts to become permanent conservator of his wife’s estate, he learned that Mavis suffered from “major neurocognitive disorders”, “cognitive disorders”. and “sometimes doesn’t know her husband, Jay, or his date of birth.”

Ostrin said in probate court documents — obtained Tuesday by The Times — that Mavis’ neurologist, Dr. Hart Cohen, told her she “was very disoriented” and would “ruminate about her deceased parents and on his mother who died around 20 years old. years ago.”

The doctor, who has been Mavis’ neurologist since treating her after a car accident in 2018, told Ostrin that “Mr. Leno loves his wife very much and waited to tell her about this matter out of respect.” (Cohen) said Mr. Leno was “such a nice man and treats (Mavis) like gold.” Ostrin wrote that he “reviewed substantial medical records that supported Dr. Cohen’s opinions.”

The attorney also described a Feb. 13 meeting at the Lenos’ Beverly Hills home, where he spoke jointly with the couple and with Mavis privately to discuss “his wishes and desires regarding the proceedings and his testamentary wishes “.

“MS. Leno was a charming person and, although it was clear that she was cognitively impaired, she still has a charming personality and can communicate,” Ostrin wrote in the report. “She expressed a desire to vote and told me a little about her philanthropic work. She had great confidence in Mr. Leno and relied on him for protection and guidance.

He said the Lenos, who have no children, “have a long-term, loving and supportive relationship” and have “sufficient resources” to provide Mavis with “a safe and least restrictive environment.” which she seems very happy with.

The report also explains why the 73-year-old comedian is not currently seeking conservatorship over Mavis, a separate legal guardianship that would put the two-time Emmy Award winner in charge of his wife’s medical and personal decisions. In speaking with Jay Leno’s attorneys and Mavis’ neurologist, Ostrin said he learned that Mavis “is already prescribed medications for the care and treatment of major neurocognitive disorders (including dementia), and that these can continue to be prescribed without a prescription or personal authorization. guardianship at that time.

The purpose of Jay Leno’s petition is to prepare an estate plan, Ostrin said. And, if anything were to happen to the comic, a petition “would be promptly filed according to plans to be established” and a curator of the person would be “appointed as soon as possible,” Ostin wrote.

“MS. Leno seemed very happy in their warm environment,” he said. “However, no one lives forever and the steps taken by Mr. Leno are necessary for his and Mavis’ protection.”

The court-appointed attorney said that “estate planning is something that almost everyone needs, but by the time you need it, if you don’t have it, it’s too late to get it “. He explained that Jay Leno’s motion to become conservator of his wife’s estate is “designed to give Mavis that protection with the protection of court oversight,” confirming that she does not object.

“She consents to it and wants it. Mr. Leno is her protector and she trusts him,” Ostrin wrote. “Based on my interaction with Mr. Leno, as well as some research I have done, he appears to be a stand-up guy and his private persona matches the public persona he projects.” (Ostrin footnotes “stand-up guy” to mean “pun not originally intended.”)

Jay Leno filed documents in family court in January requesting a conservatorship so he can structure a living trust and other estate plans to ensure his wife has “managed sufficient assets to provide for her care” if he predeceased her, according to a copy of the petition.

At the time, the petition stated that Mavis has been “gradually losing her ability and orientation in space and time for several years” and that her husband “is fully capable of continuing to provide” for her physical and financial needs. , “as he did throughout their lives. marriage.”

The comedian’s original filing stated that Mavis’s “current condition renders her incapable of executing the estate plan” and that she is under treatment for “dementia and mood disorders.”

It remains unclear exactly when Mavis was diagnosed, but a November medical report, filed as part of the court proceedings, indicates that she suffered from problems with her memory, ability to concentrate and use of the reason.

The documents stated that a conservatorship was necessary to allow Jay Leno to execute estate plans that “will provide for Mavis and Mavis’ brother (who is) her only living heir besides Jay.”

“Jay Leno always managed the couple’s finances throughout their 43-year marriage, and will continue to do so until his passing,” the petition states.

The former late-night TV host told the Daily Mail later in January that he “just wrote out a will, in case something happened.”

Times staff writer Meg James contributed to this report.

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