Conservatorship of Etta James

Associate Attorney Pamela Valencia of Riverside elder law firm, Dennis M. Sandoval, a Professional Law Corporation, was the court appointed attorney for the contested conservatorship proceedings of the famous R&B singer, Jamesetta Mills, a.k.a. Etta James, up until the time of her death in 2012. The case involved a dispute as to whether Etta’s husband, Artis Mills, or her son, Donto, should be conservator of her estate.

At the time Etta was suffering from dementia, leukemia and kidney failure. For the most part, she was unable to communicate with Pamela. A conservatorship is a legal procedure in California where the court determines the appropriate person to handle the personal and/or financial affairs of a person, usually a senior, who lacks the ability to care for himself or herself. When the person has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, the court will appoint an estate planning attorney to represent the incapacitated person, as they did in Etta James’ case.

The story of this case is summarized in the Investigation Discovery Channel’s program — The Will: Family Secrets Revealed, The Etta James Story. Elder law attorneys Pamela Valencia and Dennis Sandoval both appear in the program, as well as family members and other legal and health care professionals. A free DVD of the program is available by calling our Riverside elder law firm at 951-787-7711 or visiting our website.

If you have questions such as:

  • Does my parent need a conservatorship?
  • Are there alternatives to a conservatorship?
  • What if my parent or siblings don’t agree to the conservatorship?
  • What are my duties as a conservator?
  • How do I prepare the accountings required by the court?
  • What if I want to contest a conservatorship?
  • What do I do if I am unhappy with the lawyer currently representing me in the conservatorship?
  • How much a conservatorship cost in Riverside or San Bernardino Counties?

call the Riverside law firm of Dennis M. Sandoval, a PLC, or visit our website to schedule a free one hour consultation with one of our elder law attorneys. Dennis M. Sandoval is the only Certified Elder Law Attorney in Riverside.

Senators Schumer and Brown Introduce Bill to Eliminate “Observation” Loophole to Care in Nursing Home

senior-observationMany seniors do not realize that they can be sent to a hospital emergency room and kept their overnight or even for several days, and never be classified as admitted to the hospital. Even though the senior was in the hospital, he or she is classified as an “outpatient” for Medicare billing services. This is because the patient is in “observation” status. This is the period of time that the doctor is evaluating whether or not to actually admit the patient to the hospital. Why is this so important?

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Improvement Standard Struck Down

Stethoscope-and-GavelFor over a dozen years, patients have been denied Medicare coverage because of the “improvement standard.” This was the illegal denial of coverage because a patient’s condition was stable, not improving, chronic and requiring only maintenance services. Jimmo v. Sebelius, No. 11-cv-17 (D.Vt.), filed January 18, 2011, was a lawsuit brought on behalf of six individual Medicare recipients and seven organizations representing persons with chronic conditions, to challenge this standard.

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Veteran’s Aid and Attendance


Looking for a extra funds to help pay for caregiving services in your home, in an assisted living facility or in a nursing home? Are you a veteran, spouse of a veteran or widow of a veteran that served during a time of war? If so, you may qualify for an under-utilized and much misunderstood benefit in which the Veteran’s Administration will pay you as much as nearly $2,000 per month. This benefit is sometimes referred to Veteran’s Aid and Attendance, Improved Pension or Enhanced Pension. A similar, but slightly different benefit is known as a Housebound Pension. The funds provided by these benefit program for veterans are often the difference between being able to afford to keep a frail elder at home and having to transfer them to a skilled nursing facility.

Our law firm has put together an information booklet, Veteran’s Aid and Attendance: A Nuts and Bolts Guide, which explains the types of services paid for by this program as well as the service and financial qualifications you must meet in order to qualify for this valuable benefit. To receive a free copy of our Nuts and Bolts Guide, click here, or if you prefer, call our office at 951-787-7711 and ask us to send you a copy of the Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Nuts and Bolts Guide. You can also schedule a complimentary telephone call or personal meeting with one of our attorneys to see if you might qualify for this valuable benefit, and if you don’t, what planning techniques might be available to help you qualify.

Dennis Sandoval is one of very few attorneys in the Inland Empire who is accredited to represent veterans and their spouses before the Veteran’s Administration.

Mr. Sandoval Featured in Two Recent Newspaper Articles on Elder Abuse

Comments from Dennis were featured in two recent newspaper articles on the rise of elder financial abuse. In the Wall Street Journal article, Elder-Abuse Cases on the Rise, Dennis describes two recent elder abuse cases that he handled, one involving a granddaughter who managed to convince her grandmother to transfer title to her house to her and the other case, in which a son, acting as trustee, took $600,000 from an account in his mother’s trust. Mr. Sandoval was also featured in a Riverside Press Enterprise article, More and More Seniors Are Being Ripped Off. Dennis describes a recent case he handled for a couple in the Temecula area, where a daughter of a friend managed to convince the couple to transfer title to their home to the friend’s daughter. These types of elder abuse cases are on the rise. Dennis M. Sandoval, A Professional Law Corporation, specializes in this type of elder abuse litigation. Contact our law firm for more information about possible remedies should you know an elder who has been financially abused by a friend, relative, neighbor or caregiver of the elder.

Dennis M. Sandoval, A Professional Law Corporation, of Riverside, California, provides representation throughout Riverside, Corona, Norco, Moreno Valley, Eastvale, Jurupa Valley, Mira Loma, Redlands, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Chino, Chino Hills, San Bernardino, Fontana, Rialto, Colton, Perris, Hemet, Sun City, Temecula, Murrieta, Menifee, Winchester, San Jacinto, Lake Elsinore, Idyllwild, Lake Arrowhead, Crestline, Running Springs, Wrightwood, Yucaipa, Palm Springs and Palm Desert.

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