The husband and daughter of actress Zsa Zsa Gabor are attempting to mediate a dispute regarding the 95-year-old’s medical care and financial matters in a reported effort to avoid a lengthy court battle. Previously, Gabor’s only child, 64-year-old Constance Francesca Hilton, asked a California court to establish a conservatorship to mange her mother’s care and protect her assets. Hilton also asked that she be appointed her mother’s conservator. Gabor’s husband of 25 years, 68-year-old Frederic Prinz von Anhalt, opposed Hilton’s petition. The parties asked at a recent hearing that a decision regarding the requested conservatorship be delayed pending the outcome of mediation. The results of the scheduled mediation, which will take place with the assistance of a retired probate judge, will be reported in a court hearing scheduled for July 11th.
For several years, both parties to the mediation have accused one another of mismanaging Gabor’s finances. Hilton is reportedly concerned her mother is not being cared for properly and her money is being wasted. According to von Anhalt, Gabor’s expenses currently exceed her income. Von Anhalt also stated his wife is receiving the best care possible, but that he will be required to liquidate her assets, including Gabor’s home, in order to continue her care.
In a court filing, a doctor who evaluated Gabor cautioned that it was in the aging actress’s best interests to remain in a familiar environment. Dr. Debra Judelson described Gabor as bedridden and largely unresponsive. Judelson stated the actress became agitated whenever she was removed from the familiarity of her own bedroom. The doctor also reportedly witnessed Gabor calm down when her husband spoke to her or touched her hand.
According to an attorney for Hilton, her overriding concern is for her mother’s health. She is reportedly concerned over missed mortgage payments on her mother’s home and would like to have consistent access to visit with the aging actress. Hilton alleged in her court filing that von Anhalt isolated Gabor from family and friends and she was concerned because her mother appeared to be heavily sedated during each of her last two visits. Von Anhalt countered that Hilton was unfit to serve as conservator and accused her of abusing a previous power of attorney. Hilton’s attorney stated although the case is a difficult one, Gabor’s daughter is hopeful the matter can be resolved through mediation.
A California conservatorship exists when a judge appoints a responsible person or other entity to care for an adult who can no longer manage their own financial matters or care for themselves. After a conservator is appointed by a court, he or she is responsible for the conservatee’s protection and care as well as the management of the individual’s assets. In general, a spouse or domestic partner, relative, interested governmental entity, interested person or friend, or the conservatee may request a California conservatorship. If you feel someone close to you would benefit from a conservatorship, contact a knowledgeable Southern California probate lawyer to discuss your concerns.