Renowned restaurateur and former model, B. Smith, announced alongside her husband in 2014 that she was suffering from the early-onset symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. As Ms. Smith’s disease progressed, her husband began an extra-marital affair to cope with the deterioration of his wife’s memory. After going public with the relationship, Smith’s husband received considerable backlash from the online community who condemned his behavior on the assumption that if Smith’s mental state were better off, she would not approve. It is unknown whether B. Smith executed any advanced directives or end-of-life care instructions before her condition worsened.
An advance directive is a legal document that dictates a person’s wishes for end-of-life care and often includes a living will. Advance directives include instruction regarding medical treatment and personal requests that are to be carried out should the person become unable to communicate their wishes to a doctor. Advance directives not only secures a person’s medical care and end-of-life treatment in the event of incapacity but can also ensure that their finances will be overseen and managed by an agent in a Power of Attorney. Mental and physical decline are the unavoidable products of aging that many people must face and having advance directives in place will help protect you and your assets from malicious intent.
The controversy sparked by Ms. Smith’s marital situation caused several of her fans to believe her best interests are not being met in her current mental state. Over the course of her lifetime, Smith accrued a sizeable wealth that many fear is being used to fund the lifestyle of her husband’s new relationship. Had Ms. Smith drafted advance directives before her illness took hold, there would be no question about who would manage her affairs and what her end-of-life care wishes were. It is unlikely that such end of life care instructions would include a provision allowing her spouse to bring his girlfriend into their home to provide her with care. However, if it was discussed, advance directives would be a perfect vehicle to indicate those choices.
If you or a loved one are thinking about creating or updating an advanced directive, it is best to contact an experienced New York elder law attorney, who can advise you and ensure the documents are properly executed. The attorneys at Hobson-Williams, P.C. are skilled in all aspects of elder law and are dedicated to representing clients with diligence and compassion during emotional times. Contact the experienced New York elder law attorneys at Hobson-Williams, P.C. for a consultation by calling 866-825-1LAW.