According to court documents filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on 26 January, the 73-year-old comedian has petitioned to be the conservator over his wife’s estate plan due to her dementia diagnosis. The filing, which was obtained by NBC News, stated that Mavis “has been progressively losing capacity and orientation to space and time for several years” and her “current condition renders her incapable of executing the estate plan”.
The former Tonight Show host seeks to manage his wife’s estate - including her assets and their shared property - in a joint estate that would provide for her and her brother, who is “her sole living heir aside from Jay”. The couple does not have children and she has no other siblings.
“As Mavis’ current condition renders her incapable of executing the estate plan, Jay has petitioned the Court to be appointed conservator of Mavis’ estate for the sole purpose of filing a petition for substituted judgment on her behalf in order to ensure her desires concerning the disposition of her assets upon her death are realised,” the petition states, per NBC News.
The court documents noted that Leno “has always handled the couple’s finances throughout” their 43-year marriage and “will continue to do so until his passing”.
It is unclear when Mavis, 77, was first diagnosed. The filing stated that she “suffers from dementia, major neurocognitive disorder” and included a doctor’s report describing her symptoms and decline of her cognitive function.
“It is my professional opinion that, due to her condition, Mavis is unable to meaningfully participate in the hearing on the Petition to Appoint a Probate Conservator nor would she understand the nature, force or effect of the hearing should she attend,” the capacity declaration stated, according to CBS News.
The doctor also checked a box in the report which said that Mavis “lacks the capacity to give informed consent to any form of medical treatment”.
A hearing for the conservatorship filing is scheduled for 9 April 2024.
The petition comes more than one year after Leno suffered “serious burns” from a gasoline fire while working in his garage, when one of his cars suddenly burst into flames. The November 2022 incident left him with second and third-degree burns, and the comedian underwent skin graft surgeries to his chest, hands and face.
Just months later, Leno was injured in a motorcycle accident that resulted in a broken collarbone, two broken ribs, and two cracked kneecaps.
The television personality has been married to his wife Mavis since 1980.