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Beach Boys' Brian Wilson Needs to Be Put in Conservatorship After Death of Wife: Court Petition
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By Associated Press
Published 2 months ago on
February 16, 2024

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Brian Wilson’s management team petitions for his conservatorship.

Wilson’s wife, who managed his daily life, recently passed away.

Wilson suffers from a “major neurocognitive disorder” and dementia.


LOS ANGELES — The management team of Brian Wilson has petitioned to place him in a conservatorship because of his mental decline and the recent death of his wife, Melinda Ledbetter Wilson, who managed his daily life.

The 81-year-old Beach Boys co-founder and mastermind has a “major neurocognitive disorder” and is taking medication for dementia, according to a doctor’s declaration filed with the petition Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

The petition asks a judge to appoint two longtime Wilson representatives — publicist Jean Sievers and manager LeeAnn Hard — to be conservators overseeing his personal and medical decisions because “Mr. Wilson is unable to properly provide for his own personal needs for physical health, food, clothing, or shelter.”

The two women “have had a close relationship with Mr. and Mrs. Wilson for many years, and Mr. Wilson trusts them,” according to the filing.

Impact of Melinda’s Death

Ledbetter — whose husband credited her with stabilizing his famously troubled life — had managed his daily needs before her death on Jan. 30, the petition says.

The move came after consultation between Wilson, his seven children, caretaker Gloria Ramos, and his doctors, according to a statement posted Thursday on his social media accounts.

“This decision was made to ensure that there will be no extreme changes to the household and Brian and the children living at home will be taken care of,” the posts said. “Brian will be able to enjoy all of his family and friends and continue to work on current projects as well as participate in any activities he chooses.”

Understanding Conservatorship

Judges in California can appoint a conservator for the person, their finances — referred to as the estate — or both, as was the case with Britney Spears, whose court fight brought broad new attention to the legal standing.

The Wilson petition seeks only a conservatorship of his person, saying he does not need a conservator of the estate because his assets are in a trust, with Hard as a trustee.

Wilson’s Struggles and Triumphs

Deeply revered and acclaimed as a member, producer, arranger and chief songwriter of the Beach Boys, Wilson struggled with mental health and substance abuse issues that upended his career in the 1960s.

He met Ledbetter when he was a customer at a car dealership where she was working in the mid-1980s. At the time, Wilson had for years been under the close supervision of psychologist Dr. Eugene Landy.

Ledbetter and others believed Landy was exploiting and mistreating Wilson, and feuded with Landy for years before he was barred in 1992 from any contact with Wilson.

Remembering Melinda

Ledbetter died unexpectedly on Jan. 30, according to a Wilson spokesperson.

“Our five children and I are just in tears. We are lost,” Wilson said on his web site. “Melinda was more than my wife. She was my savior.”

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