David Howard Goldberg, P.L.

Star Trek actress embroiled in guardianship dispute

There may be few things more devastating than watching a loved one begin to decline into physical and mental illness late in life. In some cases, the loved one may remain vibrant and desire to continue with normal activities as long as possible. Nevertheless, if a guardian is appointed for the person and his or her estate, things may get complicated. While guardianship can be a critical responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of an aging loved one, it may be difficult to stand by and watch a guardian overstepping the bounds of his or her duties.

For those in Florida who grew up watching the original Star Trek series, the declining health of Nichelle Nichols, who played Lt. Uhura, is a sad event. Fans are not the only ones worried about Nichols, however, and her close friend has reached out to a judge with her concerns. Apparently, the friend believes Nichols' four court-appointed conservators, or guardians, are not acting in the actress' best interests.

The friend feels the conservators, along with Nichols' son, have obtained a dementia diagnosis from a doctor in order to medicate Nichols. Despite the conservator's reports to the contrary, the friend believes Nichols is well enough to care for herself, make her own decisions, travel and attend Star Trek conventions without any more assistance than what the friend can provide. The complaint to the judge details the son's exaggeration of his mother's decline and his apparent neglect of her except to obtain her property after her death.

Since the friend is not a relative, she may not even have a legal right to make requests of the court on her friend's behalf, but the judge will rule on her petition at a later date. Meanwhile, families and friends in Florida are likely going through similar heartaches concerning the guardianship of loved ones. Seeking advice and guidance from an attorney can provide answers to the many questions they may have.

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