The wife and the oldest child of former Yahoo! and Warner Bros. executive Terry Semel, who has Alzheimer’s disease, told a Los Angeles judge Thursday they will try to resolve their differences over his health care and living conditions without the need of a conservator.
Lawyers for Jane and Eric Semel said attorney Andrew Wallet’s temporary conservatorship over the person of Terry Semel, which Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Daniel Juarez imposed on Friday, will terminate Thursday as scheduled. The former studio chief’s son had filed the first volley in the legal dispute and picked Wallet as the temporary conservator for his father.
Eric Semel, 39, was born during his father’s first marriage, which ended in divorce in 1974. The 75-year-old Semel married his wife, Jane, three years later. They have three daughters.
The lawyers told the judge that between now and a June 20 status conference, both sides will discuss whether Semel should continue to live at his current home at the Motion Picture & Television Fund-operated retirement community in Woodland Hills. Eric Semel had contended that his father preferred the environment he had at his Bel-Air mansion.
No restrictions will be put on family members who want to visit Semel, he will continue to have his medical appointments and none of his current caregivers will be fired, according to the agreement.
The parties will appear before Juarez on June 20 to let him know if mediation was successful, or whether a temporary conservatorship should be put back in place. An Aug. 3 hearing was scheduled in case a permanent conservatorship is needed.
Jane Semel filed court papers several days after her stepson asked that a judge appoint a conservator to manage his father’s finances. He says in his May 10 petition that his stepmother currently has sole control over her husband’s finances and there is dissension between her and some of his four children.
But Jane Semel said in her court papers filed Wednesday that in August 2012, her husband executed an advanced health care directive in which he named her and one of her daughters as his agents to make his health care decisions. She said she and her daughter, Lily, were suited to become co- conservators of her husband, who she says was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease five years ago.
Semel was the chairman and CEO of Yahoo! from 2001 to 2007. Before that, he spent 24 years at Warner Bros., where he served as chairman and co- CEO, resigning amid shareholders’ dissatisfaction over his compensation package.
In 2004, the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute was renamed the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. At the time, the university said the couple’s $25 million gift was one of the nation’s largest to be dedicated exclusively to the better understanding of the brain.