Judge Caps Expenses for Etta James

Sons, husband of terminally ill singer wrangle in court

December 20, 2011 3:40 PM ET
etta james 2007
Etta James performs at the Santa Cruz Blues Festival.
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

The husband and sons of terminally ill singer Etta James have reached an agreement on the singer's estate and medical care. James, 73, was reported near death last week of complications from leukemia and chronic kidney problems. Her son Donto James asked a Riverside County (CA) judge to name him temporary conservator of James' $1 million estate in place of his stepfather, Artis Mills, who married James in 1969. 

The judge ruled in favor of letting Mills retain his position, but reduced the amount of money available to Mills for his wife's expenses to $350,000. Mills had been seeking $500,000, while Etta James' sons, Donto and Sametto, requested the figure be capped at $100,000.

Much of the expense has been accrued by the salary of Dr. Elaine James (no relation), the singer's around-the-clock physician, who made the announcement last week about Etta James' failing health. The doctor recently received a raise in her monthly salary from $25,000 to $30,000.

"Dr. James is keeping this lady alive," Mills' attorney told the court.

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