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Wendy Williams' financial guardianship raises 'red flags' after adviser attempted to block documentary: expert

The Wendy Williams documentary brought light to financial guardianships after the former talk show host revealed she has no access to any of her money.

Wendy Williams' return to television last weekend raised concerns among fans about their favorite television talk show host.

Last week, a representative with Williams' care team issued a statement on Wendy's behalf to "correct inaccurate and hurtful rumors about her health," saying the former talk show host was diagnosed with "primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia (FTD)" in 2023.

While Williams has largely remained out of the spotlight the last few years, a new Lifetime documentary revealed she still has no direct access to her money after a legal guardian was appointed over her finances in 2022. Prior to the release of the documentary, a legal guardian attempted to block the project from airing, a move denied in court.

Benazeer "Benny" Roshan, partner at Greenberg Glusker and chair of the Trust and Probate Litigation Practice Group, questioned why Williams' guardian would attempt to prohibit income for the unemployed star.


"From the press accounts, Wendy’s guardianship situation sounds a little like the Netflix hit, ‘I Care a Lot.’ Media accounts appear to suggest red flags that should not be ignored if we are to learn anything from the Britney Spears conservatorship saga," Roshan said.

"A question that’s top of mind for me is, why would Williams’ guardian purportedly try to block the documentary from airing? Without disclosing the exact underlying reason, the public is left with many questions. 

"Why block a project that will inure to Wendy’s financial benefit? After all, aren’t guardians charged with safeguarding (not to mention, maximizing) their ward’s financial well-being? Time will tell whether a ‘Free Wendy’ movement is ripe here."

Sabrina Morrissey, acting as Williams' temporary legal guardian, filed a lawsuit last week under seal in New York County Supreme Court against A&E, according to USA Today. Morrissey sued Lifetime for injunctive relief and requested a temporary restraining order in an effort to halt "Where is Wendy Williams?" from airing.


A Lifetime representative confirmed to Fox News Digital last week that the network was still moving forward with the release of the two-part docuseries.

"Lifetime appeared in court today, and the documentary ‘Where is Wendy Williams?’ will air this weekend as planned," a spokesperson wrote in a statement.

Morrissey and a rep for Wells Fargo did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment.

In 2022, a legal guardian was appointed for her finances and health, and court documents were sealed. Williams later filed a temporary restraining order against Wells Fargo, asking the court to "reopen any frozen accounts or assets" and grant Williams "access to any and all accompanying statements."

According to Williams' filings to the court, the bank's move reportedly came after Williams' former financial adviser claimed Williams "was of unsound mind." The filing did not "specify who or what is exploiting or unduly influencing Williams," according to People magazine.

The bank reportedly maintained that Williams' financial adviser "witnessed telltale signs of exploitation, including [Williams'] own expressed apprehensions, but also upon other independent third-parties who know [Williams] well and share these concerns."

"One judge and three doctors say my money is still stuck at Wells Fargo, and I’m going to tell you something. If it happens to me, it could happen to you," Williams said in the documentary.

"Wendy appears to be under a financial guardianship, which means all of her financial decisions are made by a third-party, court-appointed person who makes all the financial decisions on behalf of Ms. Williams and owes her a panoply of fiduciary obligations," Roshan told Fox News Digital.

She noted that guardianships are "fairly common in cases where the impacted individual suffers from obvious cognitive impairments, as in Ms. Williams' case, and do not have a designated person such as a power of attorney or successor trustee to step up to the plate when needed to assist."


Williams' son, Kevin Jr., was scrutinized for spending her money but, in the documentary, denied he ever exploited her. 

"I've never taken [money] without her consent," he said.

"My mom made me power of attorney because, at that time, the banks started accusing the family of doing things that weren’t true and saying that my mom wasn’t fit to make choices." 

Her nephew, Travis Finnie, who was also helping with her care in Florida, said the bank questioned a $100,000 purchase amount. He recalled Kevin's birthday party that Williams booked totaling more than $100,000, Kevin's rent was $80,000 and his UberEats bill "probably exceeded $100,000."

"For them to have a court case and rip him away from taking care of his mother, it’s very questionable," Travis said.

When a producer asked if Williams still supported Kevin Jr., Wendy became emotional and said, "I’ve got so much money. I want it for my son."

"This matter was conducted under seal. Any claims against Wells Fargo have been dismissed," representatives for Wells Fargo told Fox News Digital.

There's still hope for Williams to regain her independence from the guardianship, according to Roshan.

"Cognitive impairment comes in many forms, and from litigated precedent (in California), cognition may be restored with treatment and care in some cases. For instance, in Britney Spears’ case, it appeared from court files that she had arguably regained her cognitive capacity long before her conservatorship was terminated," Roshan said.

The 59-year-old television personality was diagnosed with the conditions in 2023, her representatives confirmed in a statement Thursday. Last week, Williams' representatives shared a personal statement from the talk show host that was facilitated by her care team. 

"I want to say I have immense gratitude for the love and kind words I have received after sharing my diagnosis of Aphasia and Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)," Williams wrote. "Let me say, wow!  Your response has been overwhelming.

"I continue to need personal space and peace to thrive. Please just know that your positivity and encouragement are deeply appreciated." 


Williams' brother, Tommy Williams Jr., told Us Weekly his sister is on the mend now that she's living in an undisclosed treatment center. 

"When I speak to Wendy, she sounds fine. Wendy has improved," he said. "I know my sister from where she was to where she is now, and she has a substantial amount of improvement. It’s dialogue and conversation, topics, content, speech pattern, everything.

"The past was obvious. We saw it. She was in a worse state, and the [documentary] depicted it. Now [she is in] a different state."

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