Tuesday, May 29, 2018
A book I co-authored on The Law of Financial Abuse and Exploitation was inspired, sadly, by several cases we had in our Elder Protection Clinic at Dickinson Law in Carlisle Pennsylvania.
In one case, at first the relationship between great niece and great aunt had seemed to friends and neighbors to be loving and protective. It wasn't until the elder's care needs increased, and it turned out there was no money to pay for care by professionals, that the truth was uncovered. The aunt's money, close to a million over three years, was gone.
With the benefit of hindsight, you could see how the exploitation began -- with the younger woman asking for permission to use the elder's accounts for a few improvements and upgrades around the house. Then she stopped asking for permission. Eventually her spending was for fur coats, jewelry and a luxury car (actually, two). Her aunt no longer could see to review her accounts and there weren't any other relatives to ask questions. The niece probably didn't count on her aunt living past 100 -- or testifying against her at the criminal trial about the unauthorized spending, when she was 101. The younger woman tried to justify her behavior, testifying at trial that "she wanted me to have the money. She was going to leave it to me in her will."
Several friends, including Karen Miller, in Florida, sent me copies of another tragic tale, this time from Brooklyn via the New York Times. I suspect, that in this account of a relationship between an older widow and a local waitress, the younger woman probably told herself her "friend"wanted her to have the money. She too will be thinking about this in jail. Read She Found Comfort in a Brooklyn Diner, Then Lost Everything.