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How Advisors Can Counter Elder Financial Abuse | ThinkAdvisor & Forbes

ThinkAdvisor Interview on Estate Trust Litigation.jpgLast week the influential wealth-management journal ThinkAdvisor interviewed me on celebrity trust and estate battles, the phenomenon of stepmother conflicts and the risk factors of elder financial abuse. As the author of the new book Alzheimer's, Widowed Stepmothers & Estate Crimes, I was glad to share my knowledge with the magazine's writer, Jane Wollman Rusoff. Jane is an experienced journalist who's covered issues of senior exploitation, and she had already interviewed me on my previous book The Wolf at the Door.

On this occasion we covered a wide range of topics related to protecting estates and trusts and how financial advisors should be on the lookout for potential threats. With $30 trillion in Baby Boomer assets set to transfer over the next two to three decades, there are predators who will take advantage of elders suffering from conditions of cognitive decline like Alzheimer's or dementia. Sometimes the best way to raise public awareness on the subject is to highlight celebrity cases of stepmother estate conflicts and undue influence. Jane mentioned a number of them we've written about, including Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Rooney, Tony Curtis, Casey Kasem and Alan Thicke.

Another recent publication that underscores the necessity for advisor vigilance on elder financial abuse comes from Forbes. Martin Shenkman writes an in-depth overview of how investment and financial professionals can play a pivotal role in stopping inheritance exploitation. He also mentioned a serious case that I represented in Alameda County, where $5 million worth of beneficiary assets were jeopardized by the actions of a wrongdoer. I'm happy to report the case was settled favorably through mediation.

Thank you to both Jane Wollman Rusoff and Martin Shenkman for bringing attention to the continuing crisis of elder financial abuse and outlining the key ways that financial advisors can safeguard their elderly clients. If you remember one thing, it's that we can all work together - journalists, attorneys, financial advisors, and medical professionals - for a better future.

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