In most cases of elder financial abuse, we tend to think of the widowed stepmother as a middle-aged woman in her 50’s, or even 60’s, who wages a contentious battle with stepchildren who are usually about the same age. In such instances, children from the first marriage often view the stepmother with derision, and as a gold-digger who married the old man purely for his money. Did she really love him or was she simply preying on a vulnerable elder, knowing that he would likely die soon?
Proving that a stepmother was a conniving schemer can be difficult, and these lawsuits are often adjudicated on the basis of expert testimony and eyewitness accounts. But then there are cases that would appear to be open and shut. Cases such as, for exa[...]
You might think that being a billionaire, famous, glamorous, and the richest woman in the world would insulate you from elder financial abuse. Sadly, that turns out not to be true.
Heiress Liliane Bettencourt was born in 1922, the only child of Madeleine and Eugene Schueller, the founder of L’Oreal, which would go on to become one of the world’s largest cosmetics companies.
She was intensely private, so we know relatively little of Liliane’s personal life except that she lived in opulence and extravagance. She owned properties in many countries and surrounded herself with treasures, jewels and fine art. In 1950, she married a French politician, Andre Bettencourt, and together they had a daughter.
Andre lived until 2007, but e[...]
Before there was Kim Kardashian, Nicole Richie, and Paris Hilton, in the 1940’s the socialite celebrity who was famous for being famous was Brooke Astor. By the time she died in 2007 at the age of 105, she was best remembered for two things: First, she was a philanthropist of the first order who donated and raised money for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The New York Public Library and many other important institutions. Speaking of her philanthropy, Brooke once famously said: “Money is like manure; it’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around.”
Second, and unfortunately for her legacy of good work, she is also remembered for being the victim of elder financial abuse.
Brooke had only one child in her life, a son named An[...]
In today’s Tales of Financial Elder Abuse, I’d like to turn your attention to one of the more common situations I encounter in my own law practice – namely, when stepchildren and their stepmother go to war.
Casey Kasem was the velvet-voice of American Top 40 radio for nearly 40 years until he died on June 15, 2014 from a combination of Parkinson’s, dementia and other medical problems at the age of 82.
Kasem’s first marriage in 1972 ended in divorce, but produced three children – Mike, Julie and Kerri. In 1980, he married the actress Jean Thompson and had one more child, Liberty Jean.
In 2007, Kasem was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and a few months later he was further diagnosed with Lewy body dementia. He retired from [...]
Elder Financial Abuse is one of the fastest growing crimes in America.
Here is a shocking statistic: According to the National Council on Aging, more than one in ten seniors are victims of elder financial abuse each year. One in 10 translates into a staggering 5 million people.
Here is another shocking statistic: Only one in 44 cases of abuse is ever reported.
Elder financial abuse is generally a silent crime whose victims are unable to speak out. I see it every day in my law practice. Through this podcast – Tales of Elder Financial Abuse – I hope we can start to turn the tide. To stop elder financial abuse, we first need to know how to spot elder financial abuse.
This podcast will put a spotlight on elder financial abus[...]
The death of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez is a tragedy felt across our country. His death is particularly tragic for his girlfriend, who is also pregnant with their first child. If Fernandez, 24 years old, was like most people his age, he did not have a will. Time will tell. In the meantime, the question has been asked whether his unborn child will inherit his fortune.
I’ll start with a caveat to my answer. I am not a Florida lawyer and I hope that a Florida lawyer will address this. I can speak as to what would happen in California. California law provides “Relatives of the decedent conceived before the decedent’s death but born thereafter as if they had been born in the lifetime of the decedent.” It the decedent was unm[...]
It’s 2016. It’s been 22 years since DNA technology captured the world’s attention in the O.J. Simpson murder case. The death of Prince and the possibility that he died without a will or trust is capturing world attention in an entirely different way. People are coming forward claiming that Prince is their father and they want a DNA test to prove it.
A Minnesota judge has authorized the release and analysis of Prince’s blood to the DNA Diagnostic Center for testing. Just what could this mean? While Minnesota law allows for blood and genetic tests it also has a statutory scheme that address the determination of the father and child relationship in cases where the alleged father has died. If and when a genetic match is made betwee[...]
Today, just six days after the death of Prince, a number of news outlets report that Prince’s sister is filing legal documents requesting that she be appointed the special administrator of her brother’s estate. What does this really mean?
If Prince died without a Will then his assets that are not otherwise disposed will pass by way of Minnesota’s laws on intestate succession. Since Prince did not have a child, spouse or surviving parents Prince’s estate will be divided between his surviving siblings.
News stories suggest that Prince had sophisticated legal and financial advisors over his professional life span. Given this level of advice, it is extremely unlikely that Prince did not have a Trust that held or would hold his ass[...]