In many elder abuse cases, the intended beneficiaries of an estate (whether children, spouse, etc.) are shocked to learn that they are to receive nothing from their loved one after they've passed on. The reason? At a certain point before their death, the ailing decedent was unduly influenced by another party to change their will or trust, thereby transferring assets - sometimes a financial necessity - away from the original intended inheritors.
A recent case out of Orange County poses some tough questions on the limits of charity donor solicitation, especially when it concerns the elderly. 98-year-old former developer and philanthropist James Emmi and his 84-year-old wife Catherine are suing Chapman University for breach of contract, fraud, deceit, and elder abuse in a suit filed this week. They allege that over a period of years Chapman President James Doti "preyed" on Emmi to snag millions for the construction of new school facilities.
When most journalists, investment and insurance professionals, and attorneys estimate the financial damage our senior citizens suffer from elder financial abuse, they'll point to a familiar figure from MetLife: $2.9 billion in annual losses. That number, taken from MetLife's well-researched 2009 study, might still fall short of a full accounting, though. Reported cases, after all, will compose only a fraction of the massive fraud and exploitation perpetrated against the elderly.
Last Wednesday in the California State Senate, Sens. Lois Wolk of Davis and Bill Monning of Santa Cruz introduced a new bill to make assisted suicide legal in California. Entitled the End of Life Option Act, the bill is designed to legalize assisted suicide in the state of California.
Your broker or financial advisor is someone you should be able to trust, especially if you're a senior citizen. Yet it's an unfortunate reality that financial elder abuse is perpetrated by those in positions of trust, and that's why vetting financial professionals is worth every penny.
When someone hurts our senior citizens, such wrongdoing isn't just an individual matter - it's a flagrant challenge to our whole community. And just as members of families and neighborhoods should look out for each other, so we also trust public servants to protect the most vulnerable among us, especially from the crime of elder abuse.
Of all recent developments in elder law, the coordinated push to allow for physician-assisted suicide is likely the most controversial. The assisted-suicide movement received an enormous publicity boost due to the death last year of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old New Jersey woman terminally ill with brain cancer. Because of restrictions in her home state, Maynard moved to Oregon, where the law allows the terminally ill to take their own life under medical supervision. In response to the publicity, the New Jersey legislature is now considering passage of a law that will enable state residents to have the option of following in Maynard's footsteps - supposedly a "humane and dignified death."
Dr. Mark Lachs, co-chief of Weill Cornell Medical College's division of geriatric medicine, speaks on keeping our senior citizens - and our communities - safe from elder abuse and exploitation. Fielding specialists like Lachs and Dr. Karl Pillemer, Cornell has been at the forefront of research into the causes and means of elder abuse. Listen to this interview for an inside perspective on raising awareness in the fight against elder abuse: [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNRrk9Dl25c[/embed]