Just down the street from Scott's Pharmacy and the Sevier Memorial United Methodist Church, and near a big dusty farm in Ferriday, Louisiana, you'll find a newly-christened street called Jerry Lee Lewis Avenue, named after the town's favorite son. Although Lewis is best known for a string of rock and roll hits including "Great Balls of Fire", in 2017, he became famous for something else: he's a victim of alleged elder financial abuse.
"You really need to move. This house is dangerous. It's too big. You don't need all this room - all this expense. What happens if Dad dies or is disabled? We only say this because we love you - we want what's best for you. We want you to move closer to us."
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said, "The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience... The law embodies the story of a nation's development through many centuries, and it cannot be dealt with as if it contained only the axioms and corollaries of a book of mathematics." I first discovered Holmes' writings in law school and I still like to go back to them to find perspective.
Elderly adults can be especially vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. That's why the California superior courts issue restraining orders - to help safeguard seniors from abuse. California residents 65 years and older can request a restraining order for the following reasons:
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."
Today Harvey Weinstein, facing criminal sexual abuse charges, turned himself in to the New York Police Department. Weinstein's arrest amid continuing sexual-harassment revelations is an important event. The spotlight on sexual-harassment wrongdoing continues. So, while the national conversation continues on harassment, another form of harassment - elder abuse, financial and physical, also deserves a spotlight. Such abuse is a growing problem in our country. There are more than 50 million Americans who are age 65 and older.
Trust instruments are like a set of instructions. They can be like a clear day or a murky pond. A good set of instructions should be simple, readable and avoid legal jargon. The settlor, the maker of the trust, should work to clearly identify the beneficiaries of his trust, their form of interest (income or principal) and the timing and plan of distribution.