Financial exploitation of the elderly is likely the single most common form of elder abuse. Yet, much of this abuse goes unreported because it occurs in big and small ways on a daily basis. Our Illinois nursing home neglect lawyers know that like physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, the misconduct can be perpetrated by caregivers, strangers, friends, and even family members. It remains vital for good-intentioned outside observers to keep track of the seniors in their lives to ensure that none are taken advantage of by those seeking to make money at the expense of the senior’s vulnerability.
We know that most local residents who the victimized by elder financial abuse will not have their wrongdoers held accountability.
Depressingly, it seems that sometimes this sort of abuse is only caught when it involves vast sums of money and high-profile cases. For example, as a new article at Investment News explains, many headlines were made in connection to the potential financial abuse of well-known New York socialite Brooke Astor. Many allegations were tossed about regarding the conduct of her son, Anthony Marshall and various other financial professionals involved in her affairs. Eventually, Mr. Marshall actually faced various criminal charges for this conduct-he was sentenced to a prison term but remains free on appeal. In addition, his mother’s last will was rejected in favor of the terms of an earlier will because the court deemed the final will was signed under suspicious circumstances-it left much more money and control of the family wealth to Anthony Marshall.
Similar to the Brooke Astor case, much attention was also focused on the case of Liliane Bettencourt. Ms. Bettencourt was the heiress to a huge fortune from the family’s L’Oreal business. The total family fortune was estimated at $1.4 billion. However, there was much controversy as Ms. Bettencourt apparently tried to leave her entire fortune to her photographer. The woman’s daughter petitioned the court for guardianship of her mother in later years, claiming that the woman was being exploited or otherwise confused. Ms. Bettencourt was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in her later years.
Of course, seniors with certain cognitive problems are particularly vulnerable to exploitation. The problems can take many forms. In high-profile situations with famous families and vast wealth, the dispute is often connected to wills and other inheritance issues. But that is just the beginning. Many other seniors are similarly exploited through complex scams, dubious loans, and sometimes outright theft.
Each Chicago nursing home abuse attorney at our firm understands the role that money plays as motivation in all forms of senior mistreatment-not just financial exploitation. Even regular nursing home negligence is often rooted in the pursuit for profit maximization on the part of nursing home owners and operators. No matter what the form, seniors deserve to have their own money protected and to be treated with a proper level of care by all those charged with their well-being. Failure in this regard should be brought to the public’s attention with the wrongdoers held responsible. Only then can basic accountability mechanisms work to keep other seniors safe.
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