About ten years ago, a wonderful woman I knew, who was quite elderly, but extremely with it, was ill. Her abusive younger sister waited until Ruth’s attorney (who is also my parents’ and now my mother’s) was out of town. She found an unscrupulous attorney, who voided the power of attorney Ruth had set up via Alan (the good-guy attorney – and he is, trust me). In less that twenty-four hours Ruth’s sister packed her up, cleaned out her considerable bank account, and had her transported by ambulance her to Texas. She was put in a sub-standard nursing home. She was dead within six months. Her sister, who never had anything to do with her, out of jealousy, took what she wanted in the house, then left instructions that everything Ruth owned was to be disposed of, including her beloved cat.
Before we go any farther, the cat found a good, loving home.
Because of the way the guardianship was handled, this wonderful, dignified woman, who made the best queso cheese I’ve ever eaten, was robbed of everything, including her dignity. Everything she owned was ordered literally thrown in the dumpster, including her Louis Vuitton, Ferragamos, and beautiful clothes. Having no children, I have a friend whose husband and brother were her heirs. They managed to find out what happened, but were too late to save Ruth. They were kept away from her by restraining order.
The cat had been left inside the house to starve. My friend’s brother-in-law was too late to rescue Ruth, but he saved the cat. The person hired to literally dispose of everything Ruth owned, as in the dumpster, called my friend, and told her what was going on. They couldn’t go into the house to get Ruth’s things, but the person who was cleaning it, put things in garbage bags and by the dumpster, then the family could take them.
This what happens to the elderly. A conservator can literally step in and destroy the person they were to protect. There are very few laws to protect people from them. Don’t ever think a POA or will can protect a person. A POA is only as good as the paper upon which it is written. If an elderly person is wealthy, and family is not hovering to protect them, they can be in deep you-know-what.
Don’t just think the abuse is by care-givers. My family is still reeling from the fact that my father’s broker and the broker’s secretary managed to relieve him of what we can now ascertain was about $850,000. They basically have left my parents financially destitute because of destroying their monetary savings (the property remains) and cash flow. My poor father, who knew a specific $250K deposit was missing, was in agony trying to find it. Not only did the broker lie to his CPA about it, but his boss lied to my father. When the poor thing handed over all of his financial records for an audit, they went to the boss. I have been left with 2 brokerage statements to prove the account even existed. They lied about that, then told me the only situation was to put my parents in a nursing home, sell of what they had, and just walk away.
That is financial abuse.
I have spent every single day, for the past 5 years, trying to keep my parents’ and now my mother, from losing everything. My sister has done the same thing. Trying to sell investment property, this day and age, has also been a 5 year nightmare. No end is in sight. It has destroyed my career, my social life, and basically cost me a good 5 years of my life. There are basic things a family can do. The first step is NOT to be afraid of a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease. There are worse things in life. Trust me, I am living that nightmare on a daily basis.
For more about the nightmare of guardian abuse: