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"How The Elderly Lose Their Rights" New Yorker article
Old 10-03-2017, 03:23 PM   #1
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"How The Elderly Lose Their Rights" New Yorker article

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2...e-their-rights

Summary: Professional "guardians" prey on old people who seem frail, alone in the world - and have enough assets to be worth the trouble. Reporter profiles several incidents where people were essentially kidnaped, placed in facilities, their homes and personal effects sold "to pay for their upkeep." It seems too awful to be true - but these are true stories.
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Old 10-03-2017, 03:38 PM   #2
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You beat me to it, I saw that article this morning and was intending to post the link here. Probably raised my BP 10 points.

When I was doing fraud investigation some folks would have gone to jail if I'd run into anything like that.
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Old 10-03-2017, 03:52 PM   #3
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It is very sad, and it does happen. A few years ago, my Dad's family banker (since late 70's) got caught up in a property deal that was nothing but stealing from a well-to-do widow. To hear the story (and especially how it happened with no one noticing) told by one of the attorneys who represented the estate of the widow, you would never believe something so vile could have occurred under so many people's noses.
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Old 10-03-2017, 04:26 PM   #4
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Wow. My take away is to be a bit leery of the system, and stay independent as long as possible. It seems that the wrong connections with people in the system, who may not have best interests at heart, could open you up as a target.

Yikes.
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Old 10-03-2017, 04:29 PM   #5
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Yeesh. Important to be sure but to depressing, couldn't finish it.

If I was the daughter, I would have raised blue murder.
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Old 10-03-2017, 04:35 PM   #6
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Yeesh. Important to be sure but to depressing, couldn't finish it.

If I was the daughter, I would have raised blue murder.
She and others did, but the judge would have nothing of it.

And when she did raise hell, the guardian used it against her as a kind of sign of instability. It is hard to work against a pro.
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Old 10-03-2017, 04:36 PM   #7
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This is insane...
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Old 10-03-2017, 04:39 PM   #8
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OP - thanks for posting this. I never knew that this sort of thing which is basically State sponsored theft and abuse happened.
It is outrageous that it continues, and happens in other States as well.

I will certainly not move to NV as it is rampant there.
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Old 10-03-2017, 04:40 PM   #9
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....
If I was the daughter, I would have raised blue murder.
She has no rights in the matter. It's only her parents
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Old 10-03-2017, 04:53 PM   #10
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Interesting, and potentially scary. I'm not looking forward to the diminished capacity stage of life. There must be some way to defend against this sort of abuse.
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Old 10-03-2017, 05:07 PM   #11
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Perhaps a trust, with a named succession of trusted trustees?

The terrible incentive for all the bad actors, it seems, is the ability to bill the estate for hourly fees.
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Old 10-03-2017, 05:18 PM   #12
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Interesting, and potentially scary. I'm not looking forward to the diminished capacity stage of life. There must be some way to defend against this sort of abuse.
I ran into several cases of elder financial abuse. Really the only way to prevent it if one's intellectual capacity and/or interest wanes is to have someone else watching over things.

After the money is spent and gone more often than not there is little else anyone can do to help, especially when as in the article it isn't absolutely clear at first whether there is criminal activity going on or not. In a "one off" case more often than not there isn't much the police can do because being incompetent or stupid (on the part of the caregiver) is not a crime. The investigators have to be able to show a pattern and history of doing things that are blatantly not in the best interests of the "incapacitated" people (note the plural). At least that's the case in MD. This does not negate the possibility of a civil suit (the standard of proof is lower than in a criminal case) but the funds have to come from somewhere to hire an attorney.

And smaller law enforcement agencies rarely have the staff or expertise to do the lengthy investigations such cases require. I can see that one taking at least several months, if not a year or more, to complete.
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Old 10-03-2017, 05:37 PM   #13
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It's well-known in Florida that you want to stay out of State-sponsored guardianship if at all possible. It is the beneficiaries of my estate who get screwed if my assets are stolen by my caregivers when I become incapacitated or by my executor(s) after my death. Can I my future beneficiaries - some of which are charities rather than family members - participate in the management of my decline and ultimate death? My estate is large enough that it may be worth their effort to make sure that assets aren't stolen. When I stop procrastinating and get around to estate planning, I'll be investigating the options.
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Old 10-03-2017, 06:34 PM   #14
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That is really terrifying.
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Old 10-03-2017, 06:49 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Walt34 View Post
I ran into several cases of elder financial abuse. Really the only way to prevent it if one's intellectual capacity and/or interest wanes is to have someone else watching over things.

After the money is spent and gone more often than not there is little else anyone can do to help, especially when as in the article it isn't absolutely clear at first whether there is criminal activity going on or not. In a "one off" case more often than not there isn't much the police can do because being incompetent or stupid (on the part of the caregiver) is not a crime. The investigators have to be able to show a pattern and history of doing things that are blatantly not in the best interests of the "incapacitated" people (note the plural). At least that's the case in MD. This does not negate the possibility of a civil suit (the standard of proof is lower than in a criminal case) but the funds have to come from somewhere to hire an attorney.

And smaller law enforcement agencies rarely have the staff or expertise to do the lengthy investigations such cases require. I can see that one taking at least several months, if not a year or more, to complete.
What's freaky is that is was elder abuse by the state! (county)
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Old 10-03-2017, 06:54 PM   #16
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Some of this was going on in Northern NV to a much smaller degree but when some judges got wind of it this was stopped. No judges were involved. The guardian can't just bill the estate now and take the $. Also the guardians were prosecuted and went to jail. They also changed the way things were handled. This needs to be stopped in Clark County.
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Old 10-03-2017, 06:54 PM   #17
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I'm sure I'd learn to tolerate prison, because that's where I'd end up if this happened to my parents.
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Old 10-03-2017, 09:45 PM   #18
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Wow - I had no idea. This is truly frightening.
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Old 10-04-2017, 04:59 AM   #19
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especially when as in the article it isn't absolutely clear at first whether there is criminal activity going on or not. In a "one off" case more often than not there isn't much the police can do because being incompetent or stupid (on the part of the caregiver) is not a crime.
Yeah, deep in the article it went into this. The police just kept saying, "Civil Matter, Civil Matter" and washed their hands of it.

Which is how matters with trusts are handled. Although the article is basically about State sponsored theft, this can happen in a trust too. I'm glad Dad had a trust, and me and the siblings got along, but something like this can also go down among the trustees, and then you end up in court sibling on sibling. I first read it on this forum: "There are no 'trust police.'"
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Old 10-04-2017, 07:17 AM   #20
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Good grief, that is scary. Clearly a need to take steps to turn guardianship over to the kids sooner than you might have thought. With no family to fall back you would be an even bigger target.
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