Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

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Topic Author
GetSmarter
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Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by GetSmarter »

A cautionary tale: Have checks and balances set up with trustee(s) to avoid abuse, negligence, theft. My 91 year old father had advanced Parkinson's for decades, and died after a fall when he wandered outside. This is so painful I'm going to leave out a lot but suffice to say, my dad's trustee (his stepson) neglected his care, by not hiring the recommended 24/7 caregiver, that led to my dad's death. One reason the trustee apparently failed to hire the needed help, as it turned out, within weeks of my dad's death, the trustee had my dad sign away over half a million dollars to himself with an amendment to the trust. A lawyer my dad never met, the trustee's lawyer, created the amendment. It was signed during Covid quarantine. No notary. The part time caregiver that the trustee hired snuck it into the assisted living building. This amendment to a large degree partially disinherited me. In addition to the abuse/neglect, I learned, after my dad died, that there was very little money left in the trust to pay expenses. A shock. The trustee told me as a result, my diminished inheritance would need to be further diminished to pay lawyer, himself, etc. My father took in over 1/2 million a year and had long term care insurance, paying most the bills. Where'd the money go? I hired a lawyer.

I have a lawyer who is encouraging mediation if the other side steps up, otherwise, my understanding is I sue the thief in court. I was able to obtain my dad's medical records that documents his cognitive decline long before the 2020 amendment. My dad and I had a very close relationship. The only reason the stepson was originally trustee (he pushed for it with my brother's support) despite my dad wanted me, as evidenced my dad went to his lawyer years ago to nominate me but his stepson fought it, my dad succumbed, thinking it'd be easier on me not to be trustee, considering I have a biological brother that proved himself untrustworthy, bribing parents for money in the past. My dad thought it'd be best for me not to deal with my brother. Dad thought since his stepson was not in his will, and happened to be wealthy, there'd be no problems. I believe the theft from my father, occurred because of both stepbrothers, perhaps over a period of years: Undue influence, greed, neglect.

It's hard to lose my dad. The theft and neglect compounds the heart-break.

I've thought about Pollyanna: look at what I have and my possibilities for the future.

I've thought about the Lesson: always have checks and balances of protection set up for myself, moving forward, as in more than one trustee.

I've thought about how I want this thug in jail for theft and wrongful death.

I've thought about the fact this happens to many families. I'm having another life experience. Like first love. First major financial and elder abuse betrayal. I learned law firms specialize in step-sibling theft (not their parent), which makes me think why waste my valuable time on seeking justice? I understand the courts, especially now, can be drawn out and offer more heart-break and expense.

I've thought about how writing about what happened to me and my dad may help you and someone you love be better protected. My father, if alive and healthy, would be heart-broken by what his trustee did and how the betrayal, on top of his loss, devastated me.

Currently, the thief is using what little is left of my dad's trust to defend himself from me. He has offered me a tiny fraction of what my dad intended for me to go away. I have not given in to crumbs. I was my dad's beneficiary for 60 years. The thug and thief was a self-created beneficiary for only a few weeks of my dad's life, at a time my dad was most vulnerable, unable to do or understand anything for himself.

I'd love to turn off this situation from my life. It's painful. I'm tired. The last three years of my life, I was the prime caregiver to both parents, to one degree or another. My mom full-time. My dad got to where I wasn't strong enough for his needs. He needed 24/7 care with someone strong. I need a break from difficulties. Yes, I want justice, but at what price? How do I move on into a peaceful life, free from sadness about the betrayal on top of loss?

Thoughts on navigating this if you had something similar happen? And how to trust anyone again?
ivk5
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by ivk5 »

So sorry to hear the story. How awful.

You need good trustworthy legal counsel to advise you on strength of case, costs of litigation, likelihood of various outcomes, and settlement strategy. Be mindful of potential conflicts of interest (including those unavoidably linked to fee arrangements, whether full/partial contingency or hourly billing etc).

Assuming you’re satisfied that the lawyer you (seem to have) retained meets the test, I would try to focus on separating the legal strategy from all those feelings of anger, betrayal, desire for revenge, etc. and draw on your lawyer’s guidance to reset your expectations on what is an acceptable and realistic outcome. And how to get to acceptable outcome expeditiously, since until you can put this behind you it seems likely to continue interfering with your grieving.
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galawdawg
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by galawdawg »

Please accept my condolences for your loss.

You mention that your father was in an assisted living facility and suffered from Parkinson's disease and cognitive impairment. Yet, you mention that your stepbrother (is that right) who was the trustee failed to hire a full-time caregiver. Was the facility in which your father lived incapable of caring for his condition?

If your father was the grantor of the trust, was your stepbrother/trustee handling your father's affairs during his lifetime as a result of your father being found to be incapacitated as provided by the trust documents? If not, what gave your stepbrother sole authority to act on behalf of your father?

I assume that your attorney has already demanded and received a full accounting of the trust assets? If not, that would seem to be prudent in this situation. Your attorney's recommendation for mediation, if successful, will result in the expenses of any litigation being minimized. A case such as this is likely to be expensive to litigate and I am sorry to say, I doubt you will find the full measure of "justice" that you appear to seek.

Again, I am sorry for your loss. Your grief, as well as your anger, is evident in your post. If I can, let me gently suggest that you consider thinking about the words that you are using to describe the situation and your stepbrother. While I am not judging your feelings or your beliefs on what occurred, as a very experienced trial attorney, I can tell you that using the terms such as "thief", "abuse", "thug", "wrongful death" in the way that you have in your post, if used in court or in the presence of those who will have to make decisions about the matter, are not likely to advance your interests. Your statement "I learned law firms specialize in step-sibling theft (not their parent), which makes me think why waste my valuable time on seeking justice?" would likely alienate some and cause others to question your ability to make rational judgments about the facts and circumstances of the situation. I don't wish to offend, simply to offer some feedback based upon my years of litigating cases, many of which involved very painful, difficult and emotional situations. I hope you will take my comments in the spirit in which they are intended.

Best wishes, I hope you are able to find peace. Of course, IANYL.
123
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by 123 »

Have you contacted the police department or social services agency that would have covered your father's situation to file a formal claim of criminal (financial) elder abuse? If criminal behavior is substantiated your civil claim will be much stronger.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.
Topic Author
GetSmarter
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by GetSmarter »

galawdawg wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 1:32 pm Please accept my condolences for your loss.

You mention that your father was in an assisted living facility and suffered from Parkinson's disease and cognitive impairment. Yet, you mention that your stepbrother (is that right) who was the trustee failed to hire a full-time caregiver. Was the facility in which your father lived incapable of caring for his condition?

If your father was the grantor of the trust, was your stepbrother/trustee handling your father's affairs during his lifetime as a result of your father being found to be incapacitated as provided by the trust documents? If not, what gave your stepbrother sole authority to act on behalf of your father?

I assume that your attorney has already demanded and received a full accounting of the trust assets? If not, that would seem to be prudent in this situation. Your attorney's recommendation for mediation, if successful, will result in the expenses of any litigation being minimized. A case such as this is likely to be expensive to litigate and I am sorry to say, I doubt you will find the full measure of "justice" that you appear to seek.

Again, I am sorry for your loss. Your grief, as well as your anger, is evident in your post. If I can, let me gently suggest that you consider thinking about the words that you are using to describe the situation and your stepbrother. While I am not judging your feelings or your beliefs on what occurred, as a very experienced trial attorney, I can tell you that using the terms such as "thief", "abuse", "thug", "wrongful death" in the way that you have in your post, if used in court or in the presence of those who will have to make decisions about the matter, are not likely to advance your interests. Your statement "I learned law firms specialize in step-sibling theft (not their parent), which makes me think why waste my valuable time on seeking justice?" would likely alienate some and cause others to question your ability to make rational judgments about the facts and circumstances of the situation. I don't wish to offend, simply to offer some feedback based upon my years of litigating cases, many of which involved very painful, difficult and emotional situations. I hope you will take my comments in the spirit in which they are intended.

Best wishes, I hope you are able to find peace. Of course, IANYL.
Thank you for your thoughts. Aside from the law, this is a human tragedy of elder abuse and neglect. I am rightly angry and hurt. That said, regarding the law, and what I say publicly, I never express what I have here, beyond close family and friends. Of course my family and friends believe the trustee is a thug, a thief, and morally-corrupt. We are disgusted and saddened. I consider myself anonymous on this platform and therefore in a sense private. I needed an outlet where others' might weigh in. My lawyer sent a demand letter, including asking for an accounting, a few weeks ago. We haven't received anything yet. I'm quite sure the trustee doesn't want us to know what he's stolen from the trust prior to the amendment. He may hope I don't file a lawsuit to subpoena what I need. If you litigated trustee abuse, how do the victims recover? Not necessarily the money stolen. It's most heart-breaking. In answer to your question, the facility where my dad lived was no longer able to help to the degree my dad needed 24/7 care. They were getting ready to evict him if trustee didn't get 24/7 level of care. He was the only one with authority and control of the money. They recommended memory care or nursing home, otherwise.

The moral of this story, is set up trusts properly with controls against abuse in place. And never remarry with a greedy stepson, lurking in the shadows, clawing his way into riches.
“The more simple we are, the more complete we become.” August Rodin | | “The less I needed, the better I felt.” Charles Bukowski
Topic Author
GetSmarter
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by GetSmarter »

123 wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 1:34 pm Have you contacted the police department or social services agency that would have covered your father's situation to file a formal claim of criminal (financial) elder abuse? If criminal behavior is substantiated your civil claim will be much stronger.
No, by the time I learned about theft, my father had died and I was in mourning. I called a lawyer. I'm still grieving his loss. This happened fairly recently. I'm hoping for mediation and to recover a portion, hopefully, most of what my dad intended for me - intact for several decades in his Will - until a few weeks before his death when the thug intervened for himself. I need to learn to let go. Take the lesson. Hope others learn from my and my father's tragedy.
“The more simple we are, the more complete we become.” August Rodin | | “The less I needed, the better I felt.” Charles Bukowski
PoppyA
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by PoppyA »

I am sorry you are going through this. Really sorry.

If you stick to your values and try to legally pursue this, you will be out a lot of $. Your Attorney will likely make hey of this situation.

If you chalk it up to experience, you will be out a lot of $.

Only you know what you can live with, though either way it is going to hurt. It is what it is.
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GetSmarter
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by GetSmarter »

ivk5 wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 1:29 pm So sorry to hear the story. How awful.

You need good trustworthy legal counsel to advise you on strength of case, costs of litigation, likelihood of various outcomes, and settlement strategy. Be mindful of potential conflicts of interest (including those unavoidably linked to fee arrangements, whether full/partial contingency or hourly billing etc).

Assuming you’re satisfied that the lawyer you (seem to have) retained meets the test, I would try to focus on separating the legal strategy from all those feelings of anger, betrayal, desire for revenge, etc. and draw on your lawyer’s guidance to reset your expectations on what is an acceptable and realistic outcome. And how to get to acceptable outcome expeditiously, since until you can put this behind you it seems likely to continue interfering with your grieving.
Thank you for your thoughts. My lawyer came recommended from a friend who used his services. He seems good but very busy, and I often feel ignored. He canceled so many meetings. Maybe that's par for the course with busy attorneys. He reminds me this is a process. After sending a demand letter, we're waiting for other side to hopefully agree to mediation and provide accounting. My expectations aren't too high or out of line because the thief's actions, or lack thereof, took my dad's life prematurely and his hard-earned money - things can not get worse. Having peace in my life will mean the world to me. How I'll ever trust after this, that is a challenge. And how I'll set myself up for my future, should I lose my physical and cognitive abilities as I observed with my dad; completely 100% dependent. In his case. On a crook. In sheep's clothing. Heartbreaking.

Many people on this forum, spending thousands of hours learning to grow and maintain their money, as did my dad. But to what end? If they don't protect from thieves, often someone closest, often someone in the family, it's all for nothing.
“The more simple we are, the more complete we become.” August Rodin | | “The less I needed, the better I felt.” Charles Bukowski
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GetSmarter
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by GetSmarter »

PoppyA wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 3:56 pm I am sorry you are going through this. Really sorry.

If you stick to your values and try to legally pursue this, you will be out a lot of $. Your Attorney will likely make hey of this situation.

If you chalk it up to experience, you will be out a lot of $.

Only you know what you can live with, though either way it is going to hurt. It is what it is.
Thank you for your thoughts. I appreciate it.

I think one of the reasons I shared my grief here is because if I help someone else avoid a similar mess, it can be part of my silver-lining. Maybe alleviate a dash of pain.

I'll never trust again. I'll forever more be extremely careful who I let near me, or my money, or my anything. When I meet a genuinely kind person with character - WOW. They are increasingly rare in our world. As it turns out, financial elder abuse is very common.
“The more simple we are, the more complete we become.” August Rodin | | “The less I needed, the better I felt.” Charles Bukowski
Topic Author
GetSmarter
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by GetSmarter »

ivk5 wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 1:29 pm So sorry to hear the story. How awful.

You need good trustworthy legal counsel to advise you on strength of case, costs of litigation, likelihood of various outcomes, and settlement strategy. Be mindful of potential conflicts of interest (including those unavoidably linked to fee arrangements, whether full/partial contingency or hourly billing etc).

Assuming you’re satisfied that the lawyer you (seem to have) retained meets the test, I would try to focus on separating the legal strategy from all those feelings of anger, betrayal, desire for revenge, etc. and draw on your lawyer’s guidance to reset your expectations on what is an acceptable and realistic outcome. And how to get to acceptable outcome expeditiously, since until you can put this behind you it seems likely to continue interfering with your grieving.
Regarding my lawyer, what kinds of potential conflicts of interest are you referring to? I'm paying an hourly against retainer to a lawyer in a well-respected firm.
“The more simple we are, the more complete we become.” August Rodin | | “The less I needed, the better I felt.” Charles Bukowski
Katietsu
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by Katietsu »

Have you sought help from a grief counselor or other mental health professional. You can not expect your lawyer to also act as a therapist. I am concerned by a couple of your comments that your emotions may get in the middle of the legal wrangling, understandably so.

It is also possible that even without any financial corruption, your Dad’s life would not have been different. I have been in the front or second row during the navigation of these end of life situations. In my sphere, I believe everyone always had the best interest of the loved one in mind. But there were always decisions or procrastinations that, in hindsight, resulted in additional pain or suffering of the loved one. I understand your pain. I understand that your father was in no way competent to enrich your step brother. But, from someone who has seen similar delays several times in moving to the next level of care, I think that using words related to physical elder abuse are going to leave those you speak with thinking that your judgement is clouded by your grief. I think the loss of a loved can be harder when you know that a different action would have led to a different outcome. My sympathies as your try to cope with your loss.
prairieman
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by prairieman »

OMG! No advice, but if misery loves company, it happened to my former neighbor. According to him, a young female caregiver became the only heir of his partly senile father’s estate. I think they decided the cost to contest was greater than the estate was worth, but I never brought it up again. My neighbor claimed the thing that made him the maddest was that his father had abandoned the kids when they were growing up, but reconnected later and then, finally, he abandoned the kids again permanently at death by leaving them out of his will. None of them cared much about the money, but they always suspected the caregiver was a gold digger.
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GetSmarter
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by GetSmarter »

prairieman wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:30 pm OMG! No advice, but if misery loves company, it happened to my former neighbor. According to him, a young female caregiver became the only heir of his partly senile father’s estate. I think they decided the cost to contest was greater than the estate was worth, but I never brought it up again. My neighbor claimed the thing that made him the maddest was that his father had abandoned the kids when they were growing up, but reconnected later and then, finally, he abandoned the kids again permanently at death by leaving them out of his will. None of them cared much about the money, but they always suspected the caregiver was a gold digger.
Misery does love company, so thanks for your story. I think every child wants to believe their parent wanted what's best for them and to protect them. When it doesn't happen, it hurts. When a thief intervenes when the parent is as vulnerable as a baby, it's tragic. It's scary, too.
“The more simple we are, the more complete we become.” August Rodin | | “The less I needed, the better I felt.” Charles Bukowski
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Sandtrap
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by Sandtrap »

Actionable Thoughts:

Estate litigation lawyers are extremely expensive.
Trust litigation is a lengthy process measured in many years, sometimes beyond a decade.
(You pay out of pocket, the other side pays out of the trust. Ouch)
High fee Forensic accountants might be hired to prove wrong doing. I takes time to get copies of records, etc.
Excellent trust litigation lawyers take cases with large assets that are worth pursueing.
Lawyers that do not specialize in trust litigation, IE: family lawyers, etc, may be hired but. . . . . .
There may be a point where a payout to you from mediation may be more lucrative than a protracted pursuit.
Legal counsel is paid to be your advocate and will do so, and you will keep paying for it. Talk to them, decide.
If you go into a protracted litigation, be prepared to receive nothing except more legal bills.

Having been in your shoes long ago, I can agree. . .it is ugly.
(Do not let it chew you up until you see nothing else every day).

Condolences.

Seek legal counsel.
j :D
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Topic Author
GetSmarter
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by GetSmarter »

Katietsu wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:25 pm Have you sought help from a grief counselor or other mental health professional. You can not expect your lawyer to also act as a therapist. I am concerned by a couple of your comments that your emotions may get in the middle of the legal wrangling, understandably so.

It is also possible that even without any financial corruption, your Dad’s life would not have been different. I have been in the front or second row during the navigation of these end of life situations. In my sphere, I believe everyone always had the best interest of the loved one in mind. But there were always decisions or procrastinations that, in hindsight, resulted in additional pain or suffering of the loved one. I understand your pain. I understand that your father was in no way competent to enrich your step brother. But, from someone who has seen similar delays several times in moving to the next level of care, I think that using words related to physical elder abuse are going to leave those you speak with thinking that your judgement is clouded by your grief. I think the loss of a loved can be harder when you know that a different action would have led to a different outcome. My sympathies as your try to cope with your loss.
I know for a fact that the trustee was warned multiple times over a period of months that my dad needed greater care or he'd end up in emergency. Trustee kept saying it was too expensive despite my dad saved for this day. Apparently, trustee thought needed care was too expensive because he'd earmarked my dad's money for himself. He believed my dad was close to death and texted me as much two months before he created the amendment to gift himself a large share of my dad's estate. It's a tragedy. It's wrong. It's theft. It's elder-abuse. Again, I'm airing my sadness and truth here (anonymously) because it's a silver lining for me to share information. I think it's important for people to protect themselves from potential abuse before they potentially lose cognitive ability. I'll be looking to update my trust myself and put controls in place. I do not speak to the thug, rather my attorney speaks to his attorney. I do see a grief counselor. Thank you. When I think of that poor man in Wisconsin murdered ostensibly over a $20 bill, and this trustee is potentially getting away with over $1/2 million, the unfairness in our world is astounding. Maybe that's a bad comparison but I think about it. Abuse against the elderly is on the rise and everyone must be alert. For their future selves and loved ones.
“The more simple we are, the more complete we become.” August Rodin | | “The less I needed, the better I felt.” Charles Bukowski
Topic Author
GetSmarter
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by GetSmarter »

Sandtrap wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:51 pm Actionable Thoughts:

Estate litigation lawyers are extremely expensive.
Trust litigation is a lengthy process measured in many years, sometimes beyond a decade.
(You pay out of pocket, the other side pays out of the trust. Ouch)
High fee Forensic accountants might be hired to prove wrong doing. I takes time to get copies of records, etc.
Excellent trust litigation lawyers take cases with large assets that are worth pursueing.
Lawyers that do not specialize in trust litigation, IE: family lawyers, etc, may be hired but. . . . . .
There may be a point where a payout to you from mediation may be more lucrative than a protracted pursuit.
Legal counsel is paid to be your advocate and will do so, and you will keep paying for it. Talk to them, decide.
If you go into a protracted litigation, be prepared to receive nothing except more legal bills.

Having been in your shoes long ago, I can agree. . .it is ugly.
(Do not let it chew you up until you see nothing else every day).

Condolences.

Seek legal counsel.
j :D
Thanks for your empathy and condolences. If you've been through it, you know, more than the money, it's shocking when it happens to you that people could be this bad. Someone I knew. He even admitted to me after my dad's death, that what he did looked bad and could be contentious but he did it anyway. I am interested in mediation, not a lawsuit. A resolution for something better than nothing. I will never speak to the crook again, not that he cares, he got away with a lot of money. And you're right. He gets to spend my dad's money on a lawyer. I get to spend my money on a lawyer. Life is so unfair. Salt of the earth, kind people are so very special. Most people I know are kind but when a bully/thief blows in it's hard to ignore. Thanks again.
“The more simple we are, the more complete we become.” August Rodin | | “The less I needed, the better I felt.” Charles Bukowski
Freetime76
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by Freetime76 »

Without sounding loony-toons: I can offer to you that karma is real. There is a type of justice that has nothing to do with the courts or lawyers. I’ve seen it. Ill-gotten money of any sort isn’t going to do any good for them in the long run. Karma, plus he doesn’t have the financial chops to succeed with it - else, he wouldn’t have needed to bother.

I can promise you that every dime will be spent/wasted/lost and certainly not last nor change a life, unlike your dad who had enough. If that makes any sense. $500K is nothing in the hands of an idiot. <5 years, it’s gone from his hands.

You’re going to be wicked pissed (can I say that on Bogleheads?) for a long time. Do not let it eat you from the inside out for too long - your dad wouldn’t want ***your*** life ruined over it. Do your lawsuit or mediation...and let the offenders be eaten from the inside out.

I worry about this same scenario for my mother, as my sister becomes, shall we say, “more involved”. We’ve had the conversation about elder abuse and her being coerced (there is history), but mom insists there is no issue and that it won’t be an issue. I hope she is right.

Elder care and having one’s wishes honored is a huge topic. Maybe you could write a story forAARP. Except, make sure to get legal review first. And what about the attorney who signed off on all this?? Maybe there is a way to lodge a complaint?
OnTrack2020
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by OnTrack2020 »

You will move onto a more peaceful life once your step-brother makes you whole and returns all the money and issues you an apology. Why haven't you gone to the police? Don't feel one bit guilty over this.

I'm taking that, because of your father's advanced age, you yourself are older and your stepbrother is older--you didn't grow up with him from a young age. I've known of no remarriages (parents with adult children) where the adult children got along-----none. And I would never recommend it to anyone, and I would never do it myself.

Do you have a copy of your father's will?
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GetSmarter
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by GetSmarter »

Freetime76 wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:31 pm Without sounding loony-toons: I can offer to you that karma is real. There is a type of justice that has nothing to do with the courts or lawyers. I’ve seen it. Ill-gotten money of any sort isn’t going to do any good for them in the long run. Karma, plus he doesn’t have the financial chops to succeed with it - else, he wouldn’t have needed to bother.

I can promise you that every dime will be spent/wasted/lost and certainly not last nor change a life, unlike your dad who had enough. If that makes any sense. $500K is nothing in the hands of an idiot. <5 years, it’s gone from his hands.

You’re going to be wicked pissed (can I say that on Bogleheads?) for a long time. Do not let it eat you from the inside out for too long - your dad wouldn’t want ***your*** life ruined over it. Do your lawsuit or mediation...and let the offenders be eaten from the inside out.

I worry about this same scenario for my mother, as my sister becomes, shall we say, “more involved”. We’ve had the conversation about elder abuse and her being coerced (there is history), but mom insists there is no issue and that it won’t be an issue. I hope she is right.

Elder care and having one’s wishes honored is a huge topic. Maybe you could write a story forAARP. Except, make sure to get legal review first. And what about the attorney who signed off on all this?? Maybe there is a way to lodge a complaint?
Like you, I spoke to my dad about my concern trusting his stepson and he assured me not to worry. My trust attorney, on the other hand, told me to try and use reason with my dad and he should hire a professional trustee. He didn't want to spend the money but do you know what a litigator costs? That's who I've hired now. And the heart-ache? My goodness? The heart-ache. This has been so painful. It would have saved me such heart-ache, and an inheritance that had otherwise been intact for decades in his Will, until the last few weeks of my dad's life when his stepson stole, if my dad had heeded my trust attorney's advice to get an outsider, a true impartial person/persons. Feel free to tell your mom about what happened to me and my dad. Now it may be that your sister is honest. How does one know. It's also unfair to the trustee, who is not trusted. In this case, you say you don't trust your sister. Rather than distrust, I think it's well-worth the "insurance" of an outside trustee with checks and balances. Meaning, maybe it's two or three trustees that mind the nest egg/distributions. In your case, maybe it's you and your sister, or you, your sister and ? My accountant told me he acts as a co-trustee for a client. I think with the child of his client. I would love to write a book about the subject, and I may with a pseudonym.
“The more simple we are, the more complete we become.” August Rodin | | “The less I needed, the better I felt.” Charles Bukowski
random_walker_77
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by random_walker_77 »

Irrespective of any civil actions, it was a crime and please do consider reporting this financial elder abuse. Your lawyer can advise on how to get it taken seriously:

https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice/roadmap
Topic Author
GetSmarter
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by GetSmarter »

OnTrack2020 wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:45 pm You will move onto a more peaceful life once your step-brother makes you whole and returns all the money and issues you an apology. Why haven't you gone to the police? Don't feel one bit guilty over this.

I'm taking that, because of your father's advanced age, you yourself are older and your stepbrother is older--you didn't grow up with him from a young age. I've known of no remarriages (parents with adult children) where the adult children got along-----none. And I would never recommend it to anyone, and I would never do it myself.

Do you have a copy of your father's will?
Thanks for your thoughts. First, I think you only go to police if you know about elder abuse when parent is alive. Also Adult Protective Services. But I learned about neglect and financial abuse after he died. The stealing happened within a few weeks before he died. I have a copy of all my dad's legal documents going back many years. He was always transparent with me. But in 2020, he was very ill, and functioning more like a baby. Even though I have his Will/Trust going back more than a decade, the 2020 Amendment is currently treated as valid and that's why I hired a litigator.

I happen to be single. This has been such an earthquake in my life, I don't know that I could ever marry a person with kids. I might perpetual think they want me to die so they can one way or another take money from me or my spouse. My dad's stepson was rich. Mansion, investment properties, business. It's heart-breaking. When I think of him, I think of Bernie Madoff, and other crooks. On the surface, they may pass for one of us, but they are stone cold and if there's karmic justice, I hope he gets his. More importantly, I hope to become much bigger than his theft, and move into a beautiful world where this can't touch me. Focus on something worthwhile. This is still fresh, though, hence my need to vent. And educate others. Learn from one another. Anyway, it's better to earn one's money than take from others. That thug has dirty assets on his hands. I am clean. I just don't get people that rotten to the core. He's like the devil.
“The more simple we are, the more complete we become.” August Rodin | | “The less I needed, the better I felt.” Charles Bukowski
random_walker_77
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by random_walker_77 »

GetSmarter wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 7:57 pm
Thanks for your thoughts. First, I think you only go to police if you know about elder abuse when parent is alive. Also Adult Protective Services. But I learned about neglect and financial abuse after he died. The stealing happened within a few weeks before he died. I have a copy of all my dad's legal documents going back many years. He was always transparent with me. But in 2020, he was very ill, and functioning more like a baby. Even though I have his Will/Trust going back more than a decade, the 2020 Amendment is currently treated as valid and that's why I hired a litigator.
I'm clearly not a lawyer, but I don't think the statute of limitations expires on death. Just as a burglar is still at jeopardy if the victim later dies for unrelated reasons, the crime of financial abuse does not simply become moot upon the victim's death. It might be harder to prove, and/or maybe the DA is less interested in pressing charges especially if it's too complicated or difficult to convict, but you should definitely inquire.

These things are probably also state-specific -- look into the proper authorities in your area, and ask. Your lawyer would be concerned with the civil suits, but ought to be able to provide some guidance on how to file a criminal complaint. As another poster noted earlier, if there's a criminal conviction, then that makes the civil suit much easier.

One source, referring to CA law: https://rmolawyers.com/penalty-elder-fi ... 2410%2C000.
"When does financial elder abuse go to criminal court?
California Penal Code section 368 provides that financial elder abuse includes theft, embezzlement, or a form of financial fraud. So, if the victim chooses, they may file charges of theft, forgery, bribery, or any number of criminal charges against the abuser.

We don’t typically see victims filing criminal charges. However if the victim so chooses, and criminal charges are filed, financial elder abuse can lead to misdemeanor and felony charges. Misdemeanor convictions can lead to up to a year in jail, and a $1,000 fine. Felony convictions can result in up to four years in jail and fines up to $10,000.

Why don’t victims file criminal charges?
Generally, family members simply want their loved elder’s assets returned. As long as the assets are returned and the elder’s financial future secured the desire to send a family member or trusted family friend to jail wanes."
OP, my condolences on your loss. Sadly, this sort of story seems to be all too common.
NMBob
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by NMBob »

my experience is there a many many not that great lawyers out there. if you do not hear from them over a period of time, they likely are doing little on your case. you do not want to bother them , but you should already know each time about how long before certain events/info should be done. you call a little after that time period and see the status.

you should know if criminal charges are the least bit possible. your lawyer should have explained what he thinks is and is not possible and why. if you don't know, then it seems your lawyer has done a poor job laying out all the issues and possibilities or removing them . your lawyer may or may not need to consult DAs office to know, but again, how has this not been explained to you. also, if possible, it seems the criminal case goes before the civil case, let the da's office pay for getting all that info and sorting it for the criminal case instead of yours for civil. or maybe the real threat of a criminal case gets you a quick and better civil settlement if you drop pushing the da to do a criminal case. would seem the facility should have documentation to prove they told the trust/poa folks about 24 7 care and would help you prove that side.



i think you said you are single. if you have a pretty decent friend that you trust, primarily in decision making and advice, i would take that person with me to the next meeting with the lawyer, and go with a prepared list of questions that for you, would clarify some of the above. the friend can help you during and after the meeting, to help you understand and decide what the lawyer said, and what that meant...
sandramjet
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by sandramjet »

Again, condolences on your loss, and on the pain and suffering you are are experiencing. I also second the suggestions that you look into counseling to help you maintain a healthy perspective on everything.

I cannot suggest what you should do, other than what you are doing. I will tell you that I am currently going through a somewhat similar situation, albeit for a parent who is still living. The sibling who has control of everything financial and healthcare wise is in my opinion, systematically draining the resources from my parent. I chose to pursue a legal remedy, and so far it has taken almost exactly a year and we still have not even gotten to the mediation stage. And I believe I have a good lawyer, but yes, there are lots of delays, lots of costs (thousands per month), and frustration. I fully expect that the mediation will not be terribly fruitful, and anticipate this will take at least another year to resolve. (And yes, while I pay out of my pocket, my sibling uses my parent's money for their expenses).
Topic Author
GetSmarter
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by GetSmarter »

sandramjet wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:06 pm Again, condolences on your loss, and on the pain and suffering you are are experiencing. I also second the suggestions that you look into counseling to help you maintain a healthy perspective on everything.

I cannot suggest what you should do, other than what you are doing. I will tell you that I am currently going through a somewhat similar situation, albeit for a parent who is still living. The sibling who has control of everything financial and healthcare wise is in my opinion, systematically draining the resources from my parent. I chose to pursue a legal remedy, and so far it has taken almost exactly a year and we still have not even gotten to the mediation stage. And I believe I have a good lawyer, but yes, there are lots of delays, lots of costs (thousands per month), and frustration. I fully expect that the mediation will not be terribly fruitful, and anticipate this will take at least another year to resolve. (And yes, while I pay out of my pocket, my sibling uses my parent's money for their expenses).
I found it interesting that your handle name here is female. I'm a woman, too. I mention because something similar but not as egregious as my story, happened to a female cousin. We exclusively did the hard caregiving work for parents while a "trusted" male took the assets promised. For decades my father promised me a specific % of his assets and backed it up in a Will/Trust. I do not know if I'm reading your situation right, but I have heard this over and over again from female friends that they do the difficult caregiving work, while the brother steals or uses undue influence when the parent is in a state akin to an infant. I hired a male attorney despite thinking a woman would do a more thorough job because I think the old boys network is strong and somehow it might work for my advantage. I sometimes wish I went with the passionate smart woman attorney I met but she was so angry at the thief in my family, she really wanted to see a criminal case against him, and put him in jail. I'm too old for that drama and expense despite if I could snap my fingers and make him pay me what dad intended, and go to jail, I'd welcome justice. I want to find a way to pass through this as easily as I can, and get my life back. Enjoy life. I'm on this site because I have earned my own money and was investing. I think a better use of my time is learning to make the very most of what I have despite I had counted on what dad promised, for he was very reliable and I know he loved me. The stolen assets I had psychologically earmarked for the equivalent of a long term care insurance "nest egg", which I don't have. I'm just at early stage working toward mediation; everyone I trust told me I must get an attorney. I really do need someone to help me; this trustee is evil, greedy, and I can't deal with him on my own. I think it's important we share this sort of information, so we're not so alone in the tragedy, forewarn others, and get perspective since life is much bigger than any one betrayal. I hope, hope, hope karma is real. Wouldn't it be great to confidently let go, and know in the end the bad will lose and the good will be rewarded?
“The more simple we are, the more complete we become.” August Rodin | | “The less I needed, the better I felt.” Charles Bukowski
Topic Author
GetSmarter
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by GetSmarter »

GetSmarter wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:12 pm
sandramjet wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:06 pm Again, condolences on your loss, and on the pain and suffering you are are experiencing. I also second the suggestions that you look into counseling to help you maintain a healthy perspective on everything.

I cannot suggest what you should do, other than what you are doing. I will tell you that I am currently going through a somewhat similar situation, albeit for a parent who is still living. The sibling who has control of everything financial and healthcare wise is in my opinion, systematically draining the resources from my parent. I chose to pursue a legal remedy, and so far it has taken almost exactly a year and we still have not even gotten to the mediation stage. And I believe I have a good lawyer, but yes, there are lots of delays, lots of costs (thousands per month), and frustration. I fully expect that the mediation will not be terribly fruitful, and anticipate this will take at least another year to resolve. (And yes, while I pay out of my pocket, my sibling uses my parent's money for their expenses).
I meant to ask you, does your sibling give you an accounting? I made the request almost two months ago, and still haven't received any bank statements.

I found it interesting that your handle name here is female. I'm a woman, too. I mention because something similar but not as egregious as my story, happened to a female cousin. We exclusively did the hard caregiving work for parents while a "trusted" male took the assets promised. For decades my father promised me a specific % of his assets and backed it up in a Will/Trust. I do not know if I'm reading your situation right, but I have heard this over and over again from female friends that they do the difficult caregiving work, while the brother steals or uses undue influence when the parent is in a state akin to an infant. I hired a male attorney despite thinking a woman would do a more thorough job because I think the old boys network is strong and somehow it might work for my advantage. I sometimes wish I went with the passionate smart woman attorney I met but she was so angry at the thief in my family, she really wanted to see a criminal case against him, and put him in jail. I'm too old for that drama and expense despite if I could snap my fingers and make him pay me what dad intended, and go to jail, I'd welcome justice. I want to find a way to pass through this as easily as I can, and get my life back. Enjoy life. I'm on this site because I have earned my own money and was investing. I think a better use of my time is learning to make the very most of what I have despite I had counted on what dad promised, for he was very reliable and I know he loved me. The stolen assets I had psychologically earmarked for the equivalent of a long term care insurance "nest egg", which I don't have. I'm just at early stage working toward mediation; everyone I trust told me I must get an attorney. I really do need someone to help me; this trustee is evil, greedy, and I can't deal with him on my own. I think it's important we share this sort of information, so we're not so alone in the tragedy, forewarn others, and get perspective since life is much bigger than any one betrayal. I hope, hope, hope karma is real. Wouldn't it be great to confidently let go, and know in the end the bad will lose and the good will be rewarded?
GetSmarter wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:12 pm
sandramjet wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:06 pm Again, condolences on your loss, and on the pain and suffering you are are experiencing. I also second the suggestions that you look into counseling to help you maintain a healthy perspective on everything.

I cannot suggest what you should do, other than what you are doing. I will tell you that I am currently going through a somewhat similar situation, albeit for a parent who is still living. The sibling who has control of everything financial and healthcare wise is in my opinion, systematically draining the resources from my parent. I chose to pursue a legal remedy, and so far it has taken almost exactly a year and we still have not even gotten to the mediation stage. And I believe I have a good lawyer, but yes, there are lots of delays, lots of costs (thousands per month), and frustration. I fully expect that the mediation will not be terribly fruitful, and anticipate this will take at least another year to resolve. (And yes, while I pay out of my pocket, my sibling uses my parent's money for their expenses).
I found it interesting that your handle name here is female. I'm a woman, too. I mention because something similar but not as egregious as my story, happened to a female cousin. We exclusively did the hard caregiving work for parents while a "trusted" male took the assets promised. For decades my father promised me a specific % of his assets and backed it up in a Will/Trust. I do not know if I'm reading your situation right, but I have heard this over and over again from female friends that they do the difficult caregiving work, while the brother steals or uses undue influence when the parent is in a state akin to an infant. I hired a male attorney despite thinking a woman would do a more thorough job because I think the old boys network is strong and somehow it might work for my advantage. I sometimes wish I went with the passionate smart woman attorney I met but she was so angry at the thief in my family, she really wanted to see a criminal case against him, and put him in jail. I'm too old for that drama and expense despite if I could snap my fingers and make him pay me what dad intended, and go to jail, I'd welcome justice. I want to find a way to pass through this as easily as I can, and get my life back. Enjoy life. I'm on this site because I have earned my own money and was investing. I think a better use of my time is learning to make the very most of what I have despite I had counted on what dad promised, for he was very reliable and I know he loved me. The stolen assets I had psychologically earmarked for the equivalent of a long term care insurance "nest egg", which I don't have. I'm just at early stage working toward mediation; everyone I trust told me I must get an attorney. I really do need someone to help me; this trustee is evil, greedy, and I can't deal with him on my own. I think it's important we share this sort of information, so we're not so alone in the tragedy, forewarn others, and get perspective since life is much bigger than any one betrayal. I hope, hope, hope karma is real. Wouldn't it be great to confidently let go, and know in the end the bad will lose and the good will be rewarded?
“The more simple we are, the more complete we become.” August Rodin | | “The less I needed, the better I felt.” Charles Bukowski
TheDDC
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by TheDDC »

This is a terrible situation. My heart goes out to you. I know how challenging it is confronting even COMPETENT (of which it sounds like there is some question there with regard to the nursing home staff) health care employees regarding the needs of an aging parent. Having lost a close loved one after a year's staff at a nursing facility I can't even imagine having the stress of a swindling family member to deal with on top of all of this.

My advice: Go back to the tough female attorney and get back what is owed. You should also try to recoup attorney fees as well. My concern is that the money may have already been spent (or close to it) if this sleazeball is the kind of person I would think they are from your description. I like the idea of pushing the DA to build a case so that most of the expense is born by state authorities. Picking the meanest, toughest lawyer would be my course of action. I don't know what all mediation would do besides push off the worst until later.

Good luck and God bless...

-TheDDC
Rules to wealth building: 90-100% VTSAX piled high and deep, 0-10% VIGAX tilt, 0% given away to banks, minimize amount given to medical-industrial complex
sandramjet
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by sandramjet »

GetSmarter wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:16 pm I meant to ask you, does your sibling give you an accounting? I made the request almost two months ago, and still haven't received any bank statements.
They have given me an "accounting" supposedly every year -- but it has always been of questionable value and questionable accuracy. I had challenged the veracity of it several times informally in past years. I started with a letter from my lawyer asking for a full accounting including all accounts (which had never been given). That didn't work; had to go to court to subpoena records -- that still has not worked. I got some of the information (bank account records from the accounts that I did not have) but no record of expenses ... the statements show many cash outflows, etc. with no accounting as to source or destination. I am still waiting for that information but suspect I will have to go back to court to get that. We have delayed mediation once already because of lack of compliance with subpoenas, etc. My initial request for those records was made in October of last year, and as I noted, still have not gotten all of it.

It is frustrating that all this takes so long, but I have been told by my lawyer this is not unusual...these matters seem to often take a long time.
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GetSmarter
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by GetSmarter »

sandramjet wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 11:27 pm
GetSmarter wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:16 pm I meant to ask you, does your sibling give you an accounting? I made the request almost two months ago, and still haven't received any bank statements.
They have given me an "accounting" supposedly every year -- but it has always been of questionable value and questionable accuracy. I had challenged the veracity of it several times informally in past years. I started with a letter from my lawyer asking for a full accounting including all accounts (which had never been given). That didn't work; had to go to court to subpoena records -- that still has not worked. I got some of the information (bank account records from the accounts that I did not have) but no record of expenses ... the statements show many cash outflows, etc. with no accounting as to source or destination. I am still waiting for that information but suspect I will have to go back to court to get that. We have delayed mediation once already because of lack of compliance with subpoenas, etc. My initial request for those records was made in October of last year, and as I noted, still have not gotten all of it.

It is frustrating that all this takes so long, but I have been told by my lawyer this is not unusual...these matters seem to often take a long time.
Have you ever thought of giving up and moving on with your life? You mentioned you didn't think mediation would net you much. These are things I at times wonder for myself. It's a lot of money. Yet the quality of my life, the years left of my life are precious. And fighting, and angst, and reminiscing on the betrayal of a man with poor character, feels bad. Unless I thought I have an excellent chance of getting all the money, I don't know if I'd let it drag into a year or more. Life is precious. Of course, we're all in different situations. I am learning from others here and appreciate you sharing your experience. I find it very helpful. Like I was frustrated I haven't gotten an accounting of my dad's money that his stepson is spending. This is all so very backwards. So then I was frustrated with my attorney that he isn't doing more. But reading your post, I see what I'm going through may be "normal". The fact my dad died is different. For one thing, I have a deadline to file a lawsuit, which is coming up so I need to reconvene with my lawyer soon. See what's what. If I choose to sue trustee and we went to court, if found guilty he could go to jail. It's not my intention but could be his consequence. Rather all I want is to get what my dad intended before the thief intervened. And do so quickly, without more headaches and legal fees. My understanding is my best bet, while imperfect, is mediation. I hope the other party agrees otherwise I probably will sue him.
“The more simple we are, the more complete we become.” August Rodin | | “The less I needed, the better I felt.” Charles Bukowski
sandramjet
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by sandramjet »

In my case, my parent is still alive, so I am going through all this in order to preserve $$ for my parent; I am not concerned about whether anything is left over for me. So I am planning to see this through for my parent, but if despite my best efforts the estate is burned up, yes, I will just move on.

I have always felt that my parents did not owe me anything, nor do I need anything from them for my financial future, so not receiving the money will not cause me a lot of grief. On the other hand, this has essentially (and probably irreparably) destroyed any relationship with the sibling who is creating this chaos, but I have resigned myself to not having anything to do with them in the future. About that, I am sorry...but protecting my parent is more important to me.
Topic Author
GetSmarter
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by GetSmarter »

sandramjet wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 12:21 am In my case, my parent is still alive, so I am going through all this in order to preserve $$ for my parent; I am not concerned about whether anything is left over for me. So I am planning to see this through for my parent, but if despite my best efforts the estate is burned up, yes, I will just move on.

I have always felt that my parents did not owe me anything, nor do I need anything from them for my financial future, so not receiving the money will not cause me a lot of grief. On the other hand, this has essentially (and probably irreparably) destroyed any relationship with the sibling who is creating this chaos, but I have resigned myself to not having anything to do with them in the future. About that, I am sorry...but protecting my parent is more important to me.
You're a very kind daughter to your mom. While my dad was alive, I tried to protect him like you are with your mom. I was beyond frustrated.I'd try to remove furniture, trip hazards, and his stepson fought me. "But my mom likes the glass table here." I'd try to get dad help with his meds (he kept screwing them up and therefore his health) and I was fought at first because of the expense. And ignored. I talked about these frustrations in therapy, and the therapist said at one point my dad chose X to be his trustee and I needed to accept it and the consequences. That's tough medicine but I got so worn out trying to protect my dad. As soon as I backed off to take care of myself, a time when dad fell on me and I got re-injured because I wasn't strong enough to physically care for him, that's around when the financial abuse took off like a rocket... just a few months before my dad died. I think back to my therapists words and try to take things easier. Have a good night. And best of luck navigating it all.
“The more simple we are, the more complete we become.” August Rodin | | “The less I needed, the better I felt.” Charles Bukowski
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LiveSimple
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by LiveSimple »

Understand but move on in life.
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by OnTrack2020 »

LiveSimple wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 4:55 am Understand but move on in life.
Would you move on if a step-sibling took $500,000 of your parent's money for themself?
vtjon02
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by vtjon02 »

GetSmarter wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:16 pm Have you ever thought of giving up and moving on with your life? You mentioned you didn't think mediation would net you much. These are things I at times wonder for myself. It's a lot of money. Yet the quality of my life, the years left of my life are precious. And fighting, and angst, and reminiscing on the betrayal of a man with poor character, feels bad. Unless I thought I have an excellent chance of getting all the money, I don't know if I'd let it drag into a year or more. Life is precious. Of course, we're all in different situations. I am learning from others here and appreciate you sharing your experience. I find it very helpful. Like I was frustrated I haven't gotten an accounting of my dad's money that his stepson is spending. This is all so very backwards. So then I was frustrated with my attorney that he isn't doing more. But reading your post, I see what I'm going through may be "normal". The fact my dad died is different. For one thing, I have a deadline to file a lawsuit, which is coming up so I need to reconvene with my lawyer soon. See what's what. If I choose to sue trustee and we went to court, if found guilty he could go to jail. It's not my intention but could be his consequence. Rather all I want is to get what my dad intended before the thief intervened. And do so quickly, without more headaches and legal fees. My understanding is my best bet, while imperfect, is mediation. I hope the other party agrees otherwise I probably will sue him.
I'm sorry for your loss. What strikes me most is your grief and desire for retribution. I am a very similar person. When people cross me or those that I care about there are no lengths within the law that I won't go to in order to receive justice. The number of times I've heard "an eye for an eye..." coming from someone thinking they are giving me advice is shockingly high.

Many years ago my mother lost her life due to complications from medical malpractice. After a long and expensive process, my family accepted a settlement. Victory, perhaps? The doctor was mildly inconvenienced. Still practices at the same job. The money? Was fine but attorneys get their cut. Was this justice? Who lost? An insurance company and us. The doctor had some inconvenience. Who gained? Us some, the attorneys some. None of it brought my mom back or even came close to compensating for grief (if that's even possible). I thought the doctor would get bad press, be fired, etc but none of that happened. My dad might even have had to sign a NDA.

Knowing this, if something happened would I sue for malpractice again if warranted? Probably, but my expectations would be very different.

The best advice I can give you is to try to find an impartial party, a good trusted friend, and talk through what your goals are of advancing through litigation. The time, financial outlay and emotional costs are real.

The only thing I can say with certainty is that victory doesn't bring your dad back. With less certainty I can say it likely doesn't result in you getting what you would/should have from your father's estate. It likely doesn't result in the trustee walking away in handcuffs. But if it allows you to walk away feeling less devastated, then it might be worth it.

I hope you can find peace. I still miss my mom every single day.
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GetSmarter
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by GetSmarter »

vtjon02 wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:58 am
GetSmarter wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:16 pm Have you ever thought of giving up and moving on with your life? You mentioned you didn't think mediation would net you much. These are things I at times wonder for myself. It's a lot of money. Yet the quality of my life, the years left of my life are precious. And fighting, and angst, and reminiscing on the betrayal of a man with poor character, feels bad. Unless I thought I have an excellent chance of getting all the money, I don't know if I'd let it drag into a year or more. Life is precious. Of course, we're all in different situations. I am learning from others here and appreciate you sharing your experience. I find it very helpful. Like I was frustrated I haven't gotten an accounting of my dad's money that his stepson is spending. This is all so very backwards. So then I was frustrated with my attorney that he isn't doing more. But reading your post, I see what I'm going through may be "normal". The fact my dad died is different. For one thing, I have a deadline to file a lawsuit, which is coming up so I need to reconvene with my lawyer soon. See what's what. If I choose to sue trustee and we went to court, if found guilty he could go to jail. It's not my intention but could be his consequence. Rather all I want is to get what my dad intended before the thief intervened. And do so quickly, without more headaches and legal fees. My understanding is my best bet, while imperfect, is mediation. I hope the other party agrees otherwise I probably will sue him.
I'm sorry for your loss. What strikes me most is your grief and desire for retribution. I am a very similar person. When people cross me or those that I care about there are no lengths within the law that I won't go to in order to receive justice. The number of times I've heard "an eye for an eye..." coming from someone thinking they are giving me advice is shockingly high.

Many years ago my mother lost her life due to complications from medical malpractice. After a long and expensive process, my family accepted a settlement. Victory, perhaps? The doctor was mildly inconvenienced. Still practices at the same job. The money? Was fine but attorneys get their cut. Was this justice? Who lost? An insurance company and us. The doctor had some inconvenience. Who gained? Us some, the attorneys some. None of it brought my mom back or even came close to compensating for grief (if that's even possible). I thought the doctor would get bad press, be fired, etc but none of that happened. My dad might even have had to sign a NDA.

Knowing this, if something happened would I sue for malpractice again if warranted? Probably, but my expectations would be very different.

The best advice I can give you is to try to find an impartial party, a good trusted friend, and talk through what your goals are of advancing through litigation. The time, financial outlay and emotional costs are real.

The only thing I can say with certainty is that victory doesn't bring your dad back. With less certainty I can say it likely doesn't result in you getting what you would/should have from your father's estate. It likely doesn't result in the trustee walking away in handcuffs. But if it allows you to walk away feeling less devastated, then it might be worth it.

I hope you can find peace. I still miss my mom every single day.
Thanks for your helpful reply. I truly don't want to spend my time in battle and relive this horrid story over and over by going to court. I'm getting some catharsis writing here. I'd love to write about it -- with naming people -- in the newspaper but I know that would bring more trouble. But I think everyone should know how prevalent financial elder abuse is, and it often happens as a result of someone the victim knows and trusts. I hate the bad guys getting away with criminal behavior, on such a large scale. I had a girlfriend who sued a doctor for medical malpractice many years ago, and it took well over a year of her life. I can't recall the outcome, maybe because the biggest part of her case was it took over her precious life, reliving the tragedy over and over. My hope is to go to mediation, get what I can, and move on with the lesson. I knew my dad's stepson was bad news, I just couldn't believe he'd do something so blatantly wrong when my dad was dying. I guess he assumed I wouldn't sue. He knew I'd be mad. He told me so when I confronted him. People can be very bad. Oh, I hope karma is real. People who are kind and ethical, I'll hold them near and dear.
“The more simple we are, the more complete we become.” August Rodin | | “The less I needed, the better I felt.” Charles Bukowski
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by BarbBrooklyn »

I would retain the most bull-dogged lawyer I could find.

AND I would press criminal charges.
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by bsteiner »

Did Dad have the right to amend the trust?

If so, does an amendment need to be notarized under the terms of the trust or under the applicable state law?
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by simas »

GetSmarter wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:37 am
vtjon02 wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:58 am
GetSmarter wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:16 pm Have you ever thought of giving up and moving on with your life? You mentioned you didn't think mediation would net you much. These are things I at times wonder for myself. It's a lot of money. Yet the quality of my life, the years left of my life are precious. And fighting, and angst, and reminiscing on the betrayal of a man with poor character, feels bad. Unless I thought I have an excellent chance of getting all the money, I don't know if I'd let it drag into a year or more. Life is precious. Of course, we're all in different situations. I am learning from others here and appreciate you sharing your experience. I find it very helpful. Like I was frustrated I haven't gotten an accounting of my dad's money that his stepson is spending. This is all so very backwards. So then I was frustrated with my attorney that he isn't doing more. But reading your post, I see what I'm going through may be "normal". The fact my dad died is different. For one thing, I have a deadline to file a lawsuit, which is coming up so I need to reconvene with my lawyer soon. See what's what. If I choose to sue trustee and we went to court, if found guilty he could go to jail. It's not my intention but could be his consequence. Rather all I want is to get what my dad intended before the thief intervened. And do so quickly, without more headaches and legal fees. My understanding is my best bet, while imperfect, is mediation. I hope the other party agrees otherwise I probably will sue him.
I'm sorry for your loss. What strikes me most is your grief and desire for retribution. I am a very similar person. When people cross me or those that I care about there are no lengths within the law that I won't go to in order to receive justice. The number of times I've heard "an eye for an eye..." coming from someone thinking they are giving me advice is shockingly high.

Many years ago my mother lost her life due to complications from medical malpractice. After a long and expensive process, my family accepted a settlement. Victory, perhaps? The doctor was mildly inconvenienced. Still practices at the same job. The money? Was fine but attorneys get their cut. Was this justice? Who lost? An insurance company and us. The doctor had some inconvenience. Who gained? Us some, the attorneys some. None of it brought my mom back or even came close to compensating for grief (if that's even possible). I thought the doctor would get bad press, be fired, etc but none of that happened. My dad might even have had to sign a NDA.

Knowing this, if something happened would I sue for malpractice again if warranted? Probably, but my expectations would be very different.

The best advice I can give you is to try to find an impartial party, a good trusted friend, and talk through what your goals are of advancing through litigation. The time, financial outlay and emotional costs are real.

The only thing I can say with certainty is that victory doesn't bring your dad back. With less certainty I can say it likely doesn't result in you getting what you would/should have from your father's estate. It likely doesn't result in the trustee walking away in handcuffs. But if it allows you to walk away feeling less devastated, then it might be worth it.

I hope you can find peace. I still miss my mom every single day.
Thanks for your helpful reply. I truly don't want to spend my time in battle and relive this horrid story over and over by going to court. I'm getting some catharsis writing here. I'd love to write about it -- with naming people -- in the newspaper but I know that would bring more trouble. But I think everyone should know how prevalent financial elder abuse is, and it often happens as a result of someone the victim knows and trusts. I hate the bad guys getting away with criminal behavior, on such a large scale. I had a girlfriend who sued a doctor for medical malpractice many years ago, and it took well over a year of her life. I can't recall the outcome, maybe because the biggest part of her case was it took over her precious life, reliving the tragedy over and over. My hope is to go to mediation, get what I can, and move on with the lesson. I knew my dad's stepson was bad news, I just couldn't believe he'd do something so blatantly wrong when my dad was dying. I guess he assumed I wouldn't sue. He knew I'd be mad. He told me so when I confronted him. People can be very bad. Oh, I hope karma is real. People who are kind and ethical, I'll hold them near and dear.
I think you have a lot of things going on and some may be overlapping ...
- grief (anger, denial, etc) over loss of parent. Fully understandable and you have my condolences

- some of your anger is directed at another party we do not know anything about (other than your words), no way for us to know whether that is justified or not. for example, the entire claim 'he caused my dads death' is highly accusatory... people die. people die all the time. people die all of the time frequently especially of old age. the 91 years old is a very old age , people die with 24x7 observation with 48x7 observation with dozens of assistants, etc. I understand your anger and just wonder if you see it too vs starting to blame someone else for what is inevitable and not processing your grief. i think you should talk about this with qualified medical professional vs random internet board member... again , my condolences and heart felt sorrow for what you are going through, just not mix these things up. if I were your juror you would have a pretty high burden of proof to support the accusation you made.. it is very common for relatives of those who passed away to automatically seek to assign blame, be it facility , some person, persons, supporting team ,etc. - extremely common since people are absolutely in denial and nothing could happen to them or their loved ones, it _has_ to be someone else's fault..

- now on legal stuff . if you are taking it a lot seriously, in any form - STOP posting about your case or potential case ANYWHERE, for any reason. That would be the first thing your attorney would/should tell you. You are gaining nothing and potentially losing the strength of your case by exposing bunch on information you absolutely do not need to expose. if you hired an attorney and your case is taken, LISTEN TO YOUR ATTORNEY. Listen to your attorney , listen to you attorney. Your attorney should tell you if there are enough facts to prove elder abuse (or anything more serious). again - listen to them, that is why you hired them.

I do not know what I would do if I were you , I guess I would try to separate my grief/anger from legal items, process my grief to the extent I am able , and continue living..
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by BogleFanGal »

thank you for sharing your story and your generosity in wanting to help others avoid the same fate if they can. I do hope it's brought a drop or two of relief, just getting it all out. I can imagine you don't want to relive this through the courts and part of me feels the same - but the other side of me says "he shouldn't get away with it".

That's why I believe I'd ultimately file police charges and let the DA do some of this costly investigative, work as other posters have said. You can go on with your life while they do their thing - odds are, they won't involve you much during that process. In fact, I think they prefer that family stay out of it and let them do their investigation unencumbered.

Bonus: you make this crook sweat - there's nothing like the threat of a police/DA investigation hanging over your head every day to ruin the joy of spending that ill-gotten bounty. Every dollar he's blown- or will blow- will be scrutinized and he'll be looking over his shoulder constantly. If he's as loaded as you say he is, there's also a much greater chance of financial restitution when criminal courts and juries get involved.

Crooks laugh at requests like mediation...he's probably just tossing the paperwork every time you send it.
Even if he doesn't do jail time...make 'em sweat! :twisted:
"Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen." Mark Twain
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by FoolStreet »

OnTrack2020 wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 5:50 am
LiveSimple wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 4:55 am Understand but move on in life.
Would you move on if a step-sibling took $500,000 of your parent's money for themself?
Playing Devils Advocate for a second, it’s like the parent gave the money to step-sibling, if not at time of the Amendment, then at the time of the original decision to name the step-sibling the Trustee. Hard medicine and I would not necessarily be content with that position, but it is one way to think about it.

OP - Regardless, please take bsteiner’s advice. He is a well regarded estate lawyer.

My suggestion: Get the facts. Get the documents in your hands and read them. Call Dad’s original lawyer and ask for copies of the documents. Call Step-siblings new lawyer and ask for copies of the documents. Maybe go to the bank that holds Dads money and discuss the issues with the trust. Give the banks the pre-amended versions with your names on them. See what you can find on your own.
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by BogleFanGal »

FoolStreet wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:10 pm
OnTrack2020 wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 5:50 am
LiveSimple wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 4:55 am Understand but move on in life.
Would you move on if a step-sibling took $500,000 of your parent's money for themself?
Playing Devils Advocate for a second, it’s like the parent gave the money to step-sibling, if not at time of the Amendment, then at the time of the original decision to name the step-sibling the Trustee. Hard medicine and I would not necessarily be content with that position, but it is one way to think about it.

OP - Regardless, please take bsteiner’s advice. He is a well regarded estate lawyer.

My suggestion: Get the facts. Get the documents in your hands and read them. Call Dad’s original lawyer and ask for copies of the documents. Call Step-siblings new lawyer and ask for copies of the documents. Maybe go to the bank that holds Dads money and discuss the issues with the trust. Give the banks the pre-amended versions with your names on them. See what you can find on your own.
I'm not a legal expert, so maybe someone else can correct me, but wouldn't one benefit of filing criminal charges be that the merits of the case are required to be investigated by criminal justice experts who can be more objective than OP can right now? That would automatically tell her a lot about the viability of a civil case without having to spend a ton more time/money engaging her own attorney. Every time she asks him to do anything, it's costing big bucks.

(She can always change her mind against pressing charges later, so she's not committing to anything permanent...but JUST IN CASE it really is blatant elder crime abuse, hate to think it will go unreported, just from an ethical point of view.)
"Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen." Mark Twain
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by TheLaughingCow »

Based on what you have posted, I doubt you will ever recoup much of the money.

You may get more satisfaction in criminal court but that is not guaranteed.
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by fposte »

GetSmarter wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:03 pm Many people on this forum, spending thousands of hours learning to grow and maintain their money, as did my dad. But to what end? If they don't protect from thieves, often someone closest, often someone in the family, it's all for nothing.
I'm so sorry for your loss and your situation. I did want to address the above, though. It was very much not all for nothing in your father's case. He was able to live comfortably for years as a result of his savings and planning. All this mess that you're dealing with--it didn't affect his daily life and enjoyment thereof. It's terrible that he was taken advantage of, but you're the one bearing that burden. It's not something he'd want you to bear, but at least you can be comforted by the notion that he didn't have to.
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by RetiredCSProf »

I am sorry for your loss and the stressful situation that you are in.

My only similar experience ended in a settlement. I hired a licensed, bonded, and insured general contractor to remodel my home. Toward the end of the project, I realized that the general contractor had overcharged me by about $200K and that he had hired inexperienced, unlicensed subcontractors to perform most of the work. I met with an attorney who encouraged me to file a lawsuit against the general contractor. At one point, the attorney told me that I could potentially be awarded $1.5M. Only problem was that the contractor I sued was judgment proof and that his general liability insurance company denied the claim. Mediation failed because the contractor said he was penniless and was unwilling to negotiate. I fired my attorney and hired a new attorney who presented a settlement and the case was resolved.

If you sue your step-brother and win, will he have any resources to pay the award? Will it be enough to cover your legal expenses? If you go to mediation, will your step-brother have anything to offer?
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by Wricha »

[quote=OnTrack2020 post_id=5494222 time=1600080650 user_id=118977]
LiveSimple wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 4:55 am Understand but move on in life.
Would you move on if a step-sibling took $500,000 of your parent's money for themself?
[/quote]

Absolutely. Paid for parents’ long term care for 8 years. Had the loan document prepared and signed for the cost of care. Sibling knew I paid for the cost of care. Sibling emailed me saying I will get paid first with any money left in estate. Parents died and sibling took half the estate and left me in holding the bag. Yes I lost a good bit of my own money. Had the estate paid the loan the sibling would of received nothing from the estate.
Take away.
1. Had the legal authority to claw back the money, as the estate owned me the money through a loan document my parents made (unknown to sibling). Somehow letting it go was the best course of action.
2. Feel blessed for be able to afford the cost of care, as my parents sacrificed so much for me. (Much much more than the cost of long term care).
3. Words like thief, thug are not used for clarity they only keep an awful story alive irrespective if you are anonymous.
4. Not a Buddhist, not sure karmic action is used to get even or keep score.
5. At some point in life it is more important to learn to surrender than it is to be right. In the end you are going to surrender everything so why not practice a little now.
6.This would be a great story/event to get past so use it for your benefit.
7. If you must hire an attorney do so and let them handle it. Don’t call and ask about the case continually, again by constant inquiry you are just keeping a very bad story alive.
8. If attorney’s negotiate a settlement be content with the outcome as there is never enough.
9. Oh yeah, the half I got donated it to the nursing home so everyone made out!
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by NotWhoYouThink »

Contrary to popular myth, you can't "press charges." Only a prosecutor can do that. If you like, you can look up what office in your county or state handles that kind of prosecution, and report to that authority. I don't think a simple police report would do, you'd need to make sure it came to the attention of someone who could act on it.

I'd probably hire an attorney and litigate. In the great scheme of things, it's best in my judgement if people intending to harm others physically or financially are in fear that if they get caught they will be punished. You can reinforce that belief, or you can remove the threat from this person. You make your own choice on that.
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GetSmarter
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by GetSmarter »

Thank you everyone for your input. I have been upset about the death of my father and a betrayal that occurred. I felt the need for empathy, ideas and to forewarn others about financial elder abuse. I didn't realize how prevalent financial abuse of this sort is in our society before it happened to my family. I now need to back off from this thread for my peace of mind. Thank you for your comments and understanding.
“The more simple we are, the more complete we become.” August Rodin | | “The less I needed, the better I felt.” Charles Bukowski
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GetSmarter
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by GetSmarter »

Wricha wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:43 pm [quote=OnTrack2020 post_id=5494222 time=1600080650 user_id=118977]
LiveSimple wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 4:55 am Understand but move on in life.
Would you move on if a step-sibling took $500,000 of your parent's money for themself?
Absolutely. Paid for parents’ long term care for 8 years. Had the loan document prepared and signed for the cost of care. Sibling knew I paid for the cost of care. Sibling emailed me saying I will get paid first with any money left in estate. Parents died and sibling took half the estate and left me in holding the bag. Yes I lost a good bit of my own money. Had the estate paid the loan the sibling would of received nothing from the estate.
Take away.
1. Had the legal authority to claw back the money, as the estate owned me the money through a loan document my parents made (unknown to sibling). Somehow letting it go was the best course of action.
2. Feel blessed for be able to afford the cost of care, as my parents sacrificed so much for me. (Much much more than the cost of long term care).
3. Words like thief, thug are not used for clarity they only keep an awful story alive irrespective if you are anonymous.
4. Not a Buddhist, not sure karmic action is used to get even or keep score.
5. At some point in life it is more important to learn to surrender than it is to be right. In the end you are going to surrender everything so why not practice a little now.
6.This would be a great story/event to get past so use it for your benefit.
7. If you must hire an attorney do so and let them handle it. Don’t call and ask about the case continually, again by constant inquiry you are just keeping a very bad story alive.
8. If attorney’s negotiate a settlement be content with the outcome as there is never enough.
9. Oh yeah, the half I got donated it to the nursing home so everyone made out!
[/quote]

Thank you for writing! I appreciate your sentiments, particularly the following:

At some point in life it is more important to learn to surrender than it is to be right. In the end you are going to surrender everything so why not practice a little now.

This would be a great story/event to get past so use it for your benefit.
“The more simple we are, the more complete we become.” August Rodin | | “The less I needed, the better I felt.” Charles Bukowski
FoolStreet
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by FoolStreet »

GetSmarter wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:47 pm
Wricha wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:43 pm [quote=OnTrack2020 post_id=5494222 time=1600080650 user_id=118977]
LiveSimple wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 4:55 am Understand but move on in life.
Would you move on if a step-sibling took $500,000 of your parent's money for themself?
Absolutely. Paid for parents’ long term care for 8 years. Had the loan document prepared and signed for the cost of care. Sibling knew I paid for the cost of care. Sibling emailed me saying I will get paid first with any money left in estate. Parents died and sibling took half the estate and left me in holding the bag. Yes I lost a good bit of my own money. Had the estate paid the loan the sibling would of received nothing from the estate.
Take away.
1. Had the legal authority to claw back the money, as the estate owned me the money through a loan document my parents made (unknown to sibling). Somehow letting it go was the best course of action.
2. Feel blessed for be able to afford the cost of care, as my parents sacrificed so much for me. (Much much more than the cost of long term care).
3. Words like thief, thug are not used for clarity they only keep an awful story alive irrespective if you are anonymous.
4. Not a Buddhist, not sure karmic action is used to get even or keep score.
5. At some point in life it is more important to learn to surrender than it is to be right. In the end you are going to surrender everything so why not practice a little now.
6.This would be a great story/event to get past so use it for your benefit.
7. If you must hire an attorney do so and let them handle it. Don’t call and ask about the case continually, again by constant inquiry you are just keeping a very bad story alive.
8. If attorney’s negotiate a settlement be content with the outcome as there is never enough.
9. Oh yeah, the half I got donated it to the nursing home so everyone made out!
Thank you for writing! I appreciate your sentiments, particularly the following:

At some point in life it is more important to learn to surrender than it is to be right. In the end you are going to surrender everything so why not practice a little now.

This would be a great story/event to get past so use it for your benefit.
[/quote]

Why didn’t everyone know about the loan? Or submit the loan docs to the estate?
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legio XX
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Re: Financial Elder Abuse/Neglect/Inheritance Theft - lawsuit or mediation?

Post by legio XX »

Condolences on the loss of your father, and sympathy for what you are now dealing with. The situation is rotten. Been there, done that with my mother's SS (surviving spouse). His shenanigans included:
- a couple of forged signatures, one on the day she died
- not telling me when she went to hospice. I called in the police when I kept getting the answering machine because I was afraid he had keeled over in the kitchen and left her unable to call for help.
- Her broker alerted me that he was trying to sell stocks from an account that she and I held jointly. He could write checks tho and was trying to cash one that would nearly clean it out; the broker refused the transaction and alerted me. One of the last things mom said to me was that "SS is trying to take your money." Her brain worked to the end; my big mistake was not realizing how close the end was.
- His parting shot was giving the funeral home inaccurate info to make it look like he was her only husband - my late stepdad somehow became my grandfather (!) I tried to correct it, but he changed it back. Now that is a sleazoid.

Got a lawyer. Got copies of things. Hired a handwriting expert to testify that some signatures were not hers. A witness to a will that she had supposedly recently made admitted that they hadn't seen her sign it. The fake will also contained stupid mistakes that she would never have made - unless she did it deliberately to give me something to contest, that would have been her style.
His lawyer, maybe it was SS's bright idea, tried to scare me off with a Jarndyce v Jarndyce scenario - I told them I would gladly keep him in court until the day he died.
To get to the bottom line:
- he did not get the accounts he tried to grab
- he returned what he took from the checking account
- he got what she had intended for him

I asked about filing a criminal complaint for the forgery, but the lawyer said that the local authorities wouldn't pursue it due to his age and supposedly poor health, the relatively modest amounts and the fact that I recovered what he grabbed. I deposited the check and forgot about the old jerk.

Was it worth it? Yeh, I sleep a lot better than I would have if I'd just folded.
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