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Lessons from Groucho Marx: Reducing the Risk of Elder Abuse

By the time that the legendary screen actor and comedian Groucho Marx became a senior citizen, he had a difficult time making a number of decisions regarding his daily life. 

 

During this time, Marx’s companion, Erin Fleming, was accused of elder abuse and experienced a deterioration in his relationship with Marx’s children. This was made complex by Fleming’s decision to push Marx to perform. Later, after Marx became incapacitated, Fleming was appointed as guardian and temporary conservator of Marx’s valuable estate. Marx’s grandson was later named permanent conservator. 

 

Following Marx’s death, the fight for assets from the late legend’s estate continued on for years. A judge later resolved the debate in favor of Groucho’s children and ordered Fleming to repay a large amount that she had stolen from Marx’s bank accounts. 

 

At the time that Fleming’s abuse occurred, people in this country were much less familiar with the nature of abuse. Today, however, many organization including the American Associations of Retired Persons (AARP) have commented that elderly abuse is becoming a common problem. Fortunately, there are a number of strategies that can be utilized to greatly reduce the risk that a loved one is negatively impacted by elder abuse.

 

# 1 – Plan to Stay Close to Loved Ones

 

Elderly individuals who are isolated from loved ones are at much greater odds of being abused. The best way to avoid being harmed in this way to utilize your estate plan to make sure that you stay close to loved ones. Planning in this way makes it easier for your loved ones to intervene in case there is a risk of abuse occurring. 

 

# 2 – Keep in Contact with Loved Ones

 

By staying in contact with loved ones on a frequent basis, elderly individuals can make sure that they receive any help that they might need. It is often a wise idea to select a medical alert system as well in case an emergency occurs. 

 

# 3 – Keep Loved Ones Informed

 

Due to reduced mental and physical capacities, elderly individuals are at an increased risk of being harmed by scams. When elderly individuals keep their loved ones informed of any solicitations or campaigns to which they contribute, the risk of being scammed out of money are substantially reduced. 

 

# 4 – Be Cautious When Appointing Caregivers

 

Appointing a trustworthy and dependable caregiver is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of being harmed by elderly abuse. An inappropriate caregiver will place an elderly individual at an increased risk of being harmed by financial exploitation. 

 

The best caregivers are often part of the elderly indvidiaul’s family. Other times, the best choice for a caregiver might be a close friend. If neither of these options are available, it is vital to adequately screen the caregiver to make sure that you pick the best individual possible. 

 

Speak with a Knowledgeable Estate Planning Lawyer

Elder abuse is often devastating. By utilizing the appropriate strategies in advance, however, you can greatly decrease the risk that a person is harmed in this way. Contact Ettinger Estate Planning today to schedule a free initial consultation.

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