Not everyone is a fan of superhero movies. However, no matter your cinematic preferences (I prefer splashy musicals and dark twisty crime stories myself), you will have heard of Stan Lee, who passed away recently. Stan Lee was the creator of a large number of comic book heroes that Hollywood movie types have converted into endless superhero blockbusters with an infinite loop of sequels, that may or may not have any redeeming cinematic features but always find an adoring audience.
Stan was at the center of a number of allegations of elder abuse involving his own daughter, his business associates, and others. Restraining orders had been requested and granted. The cases have been in the news for months.
As a man of significant means and advanced age (Mr. Lee was allegedly 95 at the time of his death), Mr. Lee was a prime target for elder abuse. Mr. Lee also likely would have had access to top notch estate planning attorneys. But even the best documents in the world cannot provide complete protection from elder abuse.
Our most practical advice if you have a loved senior in your life is this – keep an open, frequent relationship with your loved one. The best way to fight elder abuse is to prevent it in the first place. The courts are definitely a resource for elder abuse victims, but it’s a long and potentially costly process. A relationship can’t be built with your loved one after capacity has been lost and resources have been wasted or misused.
Learn about your loved one’s situation and who the important people are in their lives. How well do you know their friends and frequent visitors? Who has access to their assets? Gathering this information can result in uncomfortable conversations, especially with elders who are loathe to ‘prying’ and concerned about their privacy. However, we can absolutely assure you that the momentary discomfort of these conversations is negligible to the pain of pursuing elder abuse claims.
Talk to your loved ones. Be your loved one’s superhero and be as involved as you can in their lives before the specter of elder abuse raises its ugly head. Because that possibility is not at all marvelous.