Archive for November, 2011
The National Center on Elder Abuse recently publicized 10 warning signs and symptoms to help us in raising alertness on this growing problem in our society. I’ve noticed more and more stories reported in the news of cases where elder financial abuse was suspected and sometimes (but not always) substantiated. Even high profile public figues are apparently not immune from this type of abuse.
A recent highly publicized court case involving the L’Oreal family fortune is the latest example. A few months ago, the family feud returned to court when Bettencourt reportedly invested 170 million euros in a company belonging to the Wilhem’s client. This prompted Bettencourt-Meyers to again file legal proceedings to protect her mother. Wilhelm was said to have encouraged the deal, which Bettencourt-Meyers felt was a conflict of interest.
The Judge must have agreed and shared the family’s concern, because her ruling today gave control over the vast financial holdings to Bettencourt-Meyers and her sons. In doing so, she removed Wilhem from managing Bettencourt’s fortune.
How vast is that fortune? Forbes last pegged Liliane Bettencourt at #15 on its list of the world’s billionaires. Her net worth was estimated at $23.5 billion dollars. She is the largest shareholder of L’Oreal, which was founded by her father. Now the family will manage that fortune instead of outside advisers accused of “scheming” against Bettencourt.
In the U.S., according to the National Center on Elder Abuse, there are an estimated 5 million cases of financial abuse of seniors each year.
How can you protect your elderly family members? The National Center on Elder Abuse lists the following warning signs and symptoms of exploitation and other forms of financial abuse:
- Sudden changes in bank account or banking practice, including an unexplained withdrawal of large sums of money by a person accompanying the elder;
- The inclusion of additional names on an elder’s bank signature card;
- Unauthorized withdrawal of the elder’s funds using the elder’s ATM card;
- Abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents;
- Unexplained disappearance of funds or valuable possessions;
- Substandard care being provided or bills unpaid despite the availability of adequate financial resources;
- Discovery of an elder’s signature being forged for financial transactions or for the titles of his/her possessions;
- Sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives claiming their rights to an elder’s affairs and possessions;
- The provision of services that are not necessary; and
- An elder’s report of financial exploitation.
The National Center on Elder Abuse, Administration on Aging
Read more about Liliane Bettncourt here
Ten Strange Send-Offs
Sometimes when individuals die, they leave behind unusual requests for their send-offs. For example, Arch West, creator of Doritos, asked to have Doritos chips scattered into his grave. Ten more strange send-off requests are below:
- Frederic Baur (creator of the Pringles tube) requested that his remains be stored in, you guessed it, a Pringles tube.
- Malcolm McLaren (the Sex Pistols’ former manager) requested his coffin be spray painted to say “too fast to live, too young to die,” asked for four black horses to bring his coffin to a deconsecrated church, and requested a “minute of mayhem” in lieu of a moment of silence.
- Gene Roddenbery (creator of Star Trek) had his remains launched into space in 1997. His remains re-entered the atmosphere in 2002.
- Hunter S. Thompson (the gonzo journalist) had his ashes fired from a cannon (paid for by his friend Johnny Depp) from a 150 foot tower topped with the symbol of Thompson’s journalism.
- Tupac Shakur (rap artist) allegedly asked his rap group to mix his remains with marijuana and smoke them. The group claims to have followed Shakur’s request, but Shakur’s family says the rapper’s remains are closes guarded.
- Eugene Shoemaker (one of three people who discovered the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet) had some of his remains sent to the moon on the Lunar Prospector in 1999.
- Frank Sinatra had a bottle of whiskey, a Zippo lighter, and ten dimes included in his coffin. The ten dimes, it’s reported, were for any emergency phone calls.
- The wife of Brian Tandy (a geologist) had her husband’s remains turned into three synthetic canary yellow diamonds for her and their two daughters.
- Elizabeth Taylor, a fan of being fashionably late, stipulated that she wanted her funeral services to begin fifteen minutes after the scheduled time.
- Sandra West (a Beverly Hill’s socialite) left a hand written request to be buried in a lacy nightgown, while sitting in the front seat of her blue Ferrari.
Read the article here.