Many of our cases involve actual or suspected financial exploitation of the elderly in which a claim is made that someone took advantage of the cognitive and/or emotional vulnerability of an older person to gain financial enrichment from “gifting” of assets, changes in financial accounts, and/or rewriting of estate plans. While the typical case involves a child exploiting a parent, there are also serial predators who target vulnerable adults.
Entitled “A New Wife, a Secret Past and a Trail of Loss and Blood,” this New York Times article chronicles the befriending of a rich older widower by a much younger woman with a troubling history of alleged exploitation. The police warned him that that they had reason to believe he was the victim of a so-called “sweetheart swindle.” Lonely and undeterred, he married her. The marriage did not go well. In his divorce filing, he wrote, “Defendant scammed me out of at least $1,836,725.” Sadly, that was not the end. “She asked him to reconsider and marry her again. She promised things would be better.” They remarried, but “[t]he changes she promised didn’t happen.” He is divorcing her again, perhaps for the last time.
(Note: Ralph Holmes is currently retired from McLane Middleton. For information on this or other probate litigation issues, please contact Alexandra Cote at email@example.com.)