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Monday, November 5, 2018

Sometimes It Can Be Hard To Tell The Good Guys From The Bad

We all like to think that if one of our loved ones was being abused, we would realize it right away and quickly step in to help. We also imagine that if we were being abused, we would get help or that someone would recognize the signs of abuse and step in on our behalf. It’s scary to think otherwise. Unfortunately, our years of experience have taught us that elder abuse can be tricky to spot and difficult to stop. A very public example of this is playing out right now as comic book legend Stan Lee’s family, lawyers, and business associates fight each other over control of his future.

Stan Lee is the mastermind of the Marvel comic book universe. He created or co-created some of the world’s most well-known superheroes, including Spider-Man, the Hulk, and the X-Men, but right now it seems he could use a hero of his own.

This spring, the Hollywood Reporter broke the news that the 95-year-old Lee may be being taken advantage of by his only child, J.C., who is herself in her late 60s, and/or Lee’s current and former lawyers, business associates, and caretakers. There are so many people fighting with one another over their relationships with Lee that two different lawyers showed up to court claiming to represent Lee’s interests in an elder-abuse-based restraining order case earlier this month.

Lee’s situation is sad, but it is not unusual. Many families get into legal disputes when it becomes clear that an older relative needs assistance managing their affairs.

The best way to prevent this from happening is to craft a comprehensive estate plan that explains to others how you hope to live out your final years. This should include a living will that explains to your loved ones and your healthcare providers how you wish to be treated under certain circumstances, and power of attorney documents, which empower people you trust to act on your behalf.

If you don’t have such a plan in place, or your existing plan comes under attack, a loved one may seek appointment as your legal guardian. Guardians are tasked with making decisions on behalf of the person in their care, much like a person granted power of attorney is. However, guardianship proceedings are a court-supervised affair, which opens them up to public scrutiny. They are often expensive, time-consuming, and generate a lot of ill-will between those involved.

Whether a power of attorney document is in place or a guardian is appointed, it is not uncommon for other parties to allege, either publicly or privately, that some sort of abuse is occuring. Sometimes abuse is obvious, like when it is physical or financial, but other times it is not as clear. Hiring an experienced attorney can help you determine what options are available if you think a loved one is being abused, and can limit abuse by putting legal controls in place before they are needed.

 


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Monk Law Firm, PLLC assists clients throughout Charlotte, Rock Hill, Fort Mill and the surrounding areas.



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| Phone: 803-594-4453
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| Phone: 704-369-9977

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