Sadly, even some of the sharpest minds are affected by age. For instance, dementia doesn't pick or choose who it will affect. In some instances, an individual's ability to make financial decisions may become compromised and make them susceptible to abuse. In cases such as this a guardian or a conservator may be named to make decisions on his or her behalf.
A recent example of this situation involves Mickey Rooney, a man who began his career as a child actor. He built a million-dollar estate through appearances across the board on radio, television and even the silver screen. As age took over, the actor moved from his large home into the home of his stepson and stepson's wife. Under these circumstances, claims of elder abuse, fraud and financial mishandling arose.
A complaint was filed by the actor's attorneys stating that the stepson and the stepson's wife had abused the elderly actor. The alleged abuse included the withholding of food and necessary medication that ultimately led to depression and verbal and financial abuse. A probate judge granted the request that the attorneys be named as conservators of the estate.
Most recently, a probate judge approved the decision to sell the home that is no longer being lived in by the actor. While Rooney and his current wife are not living together, there is no intention of filing for divorce. However, the decision to sell the home and split the proceeds was one that was amicably made.
As for the $500,000 that the actor will receive as a result of the sale, any purchases or investment decisions relating to the money will be made by the conservators of the estate who are bound by a legal fiduciary duty.
Source: Daily News, "Mickey Rooney's home to be sold for $1.3M to West Hills firm," Bill Hetherman, March 4, 2013
If you have questions or concerns about the capacity of a loved one, our Fort Myers Guardianship page provides information about this situation.