The family dysfunction leading to the sale of the Victor Café, the South Philadelphia landmark where your waitress is likely to sing you an aria, offers a cautionary lesson about the elderly and their finances.
You could write an opera about it, with this tragic plot:
Café owner Lola DiStefano, 89, didn't talk much with her six children about her estate and wound up transferring the landmark café to an attorney she barely knew. For about three years, her children squabbled, as many do, over what was best for their mother. One daughter placed DiStefano in an assisted-living facility, saying her mother had started a fire in her home, left gas burners on, fallen, and gotten lost. The daughter accused her siblings of bleeding her mother's assets dry.
Another daughter took DiStefano out of the assisted-living facility and introduced her to the lawyer who wound up getting control of the restaurant. Yet another daughter said her sister had fired her from the restaurant. Ultimately, the youngest son gained control of the restaurant to take the burden off DiStefano and assure her an income. But this result came after years of wrangling, and a fortune spent on lawyers.
Elder-care experts advise parents to talk to their children at length about their assets and intentions while they are lucid, but also have a will, and let everyone know what's in it to avoid confusion.
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Inquirer Editorial: Restaurant Battle Provides Useful Lesson