NEW YORK (MainStreet) — It used to be that Theresa Lyons bartered with the elderly relatives in her family.
|Carmen Tozzo Hernandez|
“My aging mother and her sister were helping me pay the rent, gas and electricity bills and I would take them out to eat and drive them around to where they needed to go,” said the single mother of three children.
That was until 2011 when Blanca Tozzo, Lyons’s aunt, passed away and her mother, Carmen Hernandez Tozzo, was placed in a retirement home in Florida once the Department of Children and Families (DCF) stepped in.
“I have no access to my mom's finances,” Lyons told MainStreet. “The only way I can get any money is through a subpoena and blessings from the probate judge.”
Once Tozzo became a ward of the state under a professional guardian, Lyons said most of her mother's $100,000 in retirement savings was drained.
|Carmen Tozzo Hernandez|
Lyons’s mother is among the senior citizens losing some $36.48 billion each year to elder financial abuse, according to a True Link study called Friendly Grandparent Syndrome.
“These numbers indicate how the guardianship industry destroys the legitimate inter-generational transfer of wealth and in the process irreparably damages entire generations of innocent families,” said Dr. Sam Sugar, founder of the Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship (AAAPG) in Miami.
That’s 12 times more than the previously reported $2.9 billion, because elders are ashamed and humiliated and in some cases drugged while residing in a retirement home.
“They often refuse to report this crime,” said Jack Halpern, CEO of My Elder Advocate, a franchise that works with families to solve elder care-related crises. “Elder financial abuse is probably the most unreported crime in the country.”
Some $16.9 billion of these losses a year comes from deceptive but technically legal tactics designed specifically to take advantage of older Americans, according to the 2015 True Link Report on Financial Elder Abuse. “This crime is shielded from public view because the criminal is most often a lawyer in probate court,” said Kristi Hood, author of the book Probate Pirates (JKH Publishing, 2015). “The probate pirate attorney either directly or indirectly finds a way to pick the pockets of the elderly ward of the state, taking money that should be used to care for the person or charging their adult children exorbitant legal fees for help.”
Uncannily similar to organized crime defined in the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970 (RICO), probate piracy can involve the involuntary redistribution of assets, which is also known as property poaching, with the elderly person becoming the enterprise that is defrauded.
"Unscrupulous charities, probate courts, home repair scammers, retirement homes, neighbors and even distant family members know that a friendly senior with cognitive issues is a potential gold mine,” said Kai Stinchcombe, CEO and founder of True Link.
Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers are reportedly expected to be the recipients of some $41 trillion from their World War 2 generation parents as they pass away. (Continue reading)
Full Article & Source:
Here's How The Great $41 Trillion Generational Wealth Transfer Is Intercepted By Probate Pirates
NASGA: Carmen Tozzo Hernandez, Florida Victim