Saturday, May 16, 2015

Peter Falk's Daughter: Rights Bills Sparked by Dad's Case

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The daughter of beloved character actor Peter Falk is waging a state-by-state campaign to grant children access to an elderly or incapacitated parent who is under someone else's care, and on Thursday she told Newsmax TV that her visiting-rights bills are advancing in New York and California.

"The visitation bill basically is a protection, a law that protects adult children and ailing elderly parents when your parent is being isolated or secluded away from family, friends and loved ones," Catherine Falk told "Newsmax Now" co-hosts Miranda Khan and John Bachman.

Falk was caught up in a very public battle over access to her father, best known as the rumpled detective in the classic network television series, "Columbo." Diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in his later years, he died in 2011 at age 83 at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Catherine Falk said at the time that her stepmother, Peter Falk's second wife, Shera, banned her from the funeral. The bulk of the actor's estate went to Falk's second wife, according to reports.

In the years immediately preceding his death, "My dad was basically incapacitated," said Falk.

"He had Alzheimer's disease, he had just gone through hip replacement surgery, and nobody could access my dad," she said.

She went to court to contest the exclusion and learned that California law favors spouses in family disputes over probate, power of attorney and conservatorship, and that she would have to legally challenge her stepmother's designation as conservator, she said.

After her father's death, Falk said, she and her lawyer decided to seek a change in the law. The result is the Peter Falk Bill introduced in the legislatures of California and the actor's home state, New York, by lawmakers who have taken up the cause.

"This streamlines the process where an adult child can go into court and petition the court without having to go through a long, lengthy battle in probate court and spend $100,000," said Falk. "It holds the caretaker accountable for any type of elder abuse, and it also allows children the ability to see their parents."

Falk said she would like to see federal legislation and for now is concentrating on getting states aboard. She said she is not fundraising, just trying to create awareness and momentum.

Until any Falk bill becomes law, there is "absolutely nothing on the books" to protect others from the same "awful" experience she had, she said.

"There's no legal recourse that adult children have currently that allows them to get any visitation to their parents," said Falk. "They're isolated, and isolation means elder abuse. We need a law to protect us and to protect our parents so that we can have a relationship in their final years and days of their life."

Full Article & Source:
Peter Falk's Daughter: Rights Bills Sparked by Dad's Case


Norma said...

Her Dad would be proud.

Pete said...

This is good news! Thank you NASGA for all you do daily to raise awareness about isolation. I hope the Falk people join forces with our organization.

B Inberg said...

I'm a big fan of Peter Falk, especially his Columbo series so I'm taking this case very personal, the victim has a special place in my heart that extends to his children I feel a personal connection to them and I do feel their pain.

The Falk children's lives are forever changed I applaud their efforts to step up and do all they can to correct the problems of court sanctioned elder abuse yes the courts are aware blind justice has a new meaning folks: probate judges are not the cream of the crop in the judicial community.

Good Luck Catherine Falk! I'm sure NASGA will be following your progress.

NASGA said...

In Illinois this year, Representative Davis Harris introduced a simple but powerful bill which addresses the growing problem of unscrupulous guardians isolating their wards from family, friends, advocates and/or clergy: HB 2506 provides that unless a guardian of the person or a disabled adult is specifically authorized by court order, the guardian shall not restrict the personal rights of the ward, including, but not limited to, the right to receive visitors, telephone calls, and personal mail. Hearings are scheduled to discuss and debate the bills.

NASGA recommends such a bill be introduced in every state.

Join the national movement for reform of unlawful and abusive guardianships and conservatorships. Join NASGA!

Sylvia Rudek said...

I cannot count the times during the past 14 years that I referred to one of my favorite characters 'Columbo' especially and specifically when asked while being interviewed how best to describe how my life changed since 2001 when our beloved family member, Helen Fabis, was guardianized in Rock County Wisconsin.

My response: From a Martha Stewart lifestyle to Columbo.

Heartbreaking that Peter Falk was isolated and silenced. However, it's wonderful to know that his daughter, Catherine Falk is her Dad's voice.

Citizens need to step up and support the Peter Falk Bill and ILLINOIS HB2506

Statutes Amended In Order of Appearance
755 ILCS 5/11a-17 from Ch. 110 1/2, par. 11a-17

Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Probate Act of 1975. Provides that unless a guardian of the person of a disabled adult is specifically authorized by court order, the guardian shall not restrict the personal rights of the ward, including, but not limited to, the right to receive visitors, telephone calls, and personal mail.


StandUp said...

This makes me jump for joy!

Kasandra said...

Legislators get enamored with celebrities and it's very good to see someone like Catherine Falk pushing for this legislation because it has a better chance with a celebrity backing it.