Helping Families Navigate the Financial Challenges of Age Transitions

Month: July 2020

Calling Aging Parents, the “New Children” is demeaning and ageist.

A recent Fox Business News report that otherwise does an admirable job of discussing the challenges faced by families with aging parents nevertheless steps over the line with the title of its report. While likely unintentional, the title of the story – “Aging parents are the new ‘children’ | Fox Business – is demeaning to older adults who are already fighting to preserve their dignity and overcome ageist attitudes towards them.

Referring to aging parents as “children” instead of simply older adults, or adults with limitations, reinforces negative stereotypes about older people that have been shown to contribute to their poor health and more rapid decline.

A 2015 article in the Journal of Geriatrics titled, Stereotypes of Aging: Their Effects on the Health of Older Adults, discusses several studies that affirm the health benefits of healthy age stereotypes (messaging) as well as the harmful effects of negative stereotypes. For example, subjects primed with more negative stereotypes such as sick, needy, dependent, burdensome, and childlike,  were more likely to suffer from memory loss, hypertension, coronary disease, and depression, than subjects primed with positive messaging such as wise, valuable, experienced. Those who were exposed to negative stereotypes at home died on average seven years before those who received positive reinforcement.

Nearly all of the world’s wisdom traditions include honoring the old as a core tenant of belief and practice. Negative stereotypes and demeaning labels such as being called a child does little to bring honor to those whose guidance, advice, comfort, affirmation, and support we earnestly sought for years.

Otherwise, the report contains a lot of useful tips for families.

Source: Aging parents are the new ‘children’ | Fox Business

Court of Appeals Affirms That Will Was Product of Undue Influence

The Law Firm of Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, recently published the trial court results of a case involving a charge of Undue Influence brought by the two adult children of William Moriarty.

Mr. Moriarty was widowed in April 2016. William had been diagnosed with depression, anxiety and congestive heart failure following Doreen’s death. Eve, who had been married three times previously and had met William while Doreen was alive, began dating him within weeks after Doreen’s death.

Afterward, Cathy and Paula noticed a marked change in their relationship with their father, though they did not learn of his and Eve’s relationship until soon before they were married. Eve and William married about seven months after Doreen’s death, and neither Cathy nor Paula were invited to, or attended, the wedding.

From firing William’s caregiver to procuring a new will for him through her own lawyer, Eve also was named as joint owner of a new, large home purchase shortly after their marriage, as well as of a new $60,000 Lexus.

Relying on an expert witness, the court determined that William’s physical and psychological impairments made him vulnerable to undue influence.

The trial court was convinced that Eve exercised undue influence over William due to multiple facts presented at trial, including the dramatic shift in his estate plan only one month before his death and Eve’s involvement in procuring his will and surrendering his life insurance policy. The trial court was less than impressed with Eve’s demeanor in court, noting her “flat affect during emotional testimony,” which left the court “with no confidence that Eve married William because she loved him and with the conclusion that Eve planned to take all of William’s money all along.”

Ultimately, the trial court declared that the purported will was invalid due to William’s lack of capacity and Eve’s undue influence over him, and it ordered that William’s estate be distributed as if he had died intestate.

The court also ordered Eve to transfer title of bank accounts, the house and the car — all of which she otherwise would have received as a joint owner — to William’s estate.

Source: Court of Appeals Affirms That Will Was Product of Undue Influence | Publications | Insights | Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

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