Frank is 94 years old and has led a relatively comfortable life. That is, until his memory began to fail him. As the years went on, his dementia became more pronounced and interfered with his ability to make the necessary decisions to successfully manage his routine day-to-day affairs. It seemed only natural to have his housekeeper move into his apartment and assist him on a full time basis. Unfortunately, the housekeeper’s plans had little to do with making sure Frank was safe and comfortable.
Shortly after the housekeeper moved in, Frank’s friends were no longer welcome in the home when they tried to visit. In fact, when they began expressing concern for Frank’s well-being and asking more questions, the housekeeper called the police and complained of harassment. His friends contacted the Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Forensic Center, hoping to find help for Frank. The case was becoming more complex – in fact, Frank was due to be evicted from his apartment of 31 years for nonpayment of rent. Because of this and other legal issues, the Forensic Center turned to Bet Tzedek and the experts in its Elder Law group.
The Bet Tzedek legal team had little time to act. Frank was to be locked out of his apartment in a matter of days. The team also discovered that his bank account had been drained of hundreds of thousands of dollars and that his housekeeper had officially married him in order to gain further control of his affairs. Of course, with Frank suffering from ever-increasing symptoms of dementia, he could not recall ever going through a marriage ceremony or agreeing to have his housekeeper take care of any financial matters. But Bet Tzedek was able to find solutions.
The team filed for and received an Elder Abuse Temporary Restraining Order that required the housekeeper to immediately vacate Frank’s home. Working with his friends, they found someone who was willing and able to become Frank’s conservator, thereby properly and legally assuming oversight of his daily needs, medical care, and finances. They prepared all the necessary applications, explained to Frank’s friend what would be required and how to fulfill his duties as a conservator, and, ultimately, successfully petitioned the court to appoint Frank’s friend as his conservator. And while Frank had little financial reserves left after his former housekeeper had raided his remaining nest egg, Bet Tzedek’s assistance came at no cost, as it does to all who seek our help.
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