Murder Most Foul Demonstrates Need to Advocate for the Elderly
Tagged with: Caretaker • Elder Law • Estate Planning • Estate Planning Education • Foul Play • law firm practice management • Law Firm Systems • Legal Education • legal marketing • Murder • Practice Building Strategy • Special Needs • Steve Hartnett
This heartbreaking story caught my eye the other day. Not so much due to the circumstances of the woman’s horrific death, but for the fact that it spoke of the critical need to be ever vigilant in watching out for those unable to care for and protect themselves. In fact, I regard it as our duty, as estate planning and elder law attorneys.
The foul play which happened to the 70-year-old woman was not discovered until she was being prepared for embalming at the funeral home. It was assumed that she had died of natural causes in her group home. After all, death among the elderly is hardly a surprising event. However, the embalmer found 10 inches of rope and a candy wrapper stuffed down her throat. Police were called, as this was definitely not death by natural causes. The medical examiner said the rope was like a hoodie drawstring.
The deceased was a special needs individual, but had no family to help her, which meant she required around-the-clock care. An arrest was made of a 50-year-old female, who lived in the same complex as the deceased. She was charged with murder. The relationship, if any, between the deceased and the 50-year-old woman remains unclear. It may have been a caretaker/patient relationship. The motive also remains unclear.
This disturbing story clearly shows the importance of clients choosing the right people to be in trusted positions, such as trustee, agent under a POA, etc. If the woman had someone watching out for her, it is significantly less likely that she would have had her life ended in this awful manner.
Often times, the frailties of old age can take their toll. But, older adults do not need to have their dignity stripped away, as seems to be the case in this horrible case.
Stephen C. Hartnett, J.D., LL.M.
Associate Director of Education
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128
Tags: Caretaker, Elder Law, Estate Planning, Estate Planning Education, Foul Play, law firm practice management, Law Firm Systems, Legal Education, legal marketing, Murder, Practice Building Strategy, Special Needs, Steve Hartnett