Anthony D. Marshall, the son of Brooke Astor, was found guilty of 14 of the 16 counts against him in a case that has brought wide attention to financial elder abuse. The 85-year-old Marshall faces 1 to 25 years in prison. It reminds us all that we must be very careful in our estate planning, especially who we list as our Agent in a Power of Attorney and other estate planning documents.
Brooke Astor was a philanthropist and Matriarch of New York high society. In the last years of her life, Mrs. Astor suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.
Attorney Francis X. Morrissey Jr., who did estate planning for Mrs. Astor, was also convicted of fraud, conspiracy charges, and forging Mrs. Astor’s signature on an amendment to her will. This is an important reminder to be careful about who you choose as your attorney, too.
When my office represents a client, we make it clear to the whole family that we owe our loyalties to the client only. We like to have family members involved in the discussion and allow the family to ask questions. However, if there ever appears to be a conflict or potential conflict between a client and their child or another family member, my obligation is to look out for the best interest of my client. Period. Not Negotiable.
It also goes to show you that it does not matter whether you’re rich or poor, you need to have a good plan in place to make sure that you and your family are protected.