Philip Marshall, grandson of the famous philanthropist and New York City socialite, Brooke Astor, recently lost out on an estimated nine million dollars when he was removed from the will of Anthony Marshall, his father, whom Philip testified against in criminal court.
In 2006, Philip filed for guardianship of Astor, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2000, accusing his father of perpetrating various acts of elder abuse and neglect against her. Philip argued that his grandmother was not of sound mind when Anthony persuaded her to alter her will in a way that would add millions of dollars to his own inheritance. Anthony denied the charges and settled with his son, handing Philip control of Astor's finances.
During a separate trial in 2009, Philip and his brother Alec gave a compelling testimony that eventually led to the unanimous conviction of their father on 14 criminal counts, including fraud and grand larceny.
While he regrets the spectacle caused by these battles, Philip is proud that they have shed light on the important (but often overlooked) issue of elder abuse. "If it was at the cost of anything I was to inherit, I just don't care," Philip recently told the New York Post.
Astor was 105 when she passed away in 2007. Throughout her life she donated roughly $200 million to preserve various New York City landmarks.
More than two million older Americans are the victims of elder abuse each year, according to the Administration on Aging, and it is the often the ones who are closest to an older adult that commit these crimes.
In fact, a study by Weil Cornell Medical College found that 58 percent of financial fraud against older adults is perpetrated by family members. These scams range in severity from an adult child stealing money from their parent's bank account to buy a new car, to a family caregiver convincing their aging relative to alter their will.
There are steps you can take to protect an aging loved one from financial elder abuse. For more information, see: