There are crimes that make you silently shake your head, like minor traffic violations. There are other crimes that make you wonder what this world is coming to, like elderly abuse. A recent case out of New York is one of the latter.
Michael Ostrowski was appointed to be the guardian of his grandfather who has dementia. This is rather ordinary and happens in Probate Courts every day. What is not ordinary is what Ostrowski did with that guardianship. He used it to steal approximately $300,000 of his grandfather’s money. He didn’t even need the money, unless you count needing a new flatscreen TV, pickup truck and semi-automatic assault rifle as necessities. That’s what he used the money for.
Fortunately, in this case Ostrowski was caught and will go to prison. He’s also been ordered to pay restitution. However, this type of situation happens all too frequently. Financial abuse of the elderly is a real problem and it needs to be addressed. In the absence of tougher laws, you can better protect yourself from it with proper planning. Get a General Durable Power of Attorney and talk to your attorney about appointing a responsible person to the position. Don’t rely on a court to appoint a responsible guardian.