The second richest woman in the world, Liliane Bettencourt, has been declared mentally unfit to manage her affairs by a Judge in France yesterday. The decision grants control of her financial affairs to her only child, daughter Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers, and grandsons Jean-Victor and Nicolas. Bettencourt-Meyers has been fighting for years to protect her 88-year old mother, who has been victim to financial exploitation to the tune of more than one billion dollars, according to an earlier lawsuit.
Bettencourt suffers from “mixed dementia” and “moderately severe” Alzheimer’s disease, according to a medical report relied on by the Judge in making her decision. Her mental decline sparked a family court fight. It began three years ago when Bettencourt-Meyers started a lawsuit to protect her mother from photographer Francois-Marie Banier, who she claimed had charmed the elder Bettencourt out of assets worth almost one billion euros (about 1.4 billion dollars). She also named Banier as sole heir in a new will and as beneficiary to vast life insurance policies.
Bettencourt was so furious Read more…
The National Center on Elder Abuse defines Financial or Material Exploitation as:
The illegal or improper use of an elder’s funds, property or assets. Examples includes, but are not limited to, cashing an elderly person’s checks without authorization or permission; forging an older person’s signature; misusing or stealing an older person’s money or possessions; coercing or deceiving an older person into signing a document (e.g., contracts or will); and the improper use of conservatorship, guardianship, or power of attorney.
The Center lists the following warning signs and symptoms of exploitation and other forms of financial abuse:
- Sudden changes in bank account or banking practice, including an unexplained withdrawal of large sums of money by a person accompanying the elder;
- The inclusion of additional names on an elder’s bank signature card;
- Unauthorized withdrawal of the elder’s funds using the elder’s ATM card;
- Abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents;
- Unexplained disappearance of fund or valuable possessions;
- Substandard care being provided or bills unpaid despite the availability of adequate financial