Readers in the Twin Cities may take interest in a recent case involving the financial exploitation of vulnerable adults by an unscrupulous deli owner. The deli owner succeeded in defrauding three seniors out of more than $200,000 of a substantial inheritance and may have continued to get away with robbing the unwitting heirs if not for a court-ordered conservatorship.
Minnesotans may be interested to learn that the legacy of railroad tycoon and longtime St. Paul resident James "The Empire Builder" Hill was the subject of a recently settled trust dispute. The Empire Builder earned a place in history by founding the Great Northern Railway and constructing rail lines stretching from Duluth to the West Coast.
For families and friends of the elderly in Minnesota, it is important to stay vigilant and aware of what is going on in their lives. Even if people appear to have the best intentions, each week a new story details another case of financial exploitation or undue influence of vulnerable adults. As one recent story highlights, those who are granted guardianship of an elderly relative can sometimes take advantage of the situation for their own benefit, harming others in the process.
Minnesotans are known for being very polite and generous people, and not too quick to offend. These admirable traits are just a few things that make living in Minnesota special. However, that these good qualities are the norm may sometimes result in Twin Cities residents' not being particularly comfortable in discussing a loved one's end-of-life wishes. Indeed, many families throughout the country put off important decisions regarding wills, trusts, guardianships, conservatorships and other estate planning matters, and too often the end result is problems with probate.
In Minnesota issues of probate and estate administration are decided every day. Some turn on the status of a particular individual and their relationship to the deceased. In cases where a last will and testament exists, the terms of the will may dictate who gets what. When there is no will, however, state statutes provide for distribution to beneficiaries. Whether or not these issues played a direct part, an interesting and heart-rending case was reported in Minnesota.