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May 01, 2014

Annual Meeting Program: The Epidemic of Elder Financial Exploitation

(Note: The pdf for the issue in which this article appears is available for download: BIFOCAL Vol. 35, Issue 5.)


ABA Annual Meeting CLE Showcase Program


The Epidemic of Elder Financial Exploitation
Ethical Traps for Lawyers & Skills Every Lawyer Needs


  • August 9, 2014
  • 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • Hynes Convention Center
  • Boston, Massachusetts

Elder financial exploitation (EFE) costs victims, families, governments, and businesses more than $2.9 billion annually and affects millions of older persons. Every lawyer needs to know how EFE may affect them personally and professionally.

The sensational Brooke Astor case demonstrates that a lawyer who is ignorant of EFE may fail to protect the client from harm or unwittingly participate in the client’s victimization, possibly leading to professional discipline, liability, or even criminal charges.

National experts will:

  1. Present demographic trends that increase the likelihood that lawyers will deal with diminished financial capacity and EFE in their families and in their work;
  2. Use the Astor case to pose ethical and practical dilemmas and provide tips for addressing those challenges; and
  3. Teach signs of vulnerability to EFE and recommended options for responding.

Following opening remarks by ABA President James Silkenat, Commission on Law & Aging Chair David M. English will moderate.


  • Dr. Daniel C. Marson, clinical neuropsychologist and professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, will discuss research on financial decision-making capacity that explains vulnerability to EFE.
  • Lori Stiegel, attorney at the ABA Commission, will provide an overview of the many forms of elder financial exploitation.
  • Bruce S. Ross, a member of the legal team representing Mickey Rooney against his exploiter, will discuss ethical issues and rules to consider when representing older clients.
  • Elizabeth Loewy, a lead prosecutor of the Brooke Astor case, will address what her office considers when investigating attorneys involved in questionable trust and estate matters related to older or impaired clients.
  • Patricia D. Struck, Wisconsin’s state securities regulator and a former trustee of the Investor Protection Trust, will speak about the role of securities regulators in educating investors and protecting them from fraud. 

Annual Meeting program cosponsored by:

  • Business Law Section
  • Center for Human Rights
  • Center for Professional Responsibility
  • Commission on Homelessness & Poverty
  • Commission on Disability Rights
  • Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence
  • Criminal Justice Section
  • Health Law Section
  • Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section
  • Senior Lawyers Division
  • Solo Small Firm & General Practice Division
  • Standing Committee on Lawyers’ Professional Liability
  • Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section

Program Background
This Annual Meeting program is the kick-off event of the Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation (EIFFE) Prevention Program — Legal which is a collaboration between the ABA Commission on Law and Aging, the Investor Protection Trust, the Investor Protection Institute, and state securities regulators’ offices and state bar associations.

For more information, contact ABA Commission Senior Attorney Lori Stiegel at [email protected]. (link no longer available)

You can register for the Annual Meeting online! (link no longer available)