SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) – 88-year-old Astronaut Buzz Aldrin is suing two of his children and a former business manager over his finances and other control over other aspects of his life. The issue is highlighting why it’s important for families to plan ahead for an aging parent.
Troy Wilson is an elder attorney in Salt Lake City. He notes cases like Buzz Aldrin’s can be difficult because it can be hard to determine when someone has a deteriorating mental capacity.
“One of the challenges, when you’re dealing with that, is when do you cross that line?” said Wilson. “When do you get to a point where you are no longer able to take care of your financial affairs.”
In Aldrin’s case, he’s accusing his two children of improperly using finances, credit cards, and slander for suggesting he’s suffering from dementia.
His children deny the claims in the lawsuit which was filed just weeks after they partitioned for partial guardianship of their father. Wilson notes any elderly person who doesn’t feel they need it should contest it.
“If someone brings a guardianship case against you, and you think you do still have capacity, and you think it’s not appropriate don’t be afraid to push back,” said Wilson.
In Utah, any elderly person who is being partitioned for guardianship must be supplied an attorney to make sure their rights are being protected. Wilson said he’s been on both sides of these cases.
Having a plan in place of who you want to be a guardian can help, but Wilson admits it’s not easy.
“It’s tough, get your planning, get it in place,” said Wilson. “Think carefully about who you want in place to take responsibility if you can’t.”
Experts suggest getting a 3rd party to take guardianship if you have multiple children, and they often disagree on a parent’s care.
There are services online which can help people get the documents they need to take care of guardianship and planning. An attorney can also help someone do so through an estate plan. Wilson said people should get it done before it’s needed.