As people age, they often become more vulnerable. Most Californians, however, wouldn’t expect to become victims of their own family members for the sake of their wealth.

Sadly, this is what former American astronaut Buzz Aldrin now alleges. He claims in a lawsuit that his children have stolen his assets, committed slander over his mental state, seized control over his businesses and manipulated his romantic relationships – perhaps to limit his beneficiaries.

This case is pending, but it represents an issue that hits close to home for some elders and their families. There may be people in their life who wish to take advantage of their life savings. This could take the form of duplicitous representation, outright theft or strong coercion.

For those who suspect that they might face this problem as they age, a comprehensive estate plan is essential. Once a decedent is gone, they need to be sure that funds reach the intended recipients.

A key part of Buzz Aldrin’s case is that his children claim that he suffers from memory loss. It is unclear whether he has ever received a professional diagnosis, however.

We have previously mentioned on this blog that there are options to protect the estate even if an elder does suffer from mental difficulties. This prevents family members from taking matters into their own hands by appointing a reliable trustee or Durable Power Of Attorney as the official decision-maker. Sadly, Buzz Aldrin alleges that his son is abusing this trustee power.

An attorney may detect signs that their client faces unusual pressure from family members during review sessions and offer alternatives. An estate plan should reflect a client’s true wishes. It should account for a variety of needs and situations, including shielding assets from family disputes.

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