I've been reading about the Tony Marshall case going on in NYC this week. Mr. Marshall was convicted of embezzling his mother's money, which included amendments to her will. As her only child, he is facing a prison sentence at age 85. The crime was committed while she lay bedridden and suffering from Alzheimer's and/or dementia. Mrs. Astor was a very generous donor to the Metropolitan Museum and many other philanthropic entities. One of her favorite sayings was from a Thorton Wilder play, "The Matchmaker", in that "money was like manure; it wasn't worth a thing unless you spread it around." Of course, a scandal of this size includes a grandson, who accused his father of not caring for his grandmother properly in her last years, nurses and household help with their own stories, a lawyer, also on trial, for helping him with the dastardly deeds. Not to mention a greedy third wife, on whose behalf he was supposedly procuring these funds. After all, what more do you really want to buy at age 85? (Except for that pesky yacht?)
All of this brings to mind the thought - who cares? I mean, should you care what happens to your money, once it is out of your control? Do you really want to spend your last years worrying about money, of all things? She had made the comment to one of her nurses that rich people were like poor people - they always wanted more. I'm not sure that's true. Maybe if you spent your life knee-deep in money, that could be the case. After all, you become what you focus on in life. But for most of us, money is not the most important thing in our lives, people are.
Of course, if you have a bundle, you would want to see your favorite charities endowed, but after that - why worry about it? I would like to think my children will look after me for my sake - because they love me - not because they want to manipulate me out of whatever I'm going to leave behind. It would be theirs anyway. After my needs are met, who cares what they do with what's left? Hopefully they are good enough people that they will do the right thing. Be charitable, considerate, kind, thinking of others and the future. And if they're not? Well, they will reap what they sow. It's only money, after all.
Nor would I think I was entitled to anything more than what I had given in my life. We all have emotional bank accounts. Back to the old "reap what you sow" adage. By the time you are really old, and fragile, it's too late to change the outcome of a lifetime of wrong thinking and behavior. Best do it now.
As for Tony, it doesn't sound like his son will probably spend much time worrying about his father, either. Dad didn't set a very good example on caring for the elderly.
I guess my point is that all of this revolves around money and control. Two issues I really don't want to worry about in my twilight years.
What do you think?