New York bill aims to stop elder abusers from gaining estate benefits

New York State

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Lawmakers are calling it an issue affecting a lot of our aging population, at home and across the nation. A new state bill introduced is designed to help protect the estate of senior citizens after they pass away from those who might have abused them.

Currently, if a resident in New York dies without leaving a will, their estate passes to their next of kin, even if that next of kin has been convicted of elder abuse. With a rapidly aging population in the region, lawmakers are calling this a big step in protecting them. 

Senator Samra Brouk says this bill will help prevent an elderly person’s estate from falling into the hands of those convicted of elder abuse against them. 

“It is a common-sense piece of legislation that will simply protect an elder’s estate from their abuser,” Brouk said.

She says abuse can take various forms. “It can be physical abuse, it can be sexual, it can be emotional, it can be active or passive neglect,” also financial exploitation.

Brouk is partnering on this legislation with Assemblyman Harry Bronson. “One in ten elderly individuals suffer from some form of abuse,” Bronson said.

Bronson believes this bill is aligned with other laws out there. The goal, to not reward an individual for abuse. “And to also create a deterrent,” Bronson said.

Debra Kostiw has worked in senior health care for over a decade. Her mother, she says — also the victim of abuse when she had Alzheimer’s and was eventually killed. Today she says, makes her proud. 

“New York should be leading the way. I’m grateful for the work Senator Brouk is doing,” Kostiw said.

Brouk says while this isn’t law yet — she hopes this will make a big difference. “I look forward to working with my colleague Assemblymember Harry Bronson as we move this forward,” Brouk said.

Both bills have been introduced into both houses in Albany. Senator Brouk’s office says it’s impossible to say when this will be voted on, but Brouk is hoping to pass it ‘expeditiously. 

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