"Et Tu, Brute"

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“Et Tu, Brute?” Three short Latin words, with heavy meaning behind them. The phrase translated means, “and you, Brutus?” and it’s a famous, or rather infamous line from William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar. Roman dictator Julius Caesar utters his shock, and his last words, to his dear friend Marcus Junius Brutus as he is assassinated by the last person on earth he ever fathomed to betray him. He is stabbed in the back, literally in this case, by his closest companion. The phrase is used now to signify when someone you love unexpectedly double crosses you. It’s really hard to imagine someone you care about forsaking you at your most vulnerable hour, when there is no one left but those whom you’ve entrusted everything to. Unfortunately, this does happen, and though it’s a heinous thought, and a place we don’t want to ever go in our minds, it’s wise to expect the best, but prepare for the worst. No one should ever be a victim to the cold treachery felt by Caesar in his last moments.

A more modern, but just as utterly despicable, case of betrayal is the case of Janet and William Powers from Fort Myers, Florida. They bought a home in the city where their son was living with the agreed upon expectations that when they could no longer live independently they would move into the mother-in-law suite and they would comfortably live out their remaining years. The couple assigned their son power of attorney and gave him access to their finances. He sold their previous home and the $72,000 dollars was supposed to be used to remodel the mother-in-law suite at the new house, and was meant to be a final income for the parents. Court documents filed with the Lee County Court tell a different story.

The elderly couple’s son, Ryan Powers, wasted away the $72,000 along with his mother’s social security to buy pizza, rent movies and pay his cell phone bill! Not only that, but he left both parents in a nursing home and refused to pay the bill! The disloyalty and deception didn’t end there. When his father died, Ryan Powers neglected to pay the funeral home and he left his dad’s body to rot, unclaimed for 90 days. His body finally was picked up by Lee County and he was cremated at taxpayer expense. Thankfully there was some justice served, and Ryan was found guilty of four first-degree counts of exploitation involving an elderly person. He was sentenced to 20 years in state prison.

The story of the Powers family is a cautionary tale. Janet and William entrusted their money, their safety and their lives into the hands of their own flesh and blood and were still discarded like trash and robbed. When deciding upon a power of attorney, you obviously rule out non-relatives, you rule out anyone who has had past issues with finances, anyone who may hold a grudge against you or even someone else in your family, but, just to be safe, it’s wise to examine even those closest to you. It’s hard to tell what evil some may harbor in their hearts, but if there is even an inkling of doubt, it may be safer to assign such an important job to someone else. It is absolutely imperative you plan out your last days thoughtfully in order to avoid the Judas Kiss, instead, spending your time in comfort, knowing you’re in safe hands. At Layman, D’Atri and Associates, LLC we make it our job to ensure none of our clients ever wind up in a situation such as the case of the Powers, a true Shakespearean tragedy. 

For more information please visit our website, or give us a call. www.laymandatri.com 330-493-8833