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Joseph Yule dies, leaves $18k estate and lessons re: elder abuse p2

Mickey Rooney was still married when he died in early April. He had been separated from his wife for some time, though, and she admitted to the press that she had not seen him for a year. The Hollywood Reporter said that the separation was the result of an agreement the couple signed after he accused her of physical abuse. (Rooney also had a restraining order against her son and daughter-in-law, whom the actor had sued for financial abuse.)

Because Rooney and his wife were still married, though, she had a little leverage when it came to Rooney's last resting place. She immediately clashed with the executor of the actor's estate.

Rooney had requested a military funeral. According to Military.com, he had enlisted in the Army in 1943 and spent World War II doing what he did best: entertaining. Rooney had also asked to be buried in Hollywood Forever Cemetery. His wife wanted him to be buried in Westlake. They had lived there together and had purchased adjacent burial plots.

Rooney's court-appointed conservator announced a couple of days after the actor's death that the two sides had resolved the dispute. The conservator also admitted that he had certain obligations to Rooney's wife, including, apparently, allowing her to attend her husband's funeral.

In his will, Rooney left nothing to his wife. Nor did he leave anything to his eight children. His thinking was simple: His wife would continue to receive his Social Security benefits as well as some income from a pension. His children were doing well on their own; in fact, they were in better financial shape than he was. In the end, he left his entire estate, valued at $18,000, to the stepson that had taken care of him for the last few years of his life. It was a gift, a thank-you for his help.

Of Rooney's many memorable roles, the press focused on one in particular after his death. It was a role that made a lasting contribution to his generation and every generation after that. Rooney testified to Congress in 2011 about the financial and physical abuse he had suffered at the hands of his stepson (his heir's brother) and his wife.

His story put a very famous face on a troubling issue. According to the Elder Justice Coalition, elder abuse victims lose $2.9 billion to their abusers every year. When you add in the $5 billion in medical costs associated with elder abuse, the loss to the victims and the rest of us is staggering.

Sources: 

CNBC, "The 'double life' of Mickey Rooney," Ed Gjertsen II, April 10, 2014

ABC News, "Rooney's Estate Goes to Stepson Who Was Caretaker," Anthony Mccartney (Associated Press), April 8, 2014

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