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Is ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ author a victim of elder abuse?

Last month, book lovers throughout the world celebrated when it was revealed that Harper Lee, the author of one of the most beloved books of all time, would be releasing a second novel.

Lee, who is now in her late 80s, wrote a follow-up to “To Kill a Mockingbird” more than fifty years ago, and HarperCollins announced last month that it would be publishing the work.

However, almost immediately the excitement over the anticipated book changed to concern for Lee after it was suggested by people close to her that Lee lacks the mental capacity to consent to the novel being release.

Lee reportedly had a stroke in 2007 and currently resides in assisted living facility in Monroeville, Alabama. While some of her close friends and family members say that Lee is still perfectly capable of making decisions for herself, others expressed worry that Lee could be the victim of elder abuse.

The state of Alabama intervened several weeks ago after receiving an anonymous complaint. Investigators from the Alabama Securities Commission, which works to prevent financial fraud against the elderly, were sent to interview Lee and others.

This week, it was reported that state officials determined that Lee does, in fact, want to publish the book and has the mental capacity to make the decision for herself.

A spokesman for the Securities Commission said the investigation is now closed; however, he added that it could be re-opened at a later date if new information surfaces.

Ultimately, financial abuse involving the elderly is something that occurs far too often throughout the country. Individuals who have had successful careers or have meticulously saved and planned for their futures can be especially vulnerable to financial abuse as they age.

Read more about financial abuse involving the elderly on our website, including some examples of situations in which our firm has assisted victims of financial abuse in the past.

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