Elder Financial Abuse

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
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defscott627
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Elder Financial Abuse

Post by defscott627 »

My mom's uncle is 90 years old. He has quite a high net worth, with my mother, my uncle, my aunt, and my grandmother (who is 95 but he insisted she be a beneficiary) as the four beneficiaries of his money. He has his will and trust written up, etc.

There is a woman who is aware of his wealth and used to live in his old building. She is approximately 50 years younger than him and she writes him letters with provocative messages, inappropriate photographs, and other delusions, such as her being in love with him etc. My mom's uncle eats these right up, and we are starting to believe he thinks he is in a legitimate relationship with this woman, which I suppose is always possible, but let's assume for a minute that it isn't.

My mom helped clean his apartment the other day (because he was living in a borderline hoarder-situation, and his condo president insisted that it be cleaned or they will take legal action to remove him from the building). While cleaning, she found written messages from this woman (which she took a picture of) that state grossly false accusations, such as "your family is trying to put you in a nursing home and take all of your money." Another letter said "call this attorney at XXX-XXX-XXXX because he has written a new trust document up that will supersede the one you have with your family." We believe he has given this woman close to $250,000 over the past 6 months.

My question is - what do we do? My mother is medical power-of-attorney, but not financial power-of-attorney. She is afraid to approach my uncle, who doesn't seem to be in his 100% right mind. At the same time, as his family, we are the ones that are supposed to be protecting him from potential elder abuse.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Elder Financial Abuse

Post by ResearchMed »

Contact the local "Elder Care" group at the appropriate city or state level, for starters.

And perhaps an attorney to review the photos of those messages, etc.

The wording of those messages don't seem - to a totally uninformed stranger (me!) - to be from someone who is in love...

Do any of you interact with him often enough to have an opinion about whether he is still competent?
This is not necessarily the same as being taken advantage of, but if he's likely no longer competent, that might make the situation more clear/easier, etc.

Good luck.

RM
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Topic Author
defscott627
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Re: Elder Financial Abuse

Post by defscott627 »

ResearchMed wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 2:17 pm Contact the local "Elder Care" group at the appropriate city or state level, for starters.

And perhaps an attorney to review the photos of those messages, etc.

The wording of those messages don't seem - to a totally uninformed stranger (me!) - to be from someone who is in love...

Do any of you interact with him often enough to have an opinion about whether he is still competent?
This is not necessarily the same as being taken advantage of, but if he's likely no longer competent, that might make the situation more clear/easier, etc.

Good luck.

RM
Yes my mom is with him daily. He seems competent enough to hold a conversation and his memory is still there, but yet his apartment became a disaster with papers all over the floor that he considers "important." I'm not exaggerating; if you google "hoarders" you will see an example of what his apartment looked like. Food all over the floor, mold growing around sinks and bathtubs and toilets, nowhere to even step on the floor. Additionally, the fact that he continues the 'relationship' with this woman is certainly a testament to his decision-making abilities. However, I am not sure we are confident a medical doctor would say he is incapacitated. My 95-year-old grandmother feels that he is just blinded by the fact that someone is showing interest in him at 90 years old.
Last edited by defscott627 on Tue Jan 12, 2021 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Humility101
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Re: Elder Financial Abuse

Post by Humility101 »

Sorry to hear about this. I would also conduct research on the open internet of social media sites to determine if the individual is displaying photos kissing other men or stating she is in a relationship with someone. This will help establish further evidence that she is not “in love” and is taking advantage of him. It may also be in your family’s best interest to ensure that the will has not been modified and to determine if their has been any electronic correspondence between them.

Also wanted to add do some open sourcs research on the “attorney” as it may just be an accomplice. Check the address, phone number, social media. It could be a team effort.

Good Luck,

Humility101
Topic Author
defscott627
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Re: Elder Financial Abuse

Post by defscott627 »

Humility101 wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 2:29 pm Sorry to hear about this. I would also conduct research on the open internet of social media sites to determine if the individual is displaying photos kissing other men or stating she is in a relationship with someone. This will help establish further evidence that she is not “in love” and is taking advantage of him. It may also be in your family’s best interest to ensure that the will has not been modified and to determine if their has been any electronic correspondence between them.

Good Luck,

Humility101
My mom spoke to the estate attorney (who is also the estate attorney for other members of my family). No one has contacted him to amend anything, but he said something to my mom that if there is another attorney contacted and they set something up, it could supersede the trust they have in place?
BogleFan510
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Re: Elder Financial Abuse

Post by BogleFan510 »

Out of the box idea. If he is open to the idea, hire a full time or semi-full time caregiver from a trusted agency to do cleaning and assist him. Ask the caregiver to look out for letters and contacts from this person. He may just be lonely and having someone nice to talk with would help. As your employee, the caregiver would take your direction and have certain obligations of care.
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defscott627
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Re: Elder Financial Abuse

Post by defscott627 »

BogleFan510 wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 2:36 pm Out of the box idea. If he is open to the idea, hire a full time or semi-full time caregiver from a trusted agency to do cleaning and assist him. Ask the caregiver to look out for letters and contacts from this person. He may just be lonely and having someone nice to talk with would help. As your employee, the caregiver would take your direction and have certain obligations of care.
My mom did just get him a 24/7 aid because the doctor said he needed one. He actually has long-term care that he paid for (basically infinite) so my mom called the company and got that set up. I'm not sure if they would be considered my mother's employee though at that point. My mom handles all of his mail (with his permission) so she would see any written correspondence. Phone calls, however, she wouldn't.
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cheese_breath
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Re: Elder Financial Abuse

Post by cheese_breath »

defscott627 wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 2:26 pm ...I am not sure we are confident a medical doctor would say he is incapacitated....
Hope this doesn't intrude into the medical advice area, but perhaps a clinical psychologist would be more appropriate than a medical doctor.
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galawdawg
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Re: Elder Financial Abuse

Post by galawdawg »

defscott627 wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 2:12 pm We believe he has given this woman close to $250,000 over the past 6 months.
What makes you and/or your family believe this? Has anyone seen financial statements, checks or other evidence that this has occurred? Does your mother's uncle have a financial power-of-attorney or does he handle his own finances?

I agree that your mother should consult with an attorney who is experienced in this area, that may or may not be the estate planning attorney. If there is some evidence to support this belief that your mother's uncle gave this woman $250,000 in the past six months and that it occurred as a result of threats, coercion, fraud or undue influence, then law enforcement in the jurisdiction where your mother's uncle resides should be contacted.

Be aware that having an in-home caregiver does not protect him from financial exploitation. Unfortunately in my career I prosecuted a shocking number of home health care workers who engaged in such acts.
PoppyA
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Re: Elder Financial Abuse

Post by PoppyA »

Sorry you are going through this. IMHO someone needs to ask him about this, & video the conversation. Maybe it could be approached like this....”hey Uncle Joe, are you aware that older people are targets of.......? Do you have any friends you are concerned might be a target of....? What would you advise your friends/families to do......?
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NewMoneyMustBeSmart
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Re: Elder Financial Abuse

Post by NewMoneyMustBeSmart »

Why do you call this elder abuse?

Nowhere in your post do you suggest he is not of sound mind.

That he may think with his smaller mind is not abuse. Good on him for having a lady friend. I'd be proud of my elders for giving money to someone that made him/her happy.

You might assert fraud, or illegal transactions, or undue influence, or disagreement with his choices, but unless he is lacking faculties, it's not apparent this approaches abuse.
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arcticpineapplecorp.
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Re: Elder Financial Abuse

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. »

NewMoneyMustBeSmart wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:14 pm Nowhere in your post do you suggest he is not of sound mind.
hoarding, especially in the case of the elderly, is an indication of cognitive decline:
Hoarding for a person with dementia may be more likely to happen in the early and middle stages of dementia and often stems from trying to have some control in their lives.

source: https://www.google.com/search?client=fi ... f+dementia
if you worked with the elderly, you'd understand how common this is.

and the cases of elder abuse generally are on the rise, especially during times of economic difficulty.

I'd notify the police in addition to your area office on aging. this woman could be doing this with others as well.

you may have to get proof from a doctor regarding when the cognitive decline began. otherwise, the area office of aging will likely say he gave the money voluntarily.

i've seen this so many times, but it's always heartbreaking every time I see it.

you'll need to get POA if you didn't or guardianship, possibly. do talk to an elder law attorney.
Last edited by arcticpineapplecorp. on Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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JoeRetire
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Re: Elder Financial Abuse

Post by JoeRetire »

defscott627 wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 2:12 pm My question is - what do we do? My mother is medical power-of-attorney, but not financial power-of-attorney. She is afraid to approach my uncle, who doesn't seem to be in his 100% right mind. At the same time, as his family, we are the ones that are supposed to be protecting him from potential elder abuse.
Talk with an attorney that specializes in elder law. If he's not in his right mind, someone needs to step in now.
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hi_there
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Re: Elder Financial Abuse

Post by hi_there »

Do private investigators appear in real life? Perhaps it is worth consulting with someone experienced in digging out people's backgrounds under such circumstances, since I am sure this sort of alleged abuse is not uncommon.
mptfan
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Re: Elder Financial Abuse

Post by mptfan »

NewMoneyMustBeSmart wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:14 pm Why do you call this elder abuse?

Nowhere in your post do you suggest he is not of sound mind.
That was my reaction as well. There is a fine line between elder abuse and a wealthy old man voluntarily giving his money to a young woman because he "enjoys" her company. It's possible that he is of sound mind and he knows exactly what he is doing.
aristotelian
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Re: Elder Financial Abuse

Post by aristotelian »

IMO not communicating with the uncle is not good. There is a way that they could express concern about him being hypothetically taken advantage of without insinuating any ill intentions of the neighbor woman. Could just be about his general state of mind and you wouldn't even have to get into anything about the neighbor woman. Why not ask him straight up if he would trust her to give her financial power of attorney along with medical? If he is unwilling, it is going to be very hard to prevent him from giving away his money as he is well within his rights to fall in love and mismanage his affairs.
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yangtui
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Re: Elder Financial Abuse

Post by yangtui »

You should hire an even more attractive and charming young woman to seduce your great uncle. Seriously though, I would talk to an elder abuse attorney to see what your options are.
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defscott627
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Re: Elder Financial Abuse

Post by defscott627 »

mptfan wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:58 pm
NewMoneyMustBeSmart wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:14 pm Why do you call this elder abuse?

Nowhere in your post do you suggest he is not of sound mind.
That was my reaction as well. There is a fine line between elder abuse and a wealthy old man voluntarily giving his money to a young woman because he "enjoys" her company. It's possible that he is of sound mind and he knows exactly what he is doing.
Trying to convince him that his family doesn’t have his best interests in mind and that he should change his trust to include her and exclude them? Something tells me if someone did that to one of your relatives, one of your parents perhaps, you wouldn’t ignore your suspicions.
jimmy2040
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Re: Elder Financial Abuse

Post by jimmy2040 »

what about a trip to somewhere else with lots of cute ladies? but the key is to shut down the communications while giving your uncle entertainment he wants.
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Re: Elder Financial Abuse

Post by Fallible »

Sorry if I missed this, but has any family member talked to the woman about the concerns?
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mptfan
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Re: Elder Financial Abuse

Post by mptfan »

defscott627 wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 5:26 pmSomething tells me if someone did that to one of your relatives, one of your parents perhaps, you wouldn’t ignore your suspicions.
I did not suggest that anyone should ignore their suspicions, but it should not come as a surprise to you that there are two sides to every story and we are only getting one side. We are not even getting one side of the story, we are getting a second hand account of one side of the story. Even the OP acknowledged that it was possible the rich uncle was in a legitimate relationship with this woman.
jimmy2040
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Re: Elder Financial Abuse

Post by jimmy2040 »

my friend went through a step mom vs 3 step son situation.

the step mom managed to tell the rich dad to give her everything and change the will right before he died so the 3 sons got nothing.
tomsense76
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Re: Elder Financial Abuse

Post by tomsense76 »

Sorry to hear this. If this lady is trying to take advantage of your great uncle, it would cause me to wonder if this lady has a track record of this behavior. It might be worth doing a little digging to figure out who you are dealing with. IOW does she have a criminal record? What do public record show?
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Equitius
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Re: Elder Financial Abuse

Post by Equitius »

As my paternal grandfather used to say, "There's no fool like an old fool."

Good luck.
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Re: Elder Financial Abuse

Post by Flyer24 »

I removed a post suggesting spying on a family member which is improper advice along with several responses. The OP needs to consult with an appropriate attorney for the best legal advice with this situation. Legal questions relating to possible criminal activity is beyond the scope of this forum. Thread remains locked.
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