Cognitive impairment can set your aging parent up for financial manipulation by anyone. In your loved one's long-term relationship with an unmarried partner, it can be hard for families to spot. Maybe things were okay for a long time. When it changes, you, the adult child will need to assert your right to know what’s going on. You may need to use the law to protect your aging parent.
Here’s a real case, unfortunately similar to other cases we see at AgingParents.com.
The Red Flag Warnings of Abuse
In this case, we have an impaired Mom, Liz, with dementia. She has not seen a doctor to assess her mental decline because her freeloader boyfriend, Ralph, won’t allow her to go to the doctor. Red flag #1!
Red flag #2 happens when her son, Jake, ever caring but easily intimidated, tries to visit Mom on Mother’s Day. Evil boyfriend won’t let him in the house. Jake backs off. He doesn’t know how to handle this!
Red flag #3 Son, Jake gets a call from the bank where Liz’s investments are kept. They report that Ralph tried to coach Liz into asking the bank to withdraw a very large amount in cash. They were suspicious and stopped the transaction. Then they froze the account. That helped.
Red flag #4 Jake tries to take Liz to the doctor for another appointment to get her checked out for memory and ability to manage. When Jake showed up at the house, Ralph got extremely belligerent and threatened to shoot Jake! Ralph called the police but they did nothing to help Ralph when they showed up. They sided with Jake but he had no paperwork to show them, that he had authority over Liz, his mother.
Jake called AgingParents.com for advice, in desperation. We advised him to immediately get his legal paperwork in order and provide it to the police. He is Liz’s trustee, appointed as her Power of Attorney and appointed as her healthcare agent as well. But he had never exercised any authority with all of these legal powers. We coached him with a strategy of how to do it and what steps to take.
Jake can also take his legal paperwork to the bank and assume control over the finances. In looking at bank records, he finds that Ralph has been siphoning off cash for a long time, and it has disappeared from of Liz’s account. He is a thief.
Jake now has the strategy offered by AgingParents.com to get Ralph out of the house. Ralph will first be asked to do so, but will likely refuse. After all, he’s been living for free off Liz for years and he sees no reason to give up the gravy train. We will guide Jake to hire our recommended legal counsel to ask the court to order that Ralph move out immediately. This will be based on his provable financial abuse, depriving Liz of necessary medical care, and threatening bodily harm to Jake, among other things. In Liz’s state, there is solid law to protect a vulnerable person like her from continued abuse by her boyfriend. Meanwhile, she is so impaired that when Jake asked her if she lives with anyone, she says she doesn’t remember. Her dementia is advanced. It is very helpful that when she was in her right mind, she had excellent estate planning from a competent attorney.
- If you are a family member getting concerned about a live-in friend of your aging parent who appears to be isolating your loved one and taking financial advantage, get your legal paperwork in order right away. If you are appointed by your aging parent with legal authority, you can exercise that power against an abuser.
- If your aging parent shows signs of increasing memory loss, take it seriously. This is a progressive condition that makes your loved one a sitting duck for anyone to steal, manipulate or otherwise take advantage of him or her.
- Do not be intimidated by an aggressive resistant “friend” of your aging loved one. With appropriate legal authority, and the assistance of law enforcement, Adult Protective Services and a skilled civil attorney in your parent’s area, you can put a stop to manipulation and theft!
For those in any similar situation, you can get strategy with compassion at AgingParents.com. Make an introductory call request today at 866-962-4464 and learn your choices for what to do to protect your loved ones.