I’m 30, and living in a different city from the rest of my family. My grandmother, 87, still lives on her own, but I believe she’s in the very early stages of her mental and physical health deteriorating.
She often doesn't remember things, misplaces things, repeats herself, etc.
Years ago, when my grandmother was of sound mind, my parents caught her much younger "friend" stealing from her purse.
My grandmother didn’t want my parents to contact the police. But we seriously suspect the “friend” is still stealing her money.
Recently, a home-care worker informed our family that she thought she saw this person taking money from my grandmother's purse.
Now my parents are more vigilant in keeping track of her finances. They’ve discovered that cheques were written from my grandmother's account in very large amounts (almost $30,000 within a few months).
My grandmother denied any knowledge of whom the cheques were written to and so did a specific family member who also assists my grandmother with her finances.
But it was soon discovered that the cheques were made out to this family member.
Then both my grandmother and this relative "had their memories jogged" and admitted the money was gifted to help pay a large expense.
I don't think it's right that they’re accepting large gifts from someone who’s not in their proper state of mind and I suspect the initial denial proves that this family member knows it’s not right.
There’s now huge turmoil in my usually peaceful family. One parent doesn’t want me to know about the financial situation and my other parent tells me everything that’s going on.
Nobody wants to involve police, which is what I constantly suggest. I even said I’d do so myself but I was talked out of it.
My grandmother’s now accusing my parents of taking a huge sum of money from her account (which absolutely did not happen).
I’m unsure if I’m being too critical of how my grandmother spends her money.
I feel this other family member’s dwindling the inheritance for myself and other relatives (which makes me question my own motive for being so upset, as she still has plenty of money for herself for the remainder of her life.)
Should I continue to speak up or ask my one parent to stop telling me everything?
Inheritance issues can tear a family apart. And elder abuse, financial or otherwise, is ugly and illegal.
For those reasons, urge your parents to ask a lawyer about when they should consider, along with your grandmother’s other children, when to apply for power of attorney (POA) over her finances.
That way, all transactions regarding her accounts would have to be transparent and accountable.
No one relative can be gifted without the approval of the person(s) with POA. Also her will, presumably drawn when she was mentally sound, cannot be changed once she’s found to be deteriorated enough to legally require POA oversight.
Enough money has to be kept available should she eventually need many hours of expensive care-giving help.
Lastly, the “friend” should be dropped, and told he/she’s lucky the police have not yet been informed.
As for your own inheritance, you’re either mentioned in her will directly along with other beneficiaries, or it flows to you through your parents’ generosity, or later in their wills.
Your concerns are valid and significant, not just about inheritance.
Your grandmother needs protection from thieves, scammers, and those who’ll try to influence her purely for their own benefit.
I’m 54, widowed in 2000. My adult son, 35, lives with me.
He was diagnosed with schizophrenia five years ago, treated with monthly injections.
But there are still repetitive incidents of going to the mall, stealing, and using false credit cards, landing him in jail.
This time he's asking me to bail him out so he can seek help. I feel very confused, frustrated, and guilty.
His doctor told me to call his caseworker for an appointment with the mental health association.
Do I have to bail him out? Is this part of his mental illness?
There’s no guilt on your part. He’s living with a serious mental illness, which affects his behaviour and choices.
Talk to the mental health advisor about how to handle your own role, as well as help your son where possible.
You need to know whether he’s serious about seeking help, and what the courts will allow regarding bail.
Tip of the day:
Protect elderly relatives from those with self-interest, even if they’re family members.