Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Form of Elder Abuse Difficult to Stop: When They Don't Want Your Help

Happy_Old_Man1Recently, mediator Carolyn Rosenblatt, wrote a tragic story about an elderly man who was being taken advantage of by two women. Arthur is 78 and was living alone after his wife died a few years earlier. Feeling lonely, Arthur began hiring prostitutes and other women to keep him company. However, these women saw that Arthur's health was on the decline and saw an opportunity to exploit Arthur for his money. Arthur's two sons began to notice this troubling situation. Worried that the women were going to try to con all of Arthur's money away from him, Greg, one of his sons, secured a durable power of attorney, which permitted Greg to track and manage Arthur's spending. The power of attorney also transferred the title of Arthur's home to Greg.

 Shortly after the durable power of attorney was signed, the situation took a turn for the worse. Arthur moved in two women into the family home and began taking out large withdrawals from his accounts. Greg reported the situation to Adult Protective Services who then interviewed Arthur. The problem is that Arthur has early stages of dementia which means he can be easily manipulated. Arthur told protective services that the two women were his friends. Nothing came out of the complaint and Arthur continued to support them. Arthur then hired an attorney and revoked the durable power of attorney.

Now, the two sons are faced with a dilemma they can either get conservatorship over their father, or let him do what he wants. The sad reality is Arthur believes that the people taking advantage of him are his friends. Could this have been prevented? Perhaps if the boys had hired Arthur some help earlier on he would not have felt as lonely. Another alternative would have been to get Arthur to voluntarily his conservator over his finances only when Arthur did not resist Greg.

See Carolyn Rosenblatt Look Who's Moving In With Your Aging Parent, Forbes, Sep. 30, 2013.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.


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