Aunt and Uncle taking my father’s money

Q: I took great care of my parents my entire life. My Mother recently passed. I am being kept away from my 87 year old father. He suffers from dementia. My Aunt & Uncle are controlling Dad for their financial gain. They are taking his money and acquiring assets. They took him to make a new will with their attorney. (Baldwin Twp., PA)

A: If you feel they are exerting undue influence on him, or he is incompetent to manage his own affairs, you could see a local attorney about petitioning the court to become his guardian. As a child, you would qualify, with other siblings if there any, to be a guardian. On the financial management side, your dad can do, or allow others to do, pretty much whatever he wants, irrespective of whether and to whom he has provided powers of attorney. This is true even if the results are adverse to his interests or to the interests of his children. You can attempt to involve the police or elder protective services, but it is generally hard for them to take action where the senior cannot lucidly express an objection. The most common course of action is to seek a guardianship with the probate court. The guardianship supercedes your father’s right to manage his own affairs, including others doing so with his permission or using a POA, and the guardian has the right to sue or pursue charges if money has been stolen. Ideally, you want to request that you be the conservator, but if there is significant friction the court may elect to appoint an independent conservator, usually a probate attorney. In general, courts do not take kindly to elder fraud, but non-appointment is a risk to consider.

Sister is stealing from my mother


Q: My sister is being investigated for elder abuse on my mother and I am wondering if her employer is liable for her actions? So my sister was able to get a healthcare position with a local healthcare firm in which she is able to be my mom’s personal healthcare attendant. Now over the last month it has come to the forefront my sister has been stealing personal checks from my mother which caused a huge financial strain on my mom. The company is still allowing my sister to go to my mom’s home which has my mom terrified that she is going to steal again. Is her employer liable for her stealing since my sister is their employee and they haven’t removed her from my mom’s case?

A: An employer is generally liable for the actions of an employee, but not always. If the employer is aware of the wrongdoing of the employee and allows her to continue to be employed, liability against them is even better. However, your case is complicated by the familial relationship and can be further complicated if mother has competency issues. If mom is telling you that your sister is stealing from her but denying it to the employer, the situation gets more complicated and their liability decreases. If you really believe this is happening, you should put it in writing to the employer, or file a claim with them or whatever complaint procedure they have in place.