Annie's Mailbox: Con artist sibling taking advantage of ill father
Dear Annie: Do you have any suggestions for dealing with a con artist sibling who swoops into town only to beg, borrow and steal from our dying, incapacitated father?
My brother makes more than anyone else in the family, yet feels entitled to squeeze all he can out of Dad. He constantly asks for business loans, cars and college tuitions for his children, mortgage payments on a multimillion-dollar home, money for his family to travel, etc. In addition to suffering multiple physical illnesses, my father is losing his cognitive abilities. He is being scammed and bamboozled in every conversation he has with my brother and his wife. The rest of the family knows they are both manipulators.
I realize that it’s Dad’s money to do with as he pleases, but he has made it perfectly clear that he wants everything divided equally between all of his children, as stated in his will. And I think my brother is already taking all of the heirloom items from the family home whenever he drops into town.
All of my other siblings are retired and live out of state. As the only local child, I provide Dad’s care while working full-time. All of the siblings share power of attorney. We previously shared estate executorship, but my brother escorted Dad to his attorney and had it changed, making himself sole executor.
My brother does not know that Dad showed me a copy of an IOU for a large loan for a startup business. Dad wanted us to know that it needs to be paid back to the estate, but he expects the siblings to collect. This will create a lot more anger and resentment. Should I contact my dad’s attorney now, wait until after Dad’s death, or cut all ties with the thieves? – Flabbergasted Sibling
Dear Flabbergasted: Taking advantage of a parent financially is called elder abuse. Talk to Dad’s lawyer now. Find out if the power of attorney gives you any leverage. Discuss with your other siblings the idea of removing valuable items from Dad’s home. You can report your brother to Adult Protective Services, and you also can get more information through the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder