Protecting an elderly parent's finances from a second wife's family
My elderly father-in-law (now 92) remarried my mother-in-law's on again/off again friend (now 87) five years ago, up my mother-in-laws passing. Although they had a prenup, non of Dad's family was invited to the wedding, only her daughter and son-in-law were invited to attend.They moved to the town where she lived (90min. away), and remain there to this date.
Dad's short-term memory is going. This once very savvy businessman has said he lets his wife do all the finances because he can't remember anything. He recently told his son, my husband, that he doesn't have any money and he doesn't know where it went--the man has a sizable estate. He has also said he wants his wife taken care of after he dies. Consequently, his wife and her 59 year-old daughter (whose business has been substantially hit by the economy) have been lawyer shopping to have his Trust A changed. They have been turned down by both the daughter's attorney (citing conflict of interest) and Dad's attorney (citing conflict of interest, conflict of the prenup, and conflict from statements Dad had made to his attorney about NOT wanting to change his trust). They are on their third lawyer, who is now asking Dad's lawyer for all of his files.
All of this has left the entire family on edge. Dad's wife has told my son that he is not allowed to talk finances with his father--something they have always done as they were in business together for nearly fifty years. Furthermore, my husband and his father have always been extremely close. Dad even gave my husband his non-springing DPOA three years ago, which as far as we know, hasn't been revoked or replaced.
Needless to say, a legal battle is on the horizon. Dad's attorney is going to talk to the new attorney who is requesting his files.
Dad's wife just the other day told my husband that they revoked the prenup--Dad told my husband that she was handling all of that. Her daughter also emailed us a copy of a letter from Dad's family doctor of five years, telling the lawyer that refused to represent them in changing the trust, that Dad was completely Dementia free, and was completely capable of handling his finances.
Dad is a sweet sweet man, and we are all dreading what lies ahead; however, protecting his estate is paramount to seeing that he has the best care in the best facility should it become necessary to have him placed in one down the road. He has fallen quite a bit lately--resulting in at least one head injury, needs help in the bathroom, and walks with a very pronounced shuffle.
We as his family do believe that his second wife is entitled to something from his estate, regardless of the prenup, but she has received a great deal of money from him already--and they have absolutely NO bills, and they have Tricare Health Insurance. We want to make sure there is enough left for his future care.
I have talked to a criminal investigator in our local DA's office, as well as an Adult Protective Services case worker--both say there are several red flags in this matter which are leaning towards Financial Elder Abuse. The case worker even said (making clear it was not legal advice) that Dad needs conservatorship.
Any suggestions, questions, or comments are appreciated.