Yesterday I learned that good ole Mom wants to sell her home, which is secure in our family trust, and take the proceeds and either buy a different home or condo, or, build a "granny's room" on the side of my sister's house. My wife and I are moving out of state in the next several months and Mom doesn't want to move to where we're moving, she said she'll never live in our future State. So she's thinking about moving 50 miles or so away in a new living arrangement with my sister and her husband in a room she plans to build next to my sister's house.

Our problem with all of this is that we have a couple of real difficulties: 1) If she sells her house, which is my sisters and my only inheritance, then it seems that the family trust will no longer be valid or needed in reference to this house. 2) During the past 10 years or so she has been scammed out of at least $$90,000 (or more) from telephone scammers and phony foreign lottery schemes. Just 6 months ago she let a door to door sellsman con her into painting her house for $20,000! She even had to go to the bank to get a loan to pay him! Since she shares nothing with us about her finances or bank accounts, we're always in the dark about her secret get-rich-quick losses to persons unknown until she loses the money and then gripes and groans to us about the dirty rotten scoundrels who robbed her, but good! Gripe, gripe, gripe. It's ALL their fault, you know. She's just an innocent victim of it all.

I'm afraid if she sells her home, which is worth today around $400-$450k on the market, that she'll keep the sale secret and will squander or be scammed of a vast majority of the money within 40 days or so. I'm sure it will "burn a hole in her pocket." And since seniors have the legal protections today to do as they please, we children feel we're about to be scammed from our inheritance that Mom and Dad set up some 25 years ago when Dad was alive and they both were somewhat in their right minds.

A couple of years ago her regular MD wanted her to go for a psychiatric evaluation, but she wasn't going to have any part of it and refused to go. She insisted she's normal and is living a normal life. But all she does is watch TV, write e-mail to her friends and some relatives, and dreams of striking it rich someday with her various gambling attempts from the con artists who write her or call her with their sure-fire get rich quick schemes. She's ALWAYS bringing something over to us to tell us that this plan is the one we need to strike it rich. This happens at least once a week.

What should we kids do to fight this complex problem with our VERY independent Mom? Have we any recourse? Must we go to court and legally take control of her legal and financial affairs? We probably could do it, but she'll only go "kicking and screaming" about it and will threaten to cut us out of her will if we do!

Frankly, if she sells the house and squanders away her money, I'm just about ready to tell her, "We'll help you with groceries and the like, but otherwise, we just going to live our own lives and just keep to ourselves. You've made your decisions about your resources and money, so, good luck and God bless."

I know that sounds harsh, but why should we help her if she becomes just a poor as she and her family were during the Depression?


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My friend got guardinship for her husband years ago and she said it was not hard to do-an elder lawyer should be able to do it easily
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Sandfox has very good comments. First see a lawyer and see what sort of trust she has and if she can really do anything. Then see about getting guardianship of her if you feel she is incompetent. This will be very difficult, it will cost money, and she loses all her rights. So the courts take this very seriously. However, this could be the best thing for you to do.

If she has always been this way, then good luck. You want to preserve her home and it is not selfish to keep a scam artists from getting what is her's and possibly her chidren's. They certainly don't deserve it.
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I agree with Sandfox. There are some families that care more about the inheritance than about the parent, but I don't think that should be assumed when children want to intervene because a parent is being taken advantage of and continually making bad financial decisions.

I don't think there is anything wrong with having respect for what money can provide for our security and our children's security. Nevertheless, it's a thorny issue that is hard to address head on because concerns can be misconstrued.

My parents had/have no money, so this is not a topic in our family. Their children have kept them afloat financially and my husband and I have taken care of them physically for the past 6 plus years.

Nevertheless, if they had accumulated a fair amount of savings and there was a legal way of me preventing thieves and scammers from helping themselves to it, I'd be right there to put a stop to it.
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quote: "Must we go to court and legally take control of her legal and financial affairs?"---answer: Yes.
Your Mom is losing her judgement. I have been through a similar situation with my mother. She too, is very independent, but seems to have a little more sense financially since she long ago wrote a will and gave me durable power of attorney. But, she was using seriously bad judgement about financial affairs. $20,000 her and thousands there. It added up to alot! My sister and I were getting very concerned that she'd just blow through all her bucks and find herself with nothing. I had to watch her carefully when she made phone calls or answered phone calls since she fell for the scams, etc. It's hard. Fortunately, I was able to get through to her and tell her that she's using bad judgement and she's being taken to the cleaners by many people. She was offended. I let her think about it for a while, and she finally decided that I was right; she was being taken advantage of. Some sales people found out she had bucks, made a sale in the 5 figure thousands, and kept coming back after that initial sale trying to sell more stuff she clearly didn't need. I finally had to step in, call the company and tell them that if they don't stop calling her that I'll send an attorney to talk to them. That problem stopped. All of this is just for you to see that our situation is similar.
You do need to step in a put a stop to this. See an attorney who deals in elder issues and legalities. They are used to dealing with these situatins and can tell you what actions to take.
Someone was concerned about her throwing the money away and the kids having nothing left to inherit. Selfishness? In some cases, this is true. However, there is also the issue that the family cares and doesn't want to see Mom blow her bucks and end up out on the street because some unethical people scammed her out of her bucks. The family cares.
True that it's her money. But when elders obviously lose their judgement, you have the responsibility to step in help them. They are wide open for the predators out there waiting for these seniors to enter their trap. Remember, senior targeting and scamming is a serious and ongoing problem. You need to protect her from the predators.
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I do not know how she can sell a house that is in trust-mine is and I would no more sell it then run away with the mailman-you need to see an elder lawyer asap and maybe get guardinship-maybe your sister does not remember that the house is in trust-buy her grocries-no way let her go to a food pantry-after losing so much money you would think she has dementia-could you tell her she has to be evaluated by a doc for dementia or not to keep coming to you for her problems-your Dad must have wanted the house to be in trust for you kids. If you are able will you let us know how this goes because we learn from each other on this site.
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LBMac1 - I know that you want your Mom to take care of herself with the funds that she has. You didn't say how old she is and maybe she has dementia. Of course, no one will know until you get her to her doctor and, hopefully you will, to get her evaluation. Until she is diagnosed with dementia and, I think it has to be seen by 2 doctors there isn't much to can do. I know this is hard for you to see your Mom doing what she is doing but it is HER money and if she wants to squander it that is her business. I feel from your post that you and your sister are more interested in getting what would be left of her money, if any, than her welfare. Sorry but that is how I interpret your post. So, as you said good luck and God bless.
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