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Hi. My situation is kind of a messy one. I'm 33 and I recently relocated to help my grandparents with everything from long term care to daily care to selling their business. I have taken on much more than I care to, but I am taking steps to gradually transition out of so much responsibility. Before you ask, mom and dad are dead, so it's just me and my younger brothers who refuse to help, yet they get at least partially supported by my grandparents, not sure how much though, but I digress.


Long story short, I needed some help dealing with the minutiae of consolidating their bills and debts, getting the proper access and passwords to the credit cards etc that they have only recently neglected to pay due to the onset of dementia. So I asked a brother to help.


Well, he did help in getting this info during a visit and we set up an email address from which to pay all their bills, and also stored here was a master list of any passwords and personal info we might need in the future.


The day he returned home, he changed that password and locked not only me (I am the one taking care of them daily) but my grandparents out of their own banking info etc., and no one can get in touch with him, bills are running out of control and meanwhile our grandparents slip further into senility simply due to the stress of being betrayed and the complexity of regaining control of their finances.


We're getting together next week to talk about it, and my thought is to contact their creditors and bank and have the cards frozen or cancelled and change their bank account, as well as have credit monitoring and alerts activated from all 3 bureaus.


Is this enough? We can't afford to hurt their credit more than a few points, but at the end of the day the fraud has to stop regardless of the cost to their score. Any advice?? Thank you!

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Call the police and report the crime.

Call the 3 major credit bureaus and freeze their credt. Call their banks and cancel their cards.

Do this all now.
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gladimhere Apr 2020
Freeze the accounts NOW! Why would you wait to meet with bro?

Not directed at you Barb, wanted to find a way to place this comment near the top of the responses. This is the only idea I came up with.
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Don’t wait a week. Do it now.
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Also, please ask yourself if their credit score matters anymore.
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gdaughter Apr 2020
I was thinking the same...maybe that is looked at if moving to an assisted living??
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Follow advice of: theexcecutioner, ASAP!
Who has Power of Attorney, get it, ASAP
Contact Elder Abuse

Don’t tell you brother one thing! Too late to meet. Too late to talk.

As a 11 year caregiver for my mom who is 93 I know what it is to have a selfish piss-poor brother. It turns my stomach thinking how greedy and self contained they are. I could write a book about the unseen horrors of this station in life.
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Don't wait another minute, contact the police, the bank, an Elder Law Attorney, in that order. No warning of this to brother. There are laws for this and it will be handled the proper way. They will handle it and advise you. Don't wait another minute.
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1.   I would definitely contact ALL your grandparents' creditors, banks and advise them that there have been some difficulties paying their bills (something to that effect), but DON'T mention your brother.   You don't want them to immediately think "another family squabble."  

2.    Think about this carefully, as I have some doubts, but you might also contact the ISP of the e-mail account and advise that there has been an unauthorized change of password and you are no longer able to access the account.

Success might turn on who actually created that account and pays the bills for it.   If you're paying jointly, your brother presumably wouldn't under the T & C for the account have authority to prevent your access.    If it's his account, you're kind of out of luck on that issue.

3.    Have your grandparents executed any powers of attorney authorizing either of you to make payments?   Or are you making them primarily b/c you're the grandchildren?  I ask b/c of who has legal access to their accounts, i.e., the bank accounts.

That also raises the issue of how the bank accounts are titled: i.e., Grandpa and Grandma, Granddaughter and Grandson, as joint tenants, or your grandparents' names solely?

4.    You might consider sending a cease and desist notice to brother, advising that unless he complies with (a - z and list them), you may be forced to take action against.  Do not specify what action - leave that vague so you're not limited if you have to seek legal help.

5.    I think that depending on the answers to the questions above, you might consider asking the local court to grant an injunction preventing your brother from (a) barring your access to the accounts (b) using any of the funds for his own use  (c) refusal to abide by the terms of the agreements you've worked (problem with this is that they're probably oral, not written agreements).  

Add in something to the effect of preventing your grandparents' funds from being inappropriately used and/or depleted, linking this to an anticipation of financial abuse.

6.    Call the state elder abuse hotline and ask what they can suggest to address financial abuse of elders. 

Unfortunately, so many governmental levels are either operating from home or shut down now, so you may trouble getting advice and/or support.

7.   You raised the issue of "fraud".   Do you have specific documentation?  

8.    I definitely would put fraud alerts on your grandparents' accounts, and on yours, just as a matter of safety.

9.   How exactly are your younger brothers getting support from your grandparents, and/or has this become part of the one brother's fraudulent activities? 


All in all, I think notifying creditors, creating fraud alerts and/or credit freeze, asking for a moratorium on bills, and notifying the banks to put holds on the accounts are the top priorities.

Also, I wouldn't rely too much on getting together next week; if your brother is as sneaky as he appears to be, he could very well find an excuse at "the last minute" not to meet.    He might be just "jerking you around". 
  
And you've already observed that he's not reliable.    Move forward on your own plans and path.
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That is so sad !
But contact the Banks IMMEDIATELY ! Don't wait ! !

Good luck.
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Immediately contact the police. This is criminal activity. I'd also, if funds are available contact a certified elder law attorney. Beware that your brother could be in legal trouble and your family may not want that...You also might want to connect with Adult Protective Services and their local office on aging. Without a POA I don't know that you will have any luck freezing any accounts, but with the police involved maybe they can assist. You might also want to get some guidance from their bank. I would think under the circumstance with explanations added to their credit files which you are allowed to add, their credit will not be hurt..

Just don't wait on this because it sounds like your brother is moving very very quickly to destroy all the assets.
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You should have frozen the accounts as soon as you saw this happening. Don't wait to meet with him.
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willpower: Absolutely DO NOT meet up with brother.
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All good advise, except for one...DO NOT approach brother yourself. Let the authorities do that. Also, chances are very good that he has been at this for quite awile... he probably locked you out to hide his prior misdoings.
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