My husband has been taking financial advantage of my 89-year-old mother for nearly 15 years. When she moved into a senior community in 2005, we moved into her house as newlywed renters, paying a fraction of the market rate; it was purely a short-term arrangement. But one year became two, two became three, and on and on it went, despite my objections. Not only was my mother not being paid a fair rent, but in 2017 I learned that my husband stopped paying rent entirely many years earlier, and that my mother has had to deplete her savings to cover her own expenses. Her only income has been social security and a small monthly annuity payment. In keeping with the situation, the house has slid into deplorable condition due to huge deferred maintenance issues. There's more: in 2006 my husband convinced my mother to take out a $50,000 home equity loan so that he could pay down credit card debt, and over the years he would frequently ask her for smaller personal loans as tide-overs to the next paycheck. He always claimed to be on the brink of a financial/professional breakthrough (he's a scholar/university lecturer) and for a long time I believed he would eventually make things right. But that was a forlorn optimism. I've confronted him numerous times about these matters but he invariably becomes defensive, dismissive, tries to shift blame onto me, makes a swift exit.
My mother now has advanced dementia. In January I was shocked to learn that my husband is 1) successor trustee of her trust and 2) a 40% beneficiary of her trust. I can only imagine that he exerted major undue influence on her while the trust was being set up. In fact, he accompanied her to the meetings with the estate planning attorney. We had only been married a year at that time and my mother knew him only on a surface level.
I've been actively distressed about the exploitation for the past three years but lacked the confidence and courage to expose it. My husband has a strong support network of friends and colleagues and would be an unpleasant opponent. I'm an only child with no other living relatives to turn to. I no longer have funds of my own to afford an attorney. I sent the estate lawyer a letter asking for help but she refuses to get involved. I don't know a way forward.