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I am nearly at my wit’s end. My grandmother just went into a high-risk surgery at 97, and literally wrote a check for $5,000 to a so-called friend in her life for about 15 years. This man is about 65 and is gay and is married, and my personal feeling is they have been sucking up to my grandparents for several years, so much so that they have included them in their trust. It started out as a $5000 bond account about ten years ago. My grandfather died five years ago and she’s been adding more and more money since the couple help her live independently. It’s now up to $75K plus a $25K vehicle.
She just wrote another check on the bond account for $5K literally an hour before she went into a high risk surgery for a hip fracture.

The couple and I tolerate each other since she is my elder’s friend and they do “help” her. They are not really my friends, and when I start to ask questions, the one who got the check gets pissy with me. He knows I’m always watching things. I am my grandmother’s closest relative since everyone else in family is deceased. A 1/2 brother is nonexistent given family dysfunction which I feel the guys manipulate. My grandmother says she “depends on them” but doesn’t want to bother me with some chores since I’m out of town.

My concern is this couple is abusing their so-called friendship and exploiting her for more and more money. Why do 60+ year gay men strike up relationships with people who are 30 years older? Seems very odd to me.

I am joint owner on her checking account and have POA in financial matters in her health is incapacitated. What are my rights and how can I intervene with these guys milking her $$$ preying upon her in her times of need?! I don’t trust these guys.

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If grandmother is going into a rehab she won't need to keep her chequebook with her, in fact it would be foolish to have anything of value in any facility. Tell her you'll hold onto it for her until she is ready to come home.
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GardenArtist,
My GM controls everything, very manipulative too. I see transactions in the joint checking. She tells me what expenses are paid. The gay guy helps her write checks on her behalf which she signs. She keeps me informed,
All her assets are in trust.
I am also listed as owner on joint checking, and that is only checking for which I am concerned.

My real concern is she’s going to be going through rehab on drugs, debilitating CHF, just came off Hospice, on morphine as needed for chest pain and palpitations, and these two guys sucking up to her while she has access to her checkbook.
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My GM relies on them for friendship and errands and they enmesh themselves into her life so much that she depends upon them, that she doesn’t utilize other services. They are all too happy to help her. They have ingratiated themselves. I have watched this, and she knows I don’t approve, that I have offered and discussed other services, free services. I help her, neighbors help her, friends help her, etc. I have nothing against gay guys, I am a liberal at heart. In fact my grandmother is quite conservative and took awhile to accepting gays. She is Catholic.

I see these guys, particularly the one really turning it on, in her times of emotional need, placating her, and with her coming out of this surgery, this situation can become even worse.
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CW raises some interesting points. Perhaps it behooves you to do some more investigation, and at least explore becoming more involved in her life, but also explore the legal angle as well.
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You're becoming aware of the financial transactions b/c you monitor her account, right?

I assume GM isn't getting any other help. Have you considered finding a private duty company to help her, so care and compensation would at least be "above board"? Granted, it's not that easy to find reliable caregivers, but it's worth a try.

Does GM document anything this couple does for her? Have they explained to you what they do?

Could you explain " literally wrote a check for $5,000" - did she write it or didn't she?

Could you also clarify: "so much so that they have included them in their trust. " Who included who? GM included them, or they included GM? (It's hard to know b/c of the plural "they" in the sentence.

Has the bank contacted you about these transactions? Have you discussed with them putting holds on transactions over certain amounts? I don't know if your GM's bank would do this, but it's worth a try.

Beyond that, I concur with FF; get an attorney familiar with financial abuse of elders, as I suspect that this couple may be skilled in manipulation and have numerous excuses and "justifications" up their collective sleeves.

In the meantime, do you have another account that you can use for payments, while asking the bank to freeze the existing account?

I think I would also check any other liquid assets she has, such as stocks or IRAs to see if they've been drained as well. And order a credit report as well.
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Though they may be the scammers you perceive them to be there could be another explanation. Perhaps she is accepting of them and their relationship in a way that their own families are not so they see her as a substitute mother/grandmother figure. Since you are the only one of her natural family left if these men weren't there for your grandmother who would be? And if they have become a surrogate family of the heart to her - and caregivers as well - then I can't fault her for including them as recipients of her estate.
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Yes, I suspect that.
My concern is she’s going to make it out of surgery ok, but rehab is going to be very difficult, and the one guy is going to be hanging around to keep milking her. If she’s not 100% herself making sound decisions, where could this lead.
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TreasureGirl, it would be best to consult with an "Elder Law Attorney" as this is too complex.
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