Mild cognitive impairment 2 years ago.

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Our 72 mother was diagnosed with MCI and Dementia 2 years ago and pretty much all of her mother's family has/was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease. One aunt died from it. Plus our father died 2.5 years ago from cancer leaving her widowed and alone after 40 years together with 120K in the bank and significant property valued over 1 million.They lived in the same house for 30 plus years and 6 months after he died she decided to remodel the house. A flooring company recommended this flooring installtion company and this is where the owner a young attractive 40 year old man came in to play. We started noticing more and more projects that he is not licensed to do come up. A cheap DIY kitchen remodel, two bathrooms demolished, popcorn ceiling changed to regular drywall, windows changed, etc . Makes no sense why but she continued on and then he started suggesting selling the house and he could build her a new one. We started becoming suspicius when she did not show to family reunions due to no money left to travel. Thus finding out in one year this individuals were getting paid $3-$4K weekly and the checks were getting written to a worker not the business nor the owner. She refused to let my sister whom is an accountant see her finances and now pretty much everyone in her family he has isolated her from. She does not talk about anything else but this man (For 4 hours straight) whom we believe she thinks she is in a secret relationship with and le left his wife for her BUT they have been divorced since 2008. He has put in 18 months of time grooming her like a pedaphile does children. He has her smoking POT with him and DRINKING again. For 10 years she did not drink because of Atrial Fibrulation a heart condition that drinking alcohol triggers and can cause a stroke. She is on 10 mg of Aricept and refuses to believe anything is wrong. Frankly I think she believes she is 39 years. She is trying to keep up with this man and she fully trust him. This man is so controlling he takes her places and has her at his out every night drinking and smoking pot. We do not know if the checks are being written under the influence. I have witnessed her twice getting into the car after 3 Budweiser beers (which she never draink it was always Coors Light) to drive home or to his house. SCARY. We have called the police, DCF and APS and she manages to convince she has no issues. She says I can spend my money howere I want. He also has provided her with a loaded hand gun. Which really scares all of us. I am afriad to go there because he has her hating eveyone and tells her he's the only one to trust. He has even resulted to calling a different nickname which she is going by now. -------We fear the latest scam he has proposed is build her a new house (which he is not a general contractor but a tiler) for ONLY $175K on the waterfront land she owns next door. We cannot find state contractor licenses for him nor his father whom is supposed to lay the concrete. They are NO INVOICES for his work that is how he Dodges prosecution becauese you cannot prove his is doing hte work. He has not been there to finiah anything for at least 3 months. He has not even completed any of the projects in the home for at lest a year they are all 50% done. DOors are leanign against walls, missing trim, electrical wires are dangling, etc. All UNLICENSED. We have tried to report him to code enforcement and she will not let anyone in the home but him and his workers. There is evidence of him advising her on papers what to say on phone calls etc. He is very sneaky with a CLEAN record but the man getting the checks was charged with a felony. My sister are trying to find an attorney but I fear it will be a waste of time because we cannot get an agency to intervene or investigate her finances. By the time the damage is done she will be sitting with a $175 concret slab and no money for care. What do you think the chances are of my sister winning a guardianship for a third party to manage her finances? All I hear is these are the worst cases and they never work out. Oh yes she is refusing to go to the doctors now. She probably knows deep down she has a problem.

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It sounds more like she is trying to recapture her youth with very foolish decisions. That does not equal incapacity, unfortunately. If she can convince APS that she is fine, she can also convince a judge. At this point her money is obviously gone and the gigolo will thence depart forthwith.
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The criteria for guardianship varies by state. The only way you can win guardianship over someone is if they are incompetent/incapacitated in some way. This incapacitation must be serious enough to warrant the complete removal of their rights and give them to another person. This is usually a lengthy and costly process.

Since your mom appears to still be competent in a general sense (she can feed herself, dress herself, clean herself, handle her finances and make decisions about building a home and doing projects) I believe that it will be extremely difficult to get guardianship...and you will be out the court costs, and her lawyers costs and your lawyers costs which could amount to tens of thousands of dollars.

The evidence the court will look at will be patterns of behavior (is she usually dressed, clean and coherent? has she caused issues that have involved the police such as wandering/getting lost/being violent? can she understand the court proceedings and answer questions intelligently?) They could insist on an evaluation by a doctor, but they may not. And if they do, this court appointed doctor will do the same cursory tests that most doctors do (draw a clock face, what year is it, who is the president, remember these 5 words etc). Finally, they can decide (but may not) to look at her financial dealings over the past 2 years since her mild cognitive impairment diagnosis...but if she has passed all the other tests this may be unlikely. And, even if they do check her finances...like she says a competent person can spend their money any way they like, including flushing it down the toilet (literally) if they so choose.

I think the cost of this process and the high chance that you will not win should be something you should consider carefully. It may be better to leave this alone,and step in when there is an emergency, like a fall or other incident, that will land her in the ER...then you can ask for an evaluation and monitoring and start the ball rolling in the right direction.

As far as the "contractor's" shoddy work, you have every right to call her city and demand that they check the permits for this work, check that he is working legally (licensed and with insurance) and check that his work is safe. The city won't play around with such things as they are liable. This could stop the work much faster than a guardianship case, which could drag on for a year or more, would.

Angel
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