My folks are almost 82 years old and my niece calls Mom crying about anything she can think of to lie about and get money. My niece works but has no house or car payment so not even sure where the money is going.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
I've been through this, and it is painful. My mother gave money away to everyone, and especially the pastor and church. I tried to stop her, but everyone said the same thing... it is her money. The problem now becomes the "look back" period ... and no one is going to think what she did was ok .... and none of the people she gave the thousands to will be there to help her. If they increase the look back period to 10 years it will be devastating, as how does anyone stop an elder from spending or giving away their life savings? My mother figured she would do all of this before she died, now some years later if she has to go into a nursing home, we may have trouble.
Helpful Answer (8)

There are 2 situations where this type of gifting can potentially be halted. The first is if both parents are determined by a neuro psychologist to be no longer be legal competent. If that is the case then a conservatorship or guardianship action should be pursued. The second is if it can be shown that the niece is engaging in elder financial exploitation.If that is your suspicion many states have elder agencies that will investigate your allegation. However, keep in mind if your suspicions are unfounded then your relationship with your parents and niece may be irrevocably altered or even broken. To learn more, I suggest speaking with an experienced elder law attorney in your area.
Helpful Answer (7)

Lexhackney, your profile says that you are caring for someone with dementia. Is that your mom or your dad? How serious are the symptoms/what stage is he/she in at this point?

If one of your parents has dementia, is the other the POA? What is your role?

In the US competent adults are allowed to make their own decisions -- even poor decisions or self-destructive decisions. Unless they are both incompetent (in the legal sense) and you are POA or guardian, there is little you can do to control their spending.

You are right, however, to be concerned for them. They need to be careful about maintaining their assets for their own future care, and also gifting large sums of money will interfere with Medicaid application if it is needed down the road.

Explaining these financial facts to them MIGHT get them thinking about it. Talk about preserving their money and assets for their own care. Talk to the healthy parent about how expensive taking care of the one with dementia can become. Do not try to convince them that their grandchild is exploiting them or doing anything wrong. Maybe there is some "outsider" whose opinion they would respect who could talk to them about their finances.

Your heart and head are in the right place, Lexhackney. I hope that you can come up with some tactics that fit the situation.
Helpful Answer (7)

What about the niece's parent who is your sibling? Does he/she see what their daughter is doing? Maybe they can help.
Helpful Answer (6)

Grandchildren are particularly precious to your parents, and I will guess they have open pockets for any of them that ask. As long as mom & dad are fully competent they can do whatever they want with their money. They are attempting to buy affection. In the end it never works out that way. Any comments on your part will only stir up a hornets nest. If they are showing signs of dementia you could pursue a guardianship, but that does not seem to be the case.
Helpful Answer (5)

If possible, take your parents to their bank and request that all their check blanks have two would be your Mom's or Dad's signature and the other would be your signature. The niece would not be able to cash any checks with just one signature. Make sure your parents do not keep excessive cash in the house. This method assures you and your parents from anyone receiving monies unethically.and without your knowledge. It would be of help if you were POA or conservator for your parents.
Helpful Answer (5)

Personally, I have difficulty with requests from my relatives and I would appreciate if someone would help talk it through with me. Since you mentioned your parents are struggling financially, perhaps they would appreciate if you would sit down with them, with a cool head and help step them through their own financial situation.

You could lay out the potential expenses they may face in the coming years. You could also set them up to meet with a financial advisor. You can offer them tools and guidance, or you can simply offer to listen and discuss the situation with them.

As many have said here, it's up to them. In the long run however, they may benefit from having a conversation (or several) with you, to think through the alternatives.

In my situation, my mom gave A LOT away. She didn't really think much about it and after we sat down and talked about it, she made some changes. For the youngest of my mom's grandchildren it was like poison. They became confused about the meaning of money and have struggled more than they need to because the influx of Grandma's gifts distorted their perception of reality. It's been a difficult transition now that she passed away and they need to learn to make it on their own. The older ones didn't struggle as much.

I hope you can help your parents consider the ramifications of what they are doing. While they want to be kind, they may consider perhaps paying bills directly, or paying only for eduction for example. Giving gifs of cash can be VERY confusing for youngsters without enough guidance and life experience. It's a challenge for everyone involved!
Helpful Answer (4)

It sounds like your parents want to give this niece money, and frankly there is nothing you can do to stop it. It is not your money, and if they are in financial trouble because they give their money away, then that is the spot they have placed themselves in. Unless they have dementia, it is their money to do with how they want.
Helpful Answer (3)

Lexhackney: It is your parents right to give money to whomever they wish IF THEY ARE OF SOUND MIND. You complaint hits close to home with me because I too was faced with a mother who could be talked into "loaning/giving" money to family members or to organizations that cried on her shoulder. In my case these family members never paid back a cent and refused to sign anything stating it was a loan but came back several times with their hands outstretched. It was VERY DIFFICULT for my mother to say NO to anyone. Now most people here will say "they can give their money to whomever they choose." I disagree, when you see that your parents are in a financial bind and you know they can be manipulated by ANYONE and they have a hard time saying NO, then in my opinion, it is time to step in and assist them.

Personally I needed to take my Mom to an attorney to have her Trust updated and at that time we addressed POA. I asked to be named POA and stated my reasons why, the attorney asked to speak to Mom alone and she agreed to have me named as DPOA and if necessary her guardian. I told Mom that we were doing this NOW because it might be needed in the future and if we waited she might not be able to give it to me because her forgetfulness may become dementia or Alzheimer's. She agreed.

I had already assisted both parents with their finances and bills for years and was their caregiver. Within about 1 year it became necessary for me to take over as Mom was giving money away left and right to anyone with a sob story. I had watched her scrimp and save for years, many times only being able to save $2 a week, but she did. My parents lived simple austere lives because they came from poverty. All this being said, I WAS NOT GOING TO SIT BY AND WATCH MY MOTHER THROW AWAY HER MONEY, DUE TO AN INABILITY TO SAY NO!

When I left the house one day for 30 minutes, I returned home to a man taking money from my mother at her front door and having her sign a form allowing them to remove money from her bank account monthly. I stopped it, walked into the house, called my sister and told her that I was taking over as DPOA. Mom's memory problems had become dementia and she was diagnosed.

I cannot tell you that all went smoothly and I have never had a problem, because I have. Mom kept hiding the checkbook so I took it away from her, as she never remembered where she hid it and then screamed at me until I could find it. She can no longer have the check book but I do give her an updated book with the register filled out, it just has no checks. My taking over put a complete stop on all "loans" to family members and fundraising organizations. I made sure that all family members knew I was DPOA and there was no more "back room pleas for money." I have only borrowed money from my parents once, $700 for my first car and I paid it all back immediately, therefore the thoughts of anyone taking advantage of them, was not something I was going to sit still for.

I your parents have a Trust they have probably signed papers stating the other is their POA. You need to speak to them and lay things out in a simplistic manner and let them know that you are worried about them and their welfare and you would like to me named POA for both of them. Let them know that you can assist them with all their finances and healthcare issues. Warning: You may have to go slow here as they might feel like you are taking away their independence and they could object. On the other hand they may feel relieved that someone else is going to help them and take a burden off their shoulders. Be careful how you address the issue of the niece and her taking of money. My mother was all upset that.."what was____ going to do with her help!" They have a full time job and need to take care of themselves for a change is what you are thinking but be this point you want them to make you POA not get into a fight.

This is work, I will not lie and you have to be up to the job. You also have to remember that this money is not for you, but for the care of your parents and no money is to be spent on anything but for the care of your parents and their personal needs.

If they are going broke this will be especially true because they may find themselves in the future needing the help of Medicaid and Medicaid does a 5 year look back on all of the parents money and assets and where it was spent. They cannot deed their home to someone else, you will need to set up an appointment with and Elder Law Attorney to have them walk you through everything that needs to be done to help Mom and Dad in the best possible way.

I feel like you should step in if they will allow you, to take POA and put a stop to the nieces mooching and goodness only knows what else. Elderly people are "soft touches" to unscrupulous people. Be their rock!
Helpful Answer (3)

Just by chance, I sat down with my mother with this specific situation, just yesterday. For one, she was talked into a new furnace that she didn't need by the heating/cooling company that came to make a fix on her furnace. For another, there are other situations where she has purchased things or given money away because she can't say "no."

She is now in a situation where she might not be able to get all her plumbing fixed because of this. Although I have talked to her, in the past, it was after-the-fact and by phone. Yesterday, was visiting for the holidays and sat down for a private talk.

Other facts: she is forgetful but not having dementia, so in a fairly healthy state of mind. I have been doing a lot to help her so, while she has been resentful in the past when I tried to nicely tell her that she should be more resistant to these requests, face-to-face and after all this help, her response is probably different.

So, I started with looking her in the eye and nicely but neutrally telling her she has spent/given herself into this situation and should stop. What she said to my face is that it's her money to spend as she wants. I kept a blank face and stayed silent, still looking her in the eye. She then finally said she appreciates that I'm looking out for her welfare and knows I'm just trying to help and that she'll stop.

There was no hug nor crying nor recriminations. We're not an emotional group. Don't read too much into her response.

But my opinion, for what it's worth, is that she sometimes feels too "nice" to say "no" and sometimes bullied into it. Also, she can't remember some things. She doesn't remember how old her furnace is or what she's had done to it, so to tell her it's "extremely" old and HAS to be fixed because it's had too many repairs is an easy way to sell her something because she knows she doesn't remember. She figures that anyone besides her would "know." I think she's a little embarrassed that she's gotten herself into this situation, too, so I know I have to be respectful of that.

On the other hand, do I realistically think she'll stop? No, I don't. She knows she's forgetful and also that she's done this to herself and I'm going to remind her of it when I ask her for POA within the next few weeks.

The only good thing is that she is now terrified of writing a check, thinking it might bounce. I don't like her to be afraid, but the fact that she now asks me before she writes every check at least means that I can discuss each check with her.
Helpful Answer (2)

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter