Updated: 8/3/2012 12:31 PM ET|
When Dad marries a gold digger
Your elderly parent may be vulnerable to exploitation. Here's what you can do to protect your loved one.
Two daughters appealed to elder-law attorney Shirley Whitenack of Florham Park, N.J., for help. Their father had written a $10,000 check to a caregiver at his nursing home.
A psychiatrist whom Whitenack hired to assess the father found him to be competent. The elderly gentleman knew that the checks represented a small portion of his multimillion-dollar net worth and that he could easily afford the generosity.
The nursing home wasn't so forgiving. It fired the caretaker for taking the gift. And then things took a horrible turn: The father married the caretaker, who used her newly acquired access to his bank accounts to clean him out.
"She took the money and went to Antigua," Whitenack said. "She left Dad stranded."
Protecting our elderly parents from people who may want to victimize them financially isn't easy. Moms or dads may interpret our concern as self-interest. Sometimes it is. Other times we see what they can't or won't: that people who profess to care about them really don't or are so flawed that they present a risk to the parent's well-being.
"It's so common, especially in the caregiving world," said Geraldine Champion, an elder-law attorney in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Champion represented the family of a 56-year-old stroke victim whose 75-year-old caretaker gave him Viagra and proposed marriage. The caretaker wanted to move the severely disabled man from his assisted-living facility, where he needed 24-hour care, to his oceanfront home, where she promised to care for him all by herself. After the family intervened, the caretaker moved away. The woman who once professed her undying love sent "one measly card" afterward and hasn't called or otherwise contacted him since, Champion said.
The worst of these romantic predators are known in retiree communities as black widows or black widowers, after the mate-eating spiders. Elder-law experts say black widows and black widowers can run the gamut from mere opportunists to calculating criminals who move from victim to victim. They either take control of retirees' finances or persuade the seniors to give them money and property, sometimes leaving their victims penniless.
Terrie McKinley of Orange County, Calif., was happy at first when her mom, then 76, started seeing an old schoolmate that the older woman ran into at a high school reunion. After the man moved in with her mom, though, he became hostile to McKinley and her family. He convinced the mother that she couldn't trust her daughter.
McKinley's name was removed from her mother's accounts, which McKinley had managed, and the older couple changed the locks on the condo where they lived.
McKinley worried when she learned her mother, who was in the early stages of dementia, was being left home alone while her partner went on days-long trips. Unexplained bruises began showing up on her face and arms. McKinley said she asked the county's social-services agency to investigate, but no wrongdoing was found.
The man conned the couple's neighbors into believing that McKinley was the abusive, money-grubbing one. Some of the neighbors confronted McKinley when she visited her mother's condo. McKinley seethed with embarrassment and frustration.
One night, her mother broke her leg in two places. The hospital doctors discovered she was suffering from malnutrition, and McKinley learned that her mom's life savings -- $150,000 -- had vanished. The money that should have lasted the rest of the woman's life "was gone in six years," McKinley said.
What was especially painful, McKinley said, was that her mother got so little benefit.
"She didn't take cruises or buy nice things," McKinley said. "She was wearing rags and sitting on her sofa alone, while this clever old fool was dressed to the nines and running all over town on her money."
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Holy crap that article is disturbing. They forgot the most obvious way to protect your parents. Threaten to break the frakking legs of the preditor. Then do if they don't leave your parents alone.
That's the way we handle things in my family. Nobody fraks with us without consequences.
My father married a nice woman he met at church after my mother died. My parents had already had a trust set up before she passed and made my sister the executor, there are five girls in my family and we always got along.
The new wife was hi maintenance, but we knew that going in. What we didn’t count on was her adult son, sucking the life out of both of them, using physical and emotional threats on them and spending all their money on motorcycles and mustangs.
I called elderly services to intervene, the police had been to the house several times, but no one wanted to go and do an interview, because the son had two big dogs in the house and my father would have to give permission.
The son ended up stabbing my father to death while he slept and putting his mother in the hospital. He died from injures he sustained from running from the cops, they figure he was on drugs, weapons hidden every wear in the house and his motorcycle parked in the living room.
After everything was said and done, we buried my father next to my mother, paid expenses and went to distribute the estate.
We found out that my sister, the executor had taken money out of the estate to pay for renovations to her house, and my other two sisters had also taken money out, with my sister’s knowledge. What was left for me and my other sister? Nothing!
So don’t think trusts and executors are the answer, or even having family members, or lawyers appointed. Make sure it takes family meetings to get any money for anyone, or get an institution that needs to be held accountable, otherwise anyone can do anything.
Trust no one!
I've been there. Dad could not see the young gold digger for what she was and that she was only using him until she used him up and moved on. She worked hard at creating a wedge between me and my father, all the while trying to make herself look like a saintly, Christian woman. She even convinced my dad's brother that she only had Dad's best interest at heart. In my case, Dad died before she could convince him to marry her or change his will. She cried and carried on like a grieving widow at the funeral and couldn't stop touching him in the casket. I completely ignored her at the funeral and was chastised by Dad's brother and other family members for not speaking to her. Two weeks later, she married an even more elderly gentleman and they were all shocked. She cleaned out that old man and moved on to another after that. I'm sure there have been more that I'm not aware of. The worst part is that my relationship with Dad was strained in the last months of his life. I'm just thankful I never said anything mean or hurtful to him during that time.
Not much you can do if the man is declared competent, but marries the b!tch anyway, and she cleans him out.
You can't fix stupid, young or old.
Agg. Me too.
Dad decided to clean himself up and find a new wife. It took about 2 days. She hooked him immediately and this brilliant retired corporate executive could not see it at all. He was in love. Puppy love. Worse than a teenager.
It just happened that she was losing her house within about 3 months and would have been homeless.
Her children, all young adults and all with criminal records moved in within a week. I had some belongings in the house - they were taken. Things that my deceased mother cherished were sold. Family heirlooms were sold.
I tried to talk to him and he told me that he had a new family now and that I could go to he**. I guess he forgot that I was only his daughter and I had sacrificed all of my teen years and into my twenties literally taking care of him hand and foot after my mother died.
About 7 years later, he started to see her for what she was, but he was too far in and could not back out of the financial arrangements he had made while "in love".
He died. She got a big house, hundreds of thousands of dollars and his retirement for life.
I do not understand, cannot comprehend how these people live with themselves.
Hey Someone :),
That almost happened to my father who was disabled! I called her and ask her to meet me at the end of Captiva Island that we need to have a talk..... lol she never showed up and she never contacted my father again!!!!
I'm no kid any more. Have a few bucks but live conservatively. i've played this game with gold diggers before. You can spot them a mile away. Where do you live, what kind of car do you drive, oh you play golf at kiawah, Where was your last vacation. Looking at the lables on my cloths.
Have sex with them 3/4 times , tell them they need more waxing. The next time you go out you say, "hay isn't it your turn to buy tonight"?? they run for the hills. Very funny to watch
Yup, my Grandfather who was not a rich man, found himself in this situation. He got involved with a woman 25 years younger than him who was taking his disability and cleaned out his bank account. He had $100,000 in a trust account set up for his son who is disabled, which she was desperatly trying to make him withdrawl, and he did try but thankfully the bank would not let him because the way it was set up. She also had him convinced to sign his house and over 100 acres of land over to her.
She was caught putting rat poisen in his food, and ran before anything got done about it. She fled state and we never saw her again. He died a few years later and we're still trying to straighten out all the messes he made of things while trying to hand everything to her.
Oh and to top all of it off, she wasn't even having sex with him, just flashing him every once in awhile, although she did try to get me to have sex with her, which I promptly told him about, but of course he sided with her and called me a lier.
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