Any advice you get or take must be tempered with a dose of reality: Short of getting your grandfather a personality transplant, there may be nothing you can do to
change his wily and unpredictable ways. After all, he’s had them for 93 years.
And I do sympathize. Characters like your grandfather are generally more entertaining when they’re in a move—or someone else’s family.
First concern first: getting control of his assets. A bit of sobering news here, too: Unless your grandfather can be shown to be legally incompetent to control his assets, he retains the legal right to do whatever he wants with his property. If you are concerned about his mental acuity, though, and feel that dementia is clouding his ability to make meaningful decisions, there are a couple legal documents you might consider putting in place.
The first, a power of attorney for finances, would allow another person to control and manage your grandfather’s assets in his own best interests. It doesn’t sound as if that may be possible in your situation, however, since it would require your grandfather to agree to the situation and to choose a person as his agent.
The other possibility is more drastic: Secure a legal guardianship or conservatorship for your grandfather. A conservatorship, also called an adult guardianship, gives a person the legal right to make necessary decisions on behalf of another adult who cannot live independently. It would allow the person appointed to oversee or personally be responsible for the other’s care, custody, and control.
The person seeking to be appointed conservator will have to explain to the local probate court why he or she is the best person for the job. And surviving family members will be notified about the procedure and may contest it. It will be up to the court to decide whether the conservatorship is the best route to pursue.
Whether you will need to hire an attorney for help with this process depends on the set-up of your local probate court; they vary wildly. Courts in some places have established some very good self-help centers that provide necessary forms and instructions for how to complete and file them. Find out by doing a search of your city or county and the words "conservatorship" or "guardianship."
Whatever happens with these legal controls on your grandfather’s property, you should check out action against that scam artist at once. Contact the local Adult Protective Services office; most have staffers or hotline operators who will review your concerns confidentially and either intercede or refer you to additional targeted local resources for help.