My father in law can no longer handle his finances, how can we convince him to allow us to help?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

My father-in-law could certainly tell you his name, the name of the president, etc. but we feel he is not competent to make financial decisions. He has let his housekeeper move in full time (with locks on the doors to the 2 rooms downstairs that are "hers'), we just found out he "loaned" her $75,000 for a piece of property she bought from the last guy she worked for. He thinks he is sharp as a tack and could NEVER be conned. He is 91 and refuses to sign a healthcare directive, even after falling down and breaking his nose after a couple of drinks "My doctor knows who I am."

Expert Answers

You face a difficult problem. If your father-in-law insists on continuing to make his own financial decisions, despite yours and others' advice that he is being conned, your only possible remedy is to file a lawsuit against him. Specifically, a lawsuit to establish that he is mentally incompetent to make his own financial decisions, and a financial guardian must be appointed. This would be an ugly legal proceeding. Also, you may well not prevail"”financial foolishness does not necessarily establish mental incompetence. Further you and your father-in-law would have to spend substantial funds for attorneys' fees.

A sad truth is that the not every problem has a solution, either legal or otherwise.