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Did your sibling take advantage of your parent’s dementia?

Older adults who experience dementia will have a difficult time managing their own lives. They may depend on family members or professional caregivers to provide for their daily needs and to handle their finances.

Once a professional takes over or your loved one is subject to a guardianship, there will be someone to protect them. However, it’s possible that a sibling may have already manipulated your parent before those protections were in place.

You may only discover when reviewing your parent’s estate after their death that your sibling tricked or deceived your parent into making a large transfer or gift. How can you push back against an unethical attempt to profit off of your parent’s cognitive decline?

You can challenge the transfer because of your parent’s dementia

If a gift or transfer took place after your loved one already had clear signs of dementia or other incapacitating condition, you may be able to hold your sibling accountable for their misconduct. Their pressure on your loved one or manipulation of a parent with diminished capacity affects not just your loved one’s finances but also your right as a family member who would inherit from the estate.

You may be able to challenge changes made to a will when your loved one was already struggling with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. You may also be able to ask the courts to remove your sibling as executor of the estate because of their previous financial misconduct.

In some cases, the courts may factor that financial manipulation into the ultimate division of assets from the estate. This could potentially diminish your sibling’s inheritance because of their misconduct.

How do you prove your loved one’s diminished capacity?

It can be difficult to conclusively show that someone intentionally took advantage of another adult’s diminished capacity.

However, records ranging from guardianship proceedings in court and medical diagnostic records to emails you exchanged with your sibling about your concerns regarding your parent’s mental state could all be used to show that that diminished capacity was present or that you and your sibling knew about possible issues.

Initiating probate litigation may be the only way to hold a sibling responsible for their misconduct towards your parent in their later years.

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