I have an Aunt who has a gambling problem. I want to know if there is a way to take control of her finances.

Asked about 2 years ago - Brooklyn, NY

She has had a few mini strokes but other than that is physically and mentally sound. She owns 50% of her home and her sister owns 50%. There is approx. 50% equity in the home. I have a sense of urgency as she has 10 years of a 20 year NY State lottery annuity left. She is looking to assign it to get the cash to pay the mortgage. It is a 125k annual annuity. She would probably settle for 60%-70% of the annuities value, pay off the mortgage and use the rest for gambling. She cashed in 5 years w/out me knowing and has nothing significant to show for it. That annuity was going to ensure their ability to stay in their home for the next 10 years.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Peter Vincent Arcese

    Contributor Level 7


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . This is a difficult situation. NYS law allows for a petition to be made to the court to appoint an "Article 81 Guardian" for an adult who is alleged to be incapacitated, either mentally, physically, or both and to a wide range of degree. You would have to consult with an attorney experienced in handling these guardianships to see if there is a chance it might apply to your Aunt's condition. Elder Law attorneys are often well versed in these matters.

    Nothing stated in this answer, or on any pages linked to this answer, shall be construed as legal advice, nor... more
  2. Eric Jerome Gold


    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I certainly sounds like this is a challenging situation for you. You can seek a declaration that your aunt lacks capacity and an order establishing guardianship. You should consult with local NY attorney for specific advice and an opinion as to whether or not your aunt lacks sufficient capacity to make her own financial decisions.

    When responding to questions posted on Avvo, I provide a general purpose response based on California law as I am... more
  3. Daniel Gary Rosenthal


    Contributor Level 14


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . You should find an elder law attorney familiar with guardianship/conservatorship. You should also consider having her sister involved, as this potentially effects her interest in the estate.

    The author is a Maryland attorney; however no answer given on Avvo is intended as legal advice or intended to... more
  4. James P. Frederick

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . I agree with both of my colleagues. Sadly, I am not sure that a court would determine your aunt to be incapacitated, under the circumstances. You often cannot save people from themselves. Her penchant for making bad choices does not render her incompetent.

    What you might do instead is to try to counsel your aunt to meet with a financial advisor to determine how best to allocate her resources. If this is set up properly, she might have plenty of money to handle not only her debts, but also have plenty left over to give her some "mad money" to gamble with. If she can be persuaded of the sense and practicality of this, then that may solve your problem. I am concerned that taking this to court is not only not going to result in your success, but it could also irreparably damage your relationship with your aunt.

    As the others have stated, this is truly a difficult and challenging situation. Your aunt is fortunate that you are looking out for her interests!

    James Frederick

    *** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and... more

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