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My elderly grandmother has Alzheimers. How can we protect her from a long, lost cousin and herself?

Woodbine, KY |

My grandmother, 80, has Alzheimers. She says she does not and only experiences minor memory loss typical for her age. She cannot take care of herself. Now, a long, lost cousin who nobody knows (but her) is attached at her hip. He is about 20 years her junior. She sees no reason for suspicion, but I am afraid he will take her for all she has. If he were to propose today, I'm sure she would say "yes." If so, she would lose her insurance, the pension she draws from my Papaw and who knows what else. How can we keep him away? Can we? We have notified banks of what is going on. We are going to court soon. She wants to fight us on it. She says he can be her guardian, using terms that she wouldn't know. I think he's feeding her ideas. How can we protect her?

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Attorney answers 4


It sounds like you are right to be concerned. Elder abuse, financial and otherwise, has become a nationwide epidemic. You may have several options, depending on what is available in Kentucky (I am not admitted to practice there). The first may be to contact Adult Protective Services, or a similar organization, and report your suspicions so that a court, county or perhaps state investigator can come out and investigate. Another option would be to pursue a conservatorship (which may be called a guardianship in Kentucky). These can be difficult, and can cause significant turmoil within a family, because in essence you will be asserting that your grandmother does not have capacity to manage her own affairs or to withstand undue influence of others (the long-lost cousin). Even though she has Alzheimers, that alone does not mean she lacks the capacity to manage her affairs -- dementia can be mild to severe, and tends to progress along a spectrum. But, if a conservator/guardian is appointed, then that person is the one responsible for managing your grandmother's affairs, which will protect her assets from predators seeking to take advantage of her.

You should consider contacting a local elder law attorney for assistance and guidance,

This general response is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.


I agree with Tom, you need representation and I wonder if you don't already have it... You say that you're going to be going to court soon, so I'm guessing that you have an attorney helping you with these matters... that's the person you need to talk with...


Does your mother have a power of attorney drafted currently? This could offer her POA some limited ability to handle her financial affairs. However, without court approval of a person's diability it is very difficult to restrain a personal from exercising their free will, as stated above.


Check out this article from the Henderson County attorney's office:

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