My dad has dementia, money, and a 20-year-old fiancee.
September 12, 2019 7:03 PM   Subscribe

My nearly 80-year-old father has been seeing a young woman from Asia. My siblings and I are terrified that she's going to take everything and leave him with no money for the very expensive care he'll soon need.

Dad is in his late seventies with very obvious dementia. He went for an initial doctor's visit and the doc recommended geriatric testing, which he's refusing to get, so he has no official diagnosis that would allow the family to intervene.

Hi fiancee lives with him and they're scheduled to marry next week.

It started out as an immigration thing - he was helping her out so she could immigrate and then bring her kid over. There's an agent involved who brings these women to the country. The women pay the agent and pay the men, although my dad refused any payment.

He's getting quite confused and it's clear he's being manipulated and deceived. He has always had prenups in his previous marriages (yeah, he's had a colourful history) and was planning one this time but somehow the appointment, scheduled for earlier this week, never happened.

The fiancee says she's an accountant in her home country (not true according to someone we know from the same city) and now has convinced him to let her be his accountant, so she has access to all of his accounts and paperwork. One of my siblings found spyware on Dad's phone sending large packets of information out of the house.

We are freaking out and fear she is going to either marry him without a prenup then take everything, or just steal his identity and take everything that way.

We are scared to call immigration because if we alienate dad he might just shut us out and then we have no hope of being able to stop this.

Is there anything we can do? We have dad's lawyer's number. This lawyer is who's scheduled to marry them. Can we ask him to intervene somehow?

(We're all in Canada.)
posted by Frenchy67 to Human Relations (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
here's the rcmp info on elder abuse
posted by brujita at 7:11 PM on September 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


We are scared to call immigration because if we alienate dad...

How would dad connect you and immigration? He knows he’s doing something illegal and there are many ways to get caught.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:11 PM on September 12, 2019 [5 favorites]


Call an attorney and ask about the elder abuse laws there. This website might be of use to you. I wouldn't necessarily call his attorney, who might inform him and then the marriage might take place hastily, without your knowledge.

We have similar laws here, and if someone is proven to be financially abusing an elderly person, you can report them.

What would be better? Having him legally married to someone who will undoubtedly take advantage of him, or at least getting it stopped or delayed until he can be evaluated? He may be mad at first, but might thank you later.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 7:12 PM on September 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


> Call an attorney

Precisely. And urgently. And not his lawyer. Someone you choose.

In the U.S., a person who cannot make his own decisions competently may have a guardian appointed by a suitable court. Until that is done he has the legal authority to enter into any contract, including agreeing to be married.

Most likely there is something similar in Canada. But obviously there is a need to act quickly.

There is a complex procedure that must be followed in the U.S. to ensure that the individual's rights to make his own decisions are not taken away without good cause. That emphasizes the point: there is a need to act quickly.
posted by megatherium at 8:31 PM on September 12, 2019 [4 favorites]


On the off-chance your dad banks with Bank of Montreal, you may be able to turn to banking officials for assistance. The bank has been developing a system that works with families of vulnerable customers to help prevent the customers from being victims of financial fraud. If you MeMail me, I can see if I can help put you in touch with somebody at the bank. (Note, I have no business or professional relationship with the bank, I'm just aware of the program.)
posted by sardonyx at 8:42 PM on September 12, 2019 [12 favorites]


What jurisdiction in Canada?
posted by lookoutbelow at 8:44 PM on September 12, 2019


A search term that might help you find relevant information is "predatory marriage". Laws to protect vulnerable people from predatory marriages vary by Province.

From a recent Toronto Star article about a family who did manage to get their vulnerable Father's marriage voided:
"The decision to void the marriage is notable because Ontario’s Marriage Act allows almost anyone who is not “under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs or any other reason” to marry. The rules are loose, leaving little to stop vulnerable people, often the elderly with dementia, from being pressured to marry."

...

"In his decision, [the judge] relied on a recent British Columbia judgment (another predatory marriage case) that concluded an individual must be able to control their personal care — and property — to have the “capacity” to marry. Previous case law only required an individual have control over their personal care."

...

"most predatory brides and grooms target elderly people who are lonely or fragile because marriage immediately revokes an existing legal will. After death, the new bride or groom gets the first $200,000 and must split the rest with surviving children — although some burn through the money.

Ontario protections are lagging behind provinces like Alberta and British Columbia, which updated estate laws so that marriage doesn’t immediately revoke a will. Quebec doesn’t revoke wills nor do most American states."
posted by Secret Sparrow at 8:46 PM on September 12, 2019 [5 favorites]


AARP has a fraud watch helpline that might be useful.
posted by mezzanayne at 9:25 PM on September 12, 2019


Call immigration and a lawyer who specializes in elder issues. Your dad can't make his own decisions any more and he can't cut you off, legally speaking right now. Get as much info about the agent, the fiancee and any other women as you can, ideally in writing or text messages.
posted by fshgrl at 10:56 PM on September 12, 2019


The jurisdiction is New Brunswick.

Thank you all so much for the advice and links. I've requested a lawyer recommendation and we're working on Dad to give us power of attorney.
posted by Frenchy67 at 6:50 AM on September 13, 2019 [6 favorites]


If you're Ontario, you may want to contact the Public Guardian and Trustee - they may have some ability to intervene. Some (maybe all?) other provinces also have a Public Guardian.

Also if you're in Ontario, try contacting Elder Abuse Ontario.

Sorry - just saw your update that you're in NB.
posted by persimmons at 6:54 AM on September 13, 2019


(No suggestions, but just to say that it must be terribly hard for you to square what you know you have to do, against years of respect & love for your dad. You & your siblings are doing good by him. Take care of each other!)
posted by wenestvedt at 11:40 AM on September 13, 2019 [5 favorites]


Similar thing was happening to my Dad in Texas. We called the police to report elder abuse. End of problem. Woman had already stolen quite a bit from him before we acted.
posted by rudd135 at 6:33 PM on September 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


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