Mar 15, 2016
By Elder Law attorney Rick Law. Founder of the Estate Planning Center at Law Elder Law in Aurora, IL. Law Elder Law provides wills, trusts, estate planning, elder law, guardianship, and probate services.
On a warm Friday afternoon in Chicago, a boomer son and daughter of a physically healthy 86-year-old man named Eugene sat across the desk from a respected and experienced elder law litigator. They had come to see the lawyer for advice regarding concerns they had about their father and his new friend Olga. This is the story they shared.
“Dad married his high school sweetheart—that was our mom, Doris. They were married for over 60 years. Mom and Dad were always devoted to each other. For many years Mom suffered from debilitating diabetes, and then cancer. Mom loved Dad with all her heart. For the last 10 years, Dad has been Mom’s full-time caregiver.
Mom and Dad had always been very religiously conservative—but for the last fifteen years or so, Mom wasn’t even able to attend church. After Mom’s death, there was a funeral at the church. It seemed like everyone in the community turned out, because Mom and Dad were so respected. A woman named Olga attended the funeral whom none of us had ever met before. She warmly addressed all of the family members and expressed her condolences for our loss. She appeared to be about 65 years of age and fit as a fiddle.
After the funeral, Olga began attending church and all of the older adult activities. She publicly declared her faith and volunteered to help out wherever she was needed. After a while, people told us that everywhere that Dad went, Olga was sitting right beside him. I think our dad was quite flattered to have the attention of a younger woman, after all those years of caring for Mom. The relationship seems to have become romantic within a matter of months after Mom’s funeral.
We children had noticed that Dad was becoming ‘a little forgetful,’ but we considered that just a normal part of old age. Dad has always been close with all of us kids, and he told us about Olga. We were very happy for him to have a companion and to be getting out of the house. Everything seemed to start out okay—but during the last few months Dad has become more withdrawn from family activities. He doesn’t call or return calls like he used to. He stopped sending birthday cards to the grandkids (which always had a $50 bill in them). Some of us kids attempted a trip home to see Dad for Thanksgiving—but we were told quite bluntly, ‘No, please don’t come. I’m going to have Thanksgiving with Olga and her family.’
Right after Thanksgiving we got a call from a lifelong family friend who is Dad’s accountant. He urged us to visit Dad, because he had been visited by Dad and Olga. He indicated that substantial changes in ownership of assets were being discussed. He recommended that we contact you, Mr. Attorney.”
After listening to this story, the wise yet cynical lawyer stated, “From my experience, this is probably a case of professional financial exploitation—especially due to the fact that your father may suffer from a bit of dementia. I think it’s very probable that there is sexual activity going on between Olga and Eugene. I refer to this as the ‘sex for signatures’ scam.” Immediately the son and daughter stood up, outraged. “Sir—you have no business insulting our family and our father. Our dad has always been an upstanding man of the faith! I resent your comments and your lack of empathy!” After saying that, they promptly left the office.
On the following Monday morning, the first call into the lawyer’s office was from the son and daughter, who had spent the weekend at the dad’s house. As soon as the phone was answered, they blurted out to the lawyer,
“We can’t believe it! You were right. During the weekend we heard the unmistakable sounds of intimacy coming from our father’s room. And that’s not the worst of it! There was a brand-new Lexus sitting in the driveway, for which Dad had taken out the loan. But the car title is in Olga’s name.”
Too many families needlessly lose everything they have. Don’t let that be you. If you need help paying the overwhelming cost of long term care, give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free. We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family. Call now, because when you’re out of money, you’re out of options!
Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.
Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future. Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care. Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!
My wife and I had our first child three years ago. That’s when we decided to set up a trust, should anything happen to either of us. We reached out to Zach Hesselbaum to help us out. He was very thorough and professional throughout the whole process. Zach went above and beyond to make sure that we understood every detail of setting it up and he did an excellent job. We recently had our second child a few months ago. With the new baby, he helped us make the necessary revisions to the trust. Zach made this process great for us! I would definitely recommend using him for any of your estate planning needs!
Tom G., Naperville, IL