Protect Yourself from Family Financial Abuse

My family financial abuse experience was an unexpected, terrifying and deceitful situation that I want to share as a cautionary tale to others whose parents are elderly.

As you will see, the level of one’s intellect has little to do with the victim’s vulnerability, so be aware and don’t let your loved one become a victim of family financial abuse.

The phone rang shortly before noon on a Sunday morning in April, as it had every Sunday morning for the six years since Mom died.

Dad’s Sunday Morning Call

He admitted feeling a bit sick to his stomach but thought he just needed to lie down and rest, which is what he planned to do after our call.

I wasn’t overly concerned, partially because Dad wasn’t alone. My cousin Gary from Canada, and his companion Jan were there.

Dad never called that night but the next day I had a message. But it was from Gary—a very angry sounding Gary. His message was shocking. Dad was in the hospital.

According to Gary, I was not to know so I wouldn’t worry and hop on a plane, but none of that sounded reasonable.


He was quite abrupt and still angry, saying he was now put in the middle. I held my composure and assured him that I was just glad he was there and asked that he keep me informed.

But as soon as I hung up I called the hospital. That’s when I got shock number two. The charge nurse refused to give me any information.

According to Dad, around Christmas, Gary had boldly asked Dad if he was leaving him anything in his trust.

The Truth Unfolds

Dad responded that he’d left him a few thousand dollars, which seemed to enrage Gary. Dad owed him the house, he demanded.

Gary then convince Dad that a lawyer he’d met could change the trust so that Gary got the house and everything else continued to go to Bette.

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