How should my family go about handling the fact that my uncle is taking financial advantage of my grandmother who has dementia?

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How should my family go about handling the fact that my uncle is taking financial advantage of my grandmother who has dementia?

My grandma was recently put on hospice she suffers from dementia and

Alzheimer’s. My uncle, who has a criminal background, swooped in and made

himself power of attorney and had a Will made giving himself everything. He

has already been making withdrawals from her account and had a debit card

made for groceries but has been getting cash back on every purchase. He

has no license and is currently sick. He shouldn’t be power of attorney and

my grandma has said that and that she doesn’t want everything going to him.

Asked on June 13, 2018 under Estate Planning, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

She can take away his power of attorney whenever she wants and also cancel or replace the will, so long as she is mentally competent. She just needs to create and have witnessed a document revoking the POA and another one changing or revoking the will.
If she is believed to not be competent, another family member needs to apply to the court to be appointed her legal guardian and to have the POA invalidated due to either or both of  1) lack of capacity (if she was mentally incomptent when she made it) and/or 2) your uncle's breach of his fiduciary duty--the obligation of loyalty and care he owes to her, as her attorney-in-fact or agent (those are the names for the person given power by a POA). You will have to show your uncle's abuse of his position. The guardian (once appointed) can also challenge the will, if it was created either when she was incompetent or was done under duress or coercion of some kind.
These legal actions are NOT simple to bring: if you want to explore this option, consult with an elder law attorney.


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