"My father kept asking for a financial accounting of his money but my older sister refused to give it to him," Paula says. "He asked me about the $64,000 he had in the house, but my sister wouldn't produce the records for the house. When she did, my father's name wasn't on it. She said he signed the house over to her but couldn't produce the papers to prove it. I contacted the lawyer, but found out that my sister had fired the attorney without ever telling my father.
"My father expected to be paid back that $64,000 and I found out that he loaned my older sister $30,000 that he expected to be paid back. I put in change of address forms for my fathers accounts and finally was able to receive some information [Paula's sister wouldn't let her take any paperwork from the home]."
Through a series of phone calls and dealings with banks, Paula learned that her sister had written checks to herself from her father's account and even moved his stocks from one company to another so that she could write more checks to herself. Paula also learned that her sister canceled their father's trust and will and had a letter sent to their father's financial institution having him declared financially incompetent—leading the financial institution to freeze his accounts. By the time Paula got the account unfrozen, thanks to a lot of letters and the intervention of a lawyer, the account had lost $40,000 in value.
Paula's parents decided to set up a new trust, in which all 4 children received equal amounts after both parents had died. Paula's sister phoned the lawyer, threatening to have her disbarred, harassed Paula and showed up unannounced at Paula's house.
It wasn't until Paula spoke with a social worker that she learned that what was going on was considered financial elder abuse. She learned that, in total, close to $300,000 had been taken from her parents, including charges for food in Connecticut when her parents were never in that state, charges for presents for her parents and other needless charges. Paula says there may even be other accounts her sisters are stealing from but she does not have the account numbers so she can't find out for sure.
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"Just this week, a social worker came out because my sister keeps calling them and sending them out," Paula says. "The social worker said, 'This isn't going to end. She won't let go. She is threatening to sue you and take your house. You need to get an attorney.'
"You never expect your siblings to do this. I'm kind of in shock, a little bit angry, that she can't let it go. The whole thing is, she was neglecting my father. She left him alone for 2 weeks, I know what she wanted to happen."