It is increasingly common for adult children to become caregivers for their elderly parents. But what if it becomes known that the adult child caregiver is actually taking advantage of the parent by misappropriating estate assets?
That was the case for a family in Kingston, Ontario. Having been accused of spending $66,600 of his father's money and leaving the elder man destitute, the 46-year-old son of a brain injury patient recently pleaded guilty to theft in Kingston's Ontario Court of Justice.
After an accident left him with a brain injury, the father, a businessman, began living with his son, paying rent and covering other household expenses. The father also reportedly gifted $16,000 to his son.
In 2012, the elder man's brother died and left him $85,000, which he placed in his son's care. The father also gave power of attorney to his son.
However, agencies involved with the father noticed something was amiss and alerted police. It was discovered that $120,000 of the father's savings, along with the inheritance from his brother, had been spent, and the father was unable to cover basic household expenses.
Now the father is reportedly on assistance and living in a long-term care facility, and his affairs are under the control of the Public Guardian and Trustee. The son, who is believed to have misappropriated funds to travel to Las Vegas and run up an expensive hotel bill in Toronto, was sentenced to 10 months in jail and is no longer allowed to accept power of attorney or control anyone else's finances.
While this case led to a criminal charge and sentencing, other estate disputes are handled and resolved outside of court. In still other cases, disputes are avoided altogether by creating and implementing a comprehensive estate plan.
For more on these matters, including powers of attorney, elder abuse and capacity assessments, please see Hagel Lawfirm's overview of estate litigation.