In her book “Stealing Joy,” Glynnis Walker Anderson detailed her account of how her elderly mother was taken advantage of in her final years.
“The attorney who had written up my mother’s will a few years earlier, leaving the estate with me, conspired with a neighbor to have her write a new will just months before she died,” she said. “She didn’t even know she was signing it because she has Alzheimer’s, but she was in Canada, and I was here, making it difficult to do much. Her doctor contacted me when he noticed these two people had power of attorney to make life decisions for her. It’s very hard once someone has power of attorney to contest it.”
After spending several years and thousands of dollars in court contesting the will, Anderson was awarded her mother’s estate per the original will. As difficult as they may be, conversations regarding end-of-life planning are crucial, according to Anderson.
“You should have the difficult conversation about what their preferences are medically and financially, as well as have them write a will and talk to their loved ones about it before age 70, and have these conversations regularly. Alzheimer’s is increasingly affecting younger people. Have the conversation before your loved one is no longer competent enough to make a wise decision,” she said.