Grandmother potentially being scammed by her own son - what to do?

Myself and my mum are currently in a predicament, where my uncle has not been in my grandma and grandad's life for 20 - 25 years until my grandad passed away just short of four years ago, and has now managed to worm his way into my grandma's life.

Whilst my grandad was unwell in 2017, he asked that I took care of my grandma's bank and finances to make sure money was going in and make sure all bills were paid and covered. After he passed away, myself and my grandma signed a Third-Party Mandate with the bank to allow me to manage her account. My grandparents also changed their will in 2014 to leave the house to myself on the agreement my mum lived there first, and I think leaving money to my mum.

Since my grandad passed away, my grandma has become more and more frail, especially with her memory. My uncle got back in touch as soon as he found out my grandad had and my grandma has been meeting with him for the last few years for coffee, or he's helped her with shopping or other things around the house.

She had a fall about six weeks ago that put her in hospital, where they mutually agreed he would move in 'To help her', to which from what's been said, we know he's forced her into it. When in hospital myself and mum gathered all cash in the house and put it into my grandma's bank account, and took her key to the safe too.

Now me and my mum have never trusted him but we were fairly open to the idea of him caring for my grandma. But we've found him snooping around the property. An expensive lawnmower has gone missing, he was questioning me over some 'missing Sat Navs' of my grandad's, basically looking around for things he can clear out and sell. He's also since quit his job and claims he's struggling to find another, and he's paying no form of board to my grandma apart from paying for the supermarket shop each week. He's married a random woman he met on the internet in Gambia and we think he's sending money there too.

Myself and mum have been giving my grandma £50 - £100 a week for herself and she's constantly asking us for more and more. When we ask where it's going, she claims she's still got it and hasn't spent it. When we then ask her why she needs more, she claims she hasn't got any and we're going around in circles.

But this all kicked off a few days ago. I was checking my grandmas account online to check if a recent payment had come in, when it flagged up due to a fraudulent attempt, her account was suspended. I tried to sort this out and explain I was third party, but wasn't aware third party was branch only.
Questioning my grandma, she's adamant she went into branch and forgot her pin code. But I don't think they'd suspend her entire bank for a forgotten pin surely? Just her card? And we're starting to think the branch suspected he was frauding her, or he's maybe asked for it transferring to his account so he can withdraw, or he's potentially attempted to phone up later on.

Thankfully me and my mum registered a lasting power of attorney in April I am now processing this with the bank to gain access again. As well as I'd like to hopefully speak to somebody in branch about it, thank them for stopping the transactions and not to allow any transactions to go through if he goes in the bank with her again.

Though we're struggling to get through to my grandma about any of this. He's completely brainwashed her to a point she thinks he can do no wrong. It's got to a point where my grandma is pushing both me and my mum out, because she thinks we're controlling her and her money when we're trying to protect her. My uncle even mentioned to me today if my grandma was to pass away, he'd like me to rent the house out to him and his Gambian wife as he knows it goes to me. All he is doing is eying up her assets, nothing else. He mentioned earlier he'd like to help with the financial side of things and I've said no.

I keep trying to talk to my grandma as she always listens to me, but it's hard because he's always there. He's not letting her go out with any of us unless he's present, he's controlling her, and now wants to control her finances. 

I apologise for the long post but we're at our wits end ands fighting a losing battle. Any advice?

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  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 45,809
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    Hourglass - was Action on Elder Abuse - may be of use? 
    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • Myself and my mum are currently in a predicament, where my uncle has not been in my grandma and grandad's life for 20 - 25 years until my grandad passed away just short of four years ago, and has now managed to worm his way into my grandma's life.

    Whilst my grandad was unwell in 2017, he asked that I took care of my grandma's bank and finances to make sure money was going in and make sure all bills were paid and covered. After he passed away, myself and my grandma signed a Third-Party Mandate with the bank to allow me to manage her account. My grandparents also changed their will in 2014 to leave the house to myself on the agreement my mum lived there first, and I think leaving money to my mum.

    Since my grandad passed away, my grandma has become more and more frail, especially with her memory. My uncle got back in touch as soon as he found out my grandad had and my grandma has been meeting with him for the last few years for coffee, or he's helped her with shopping or other things around the house.

    She had a fall about six weeks ago that put her in hospital, where they mutually agreed he would move in 'To help her', to which from what's been said, we know he's forced her into it. When in hospital myself and mum gathered all cash in the house and put it into my grandma's bank account, and took her key to the safe too.

    Now me and my mum have never trusted him but we were fairly open to the idea of him caring for my grandma. But we've found him snooping around the property. An expensive lawnmower has gone missing, he was questioning me over some 'missing Sat Navs' of my grandad's, basically looking around for things he can clear out and sell. He's also since quit his job and claims he's struggling to find another, and he's paying no form of board to my grandma apart from paying for the supermarket shop each week. He's married a random woman he met on the internet in Gambia and we think he's sending money there too.

    Myself and mum have been giving my grandma £50 - £100 a week for herself and she's constantly asking us for more and more. When we ask where it's going, she claims she's still got it and hasn't spent it. When we then ask her why she needs more, she claims she hasn't got any and we're going around in circles.

    But this all kicked off a few days ago. I was checking my grandmas account online to check if a recent payment had come in, when it flagged up due to a fraudulent attempt, her account was suspended. I tried to sort this out and explain I was third party, but wasn't aware third party was branch only.
    Questioning my grandma, she's adamant she went into branch and forgot her pin code. But I don't think they'd suspend her entire bank for a forgotten pin surely? Just her card? And we're starting to think the branch suspected he was frauding her, or he's maybe asked for it transferring to his account so he can withdraw, or he's potentially attempted to phone up later on.

    Thankfully me and my mum registered a lasting power of attorney in April I am now processing this with the bank to gain access again. As well as I'd like to hopefully speak to somebody in branch about it, thank them for stopping the transactions and not to allow any transactions to go through if he goes in the bank with her again.

    Though we're struggling to get through to my grandma about any of this. He's completely brainwashed her to a point she thinks he can do no wrong. It's got to a point where my grandma is pushing both me and my mum out, because she thinks we're controlling her and her money when we're trying to protect her. My uncle even mentioned to me today if my grandma was to pass away, he'd like me to rent the house out to him and his Gambian wife as he knows it goes to me. All he is doing is eying up her assets, nothing else. He mentioned earlier he'd like to help with the financial side of things and I've said no.

    I keep trying to talk to my grandma as she always listens to me, but it's hard because he's always there. He's not letting her go out with any of us unless he's present, he's controlling her, and now wants to control her finances. 

    I apologise for the long post but we're at our wits end ands fighting a losing battle. Any advice?
    Have you asked your granny about what she thinks about your uncle coming back all of a sudden? Just a straight forward question
  • TBagpuss
    TBagpuss Posts: 11,198
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    The fact that he won't let you see her alone if a huge concern. 

    Can you and your mum act together to try to get round this? Maybe visit together and one of you try to get him out of the room (perhaps to discuss in private  how he can 'help', asking him if he's aware of who may have been trying to misuse her bank account and whether he knows of any way anyone other that you or your grandmother may have had access to it etc.?) while the other talks to your gran?

    If your gran still has mental capacity then it would be possible for her to revoke the POA and to change her will, you can't prevent that but it may be worth your flagging your concerns with her Doctor, both in terms of ho much you have noticed her memory deteriorating and how concerns you are at her son putting financial pressure on her .

    Age UK may be able to offer some further advice https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/relationships-family/protection-from-abuse/ 


    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
  • OldMusicGuy
    OldMusicGuy Posts: 1,744
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    edited 16 August 2021 at 4:11PM
    You may need to be ready for some tough times ahead. He is her son, and if she is of reasonably sound mind and decides to favour him, there is little you can do about it unless you can prove some form of abuse, which can be very hard.

    The same situation has happened to a friend of mine. Two siblings, one with a history of financial misdealings and no job, the other hard working and caring. Sibling 1 has wormed their way into the parents life, poisoned them and the family against sibling 2 and is getting their hands on the parents home and assets. Yet sibling 1 is able to put on a pretence to all that they are the caring one and the parents won't speak out against sibling 1, so sibling 2 can do nothing. In this case there is clear manipulation going on but the parents are allowing it and won't hear a word said against sibling 1. There is no physical abuse and nothing that appears abnormal but if you know the whole story it is very sad for sibling 2.

    Your uncle sounds very much like sibling 1 to me. On the surface he is helping out and can say to authorities and similar that he is reconnecting with his mother. You may know/believe different, but how will you prove it? Unless grandma is prepared to speak out against him, proving elder abuse will be difficult (and do you want to risk it?). 

    You need to be prepared for tough times and also you need to be careful you don't come across as the "controlling" ones. If you have control of the financial side of things then keep control but be calm and reasonable. Like TBagpuss said, your grandma can change the will and revoke the PoA and there may be little you can do to stop it. I would be wary of trying to push her to admit that your uncle is the "bad guy" in all of this.  
  • T.T.D
    T.T.D Posts: 219
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    edited 16 August 2021 at 9:40PM
    Hmm this can be rough country for you so be prepared.

    She’s not seen or heard from her Son for a long time, you may not have heard any versions of any dispute, but ultimately there may have been one for him to stray away for 20+ years and in the old days a wife was devoted to her husband him being in the wrong or not, it was just how it was, no matter how much she yearned for him if grandad made a decision she went along with it, and they stayed quiet over dispute because then things are deeply private to some especially older folk. 

    Now the decisions are hers and she could be feeling like people whom she loves, but who should go along with her decisions by rank are trying to overrule her, making her clutch in more tightly of him.

    I agree that there’s a form of manipulation going on, but if she willingly ignorant of it because she is enjoying his company and happy he’s back around, theres very little you can do other than accept that. 

    If her mental capacity is diminishing and her decision making abilities are being impacted, I would suggest speaking with GP and Charities that have already been mentioned, but prepare for backlash, having her assessed for such things like dementia could be the rod that breaks the back of trust for her of you. 

    I would try and have a more tactful approach than be all confrontational or accusing with him or about him. Operate in the background so to speak. 
  • Jlawson118
    Jlawson118 Posts: 1,132
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    Hi all, I apologise for the delayed response but I have read all of your replies and I thank you all!

    Myself and my mum tried to explain things to her last weekend but she wasn't having any of it, though I think as the week goes on she is starting to slowly realise what he is up to. I invited her around to my home yesterday for some dinner so that it could be the two of us and my grandma was telling me he was being a little bit controlling and didn't want to let her out.

    It was discussed a few months ago about transferring the ownership of my grandma's house over to me before it reaches the will and probate, which my grandma is adamant she wants to do this. It's just a difficult decision due to the inheritance tax laws, but positives I'd have more control if he slips up

    All we can do for now is keep an eye on the situation. Thank you all again for your advice! 
  • Pollycat
    Pollycat Posts: 34,478
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    Hi all, I apologise for the delayed response but I have read all of your replies and I thank you all!

    Myself and my mum tried to explain things to her last weekend but she wasn't having any of it, though I think as the week goes on she is starting to slowly realise what he is up to. I invited her around to my home yesterday for some dinner so that it could be the two of us and my grandma was telling me he was being a little bit controlling and didn't want to let her out.

    It was discussed a few months ago about transferring the ownership of my grandma's house over to me before it reaches the will and probate, which my grandma is adamant she wants to do this. It's just a difficult decision due to the inheritance tax laws, but positives I'd have more control if he slips up

    All we can do for now is keep an eye on the situation. Thank you all again for your advice! 
    Your gran may also need to consider Deprivation of Capital should she go into a care home.
    Deprivation of assets in social care (ageuk.org.uk)
  • RAS
    RAS Posts: 32,453
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    edited 23 August 2021 at 10:28AM
    Jlawson118

    Apart from deprivation of assets, which would mean that the Council refuse to fund any care for your grandmother, you both need to be aware that if she transfers the house to you and she continues to live there, it is a gift with reservation. That means IHT rules still apply if the house and other assets are worth more than the IHT limit.

    Of rather more use, get her to sign up for the Land Registry alert system, going to an email you use. And make sure she has a will written. A proper one organised by a solicitor who can talk her through all the issues like not leaving the house to someone in case the house has to be sold to fund care etc and the person she wants to benefit gets nothing..

    And see if she will agree to talk to one of the elder abuse charities who can help guide her on how to deal with her son.
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • Something that's to be considered, in the mix of all this, is - the older persons memory loss - they say something to the person nearest, then forget about it, get questioned about it days later and cannot recall clearly ...... and someone gets accused of all manner of things. 

    I work with these scenarios regularly and i see it happening, don't underestimate the fact that it happens all the time and the anxious environment etc. can worsen it.

    I've seen police involved and families split apart because of it and those of you caught up in the mess aren't the people that notice it happening, it's going to be a bumpy ride ahead - for all.

    Your GP can arrange for a Memory Clinic to check the older persons memory and that might be a good starting point here.

    I wish i could wave a magic wand over you all and make it better 🙏
  • Fresno66
    Fresno66 Posts: 10
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    Not sure if this is useful given a while has passed since the last message on here, but could you try recording conversations with your grandma on your phone? You can then play it back to clarify what was said and when.
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