Warsaw, IN asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for Indiana

Q: My 89 year old father wants to get married to his 77 year old girlfriend who he has been dating for a year.

He now wants to include her in the will. He wants to make all the decisions on this and will not let his adult children help make this decision. He has some dementia, gets confused easily and should probably be in a nursing home. As of right now he had a will made out 7 years ago with me being the POA. He was splitting everything 3 ways with my brother and sister. I am beside myself that his new girlfriend will get everything. Please help!

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
James A Hanson
James A Hanson
  • Fort Wayne, IN
  • Licensed in Indiana

A: Up front, it is important to remember that your father's property belongs to your father. He can give it to whomever he wants at any time.

With that said, the situation you describe does raise some red flags.

First, there is the issue of your father's capacity to make decisions form himself. Dementia is a particularly ugly and problematic disease because the individual may generally have legal capacity with just moments of confusion or disorientation form a long time before the confusion reaches the level of full legal incapacity. You should consult with an attorney in your jurisdiction regarding what documentations, diagnoses, etc., you will need to determine if your father is legally incapacitated.

Second, there is the issue of undue influence. Often this happens when one of the children moves back in with a parent and then takes over the day-to-day business for the parent to the exclusion of the other children. Your situation is similar where a romantic interest may be exerting significant influence over your father's decision-making. Again, you should consult with an attorney in your jurisdiction regarding what evidence you will need to determine whether or not this girlfriend is exerting undue influence over your father.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.