Posted by: Anonymous | 2009/04/30

Follow up on bullying uncle


Hi Doctor. Thank you for your advice. She built a flat on HIS property with HER money...and now he can' t afford to pay her rent, as he sold his property (which included the flat).

Things have changed slightly since my last email. Gran is still in hospital and the uncle in question has come to visit. It seems that she will still be able to live at ' home'  but with a nurse to assist her. He says there is no way he can afford her rent - so the choices are either we use all her savings (if there is much at all, I don' t know) or we all have to chip in to help. Now, I don' t resent helping gran at all - but why should this man get away with ' stealing'  her money and then saying he can' t afford it anymore. He should have thought about that before he asked her to build on his property AND he should have spoken to the key players in the family before deciding to pack up and sell and move to Cape Town.

My question is what do we do in this situation, and how do we approach him. He feels he' s paid her back (as he' s been paying her rent) but our argument is - she should have had free accomodation for the rest of her life, as she put all her money into that place at the time thinking this was the case. I know i' m rambling...but it' s so distressing.

The uncle' s daughter is just as pushy, and is apparently making a big salary down in CT. Shouldn' t they have to make a plan between themselves, before admitting defeat and running off the sinking ships like a pack of rats?? Thank you for your help.

Subject: Bullying uncle
Posted by: Anonymous | 24/4/2009

Hi there. My family has a major problem. There are 3 kids in the family all with their own kids. The youngest however is the ' favourite' , and is able to manipulate our gran to no end. When our grandpa died, he didn'  t allow anyone to see the will etc, and got her to built a flat on his property with her money. She has stayed there for the last 20 years or so. Recently, he moved to Cape Town and sold the house. She does not know that he is now renting her flat for her from the new owner. He doesn'  t have the money to continue supporting her, but she is not aware of this.

She has recently been admitted to hospital and is going to need care after discharge. He has said he wants to take her to Cape Town, but the rest of the family don'  t want her to go. It would be better to stay in Durban with all her friends and the rest of her family...but he is adamant that she must move. THis may sound like a great gesture from his side, but he is a serial bully and we know it'  s to take over her finances.

How do we stop a person like this bullying his older brother and sister and convince gran that it is for her own good to stay where she is?? How do we approach this bullying uncle and his family?

Posted by: Cybershrink | 24/4/2009

Check with a lawyer, I think it is required that all wills must be publically available at some stage, and if they can check and find this one was not carried out properly, the executor who did this wrongly could be in serious trouble.
And I think anyone such as the person' s children, with a reasonable claim to have a proper interest in the will' s contents, I think ought to be allowed to read it. If this was 20 years ago, you could probably still check usefully.
Is she mentally competent to handle all this ? IF possibly not, consult a good lawyer, as it may be necessary to have a court appoint a trustee to act on her behalf, and look into what has happened. I don' t understand, if the flat was on HER land, how he could have sold it at all.
I doubt that the law will allow one person, like your uncle, to make all these decisions for her, simply because he wants to do so

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Our expert says:
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Again, good legal advice is essential, as the ultimate issue is likely to be what is possible, not, sadly, what would be fair. As the flat or whatever, she built on his property added to its value, I'd have thought he should have paid her a proportion of the profits from his sale, to make up for that.
And one of the lessons we all need to learn from this is that even though it seems you ought to be able to trust your family, one ultimaely cannot, and agreements have to be in writing --- one can't just "assume" that an arrangement will be for life. I think somewhere in law verbal agreements can be binding, but NOT when it comes to property. This might be counted against her on the argument that any long0term agreement about her right to live there should have been i writing, but then any agreement that he could sell it from under her feet and take the extra profit, should have been in writing, too. And there may be something in law about selling property with a sitting tenant. Find a good lawyer. And check out whetherm, in view of her tender financial state, the free law clinic at your nearest Law School could help at little or no cost, and maybe even the Human Rights Commission could be interested

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