Legal Question in Civil Litigation in Virginia

My ladyfriend's father (Bob, 96 years, widower) lives across the street from a long-time "friend." For many years, this friend (Robert, in 80s, single) would check on Bob, calling family if need be. Recently Robert's attitude has taken a dramatic change.

About 20 years ago, some remodeling work was done in Bob's kitchen. Robert was not involved in helping with this work, however he is now saying that maybe 10 years ago, he saw some of his hand tools at Bob's house. He now has started efforts at "recovering" these tools, by sending a registered letter to Bob indicating he will go "federal" in attempting to get them back. He gave a date by which they must be returned. Bob's two daughters, and a few other family members, cannot find any tools that remotely resemble what he is wanting.

Bob is very upset. I happen to think Robert is showing the onset of dementia (my mom had Alzheimer’s and went down the same path, I.e., accusing others of "stealing things).

How can we close this in an "adult" manner?

Asked on 9/28/17, 10:14 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Michael Hendrickson Law Office Michael E. Hendrickson

I would recommend that Bob's family member who is most familiar with this particular situation

write a measured response to Robert's threatening letter, i.e., firm but diplomatic, letting

Robert know that Bob's family members have thoroughly searched his personal belongings, and

have not been able to find "any tools that remotely resemble" what Robert is apparently seeking

to recover from his friend of many years, Bob.

(And, yes, unfortunately, what you've described in regard to Robert's recent behavior could

well be an early manifestation of the onset of dementia and a possibility which should

appropriately guide the tenor and tone of your response to Robert's letter.

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Answered on 10/06/17, 11:19 am

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