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Senior With Dementia Makes Huge Donation To Wisconsin Military Academy; Son Wants It Refunded

UPDATE: St. John's has agreed to return 100% of the money

LISLE, Ill. (CBS) -- This is a cautionary tale for people with elderly and generous parents.

A Lisle man said his dad donated thousands to a military academy in Wisconsin and now the son wants it refunded.

Why? Doctors say his dad has dementia and needs financial oversight.

But CBS 2 Morning Insider Tim McNicholas showed us Thursday how this can lead to tricky legal territory.

"And this is, I love this picture," said George Hillier.

Memories are important to Hillier and his family. His mom suffers from Alzheimer's and his dad has dementia.

"He talks about a student he had 20 years and then the next part, he won't remember what he had for breakfast that day," Hillier said.

Last year, his dad told him he'd recently donated to St. John's Northwestern Military Academy in Wisconsin, where he used to work.

At the time, George says he suspected his father's health was slipping but he didn't know he had dementia.

"He said, 'Well son,' and there was a pause," Hillier said. "He said, 'Son, that's easy to do when you have $63 million in the bank."

He says his dad doesn't have anywhere near $63 million.

"I laughed and I thought he was kidding me," Hillier said. "But then very shortly, I realized that he was dead serious."

That's when Hillier started to look further into his dad's health and learned from a family doctor that his dad has dementia.

He started to grow more concerned with his dad's finances. Turns out, his dad donated at least $16,000 to the school over the course of several months.

Hillier believes his dad may have intended to give a couple thousand, but as for the rest?

"They should return to us so I could use for their care," he said.

But in the eyes of St. John's, it's not that simple.

Emails show a back and forth between George's lawyers and the school's lawyers, regarding medical and legal documents.

In April of this year, Hillier's lawyer sent a letter from a doctor saying his dad has dementia and "requires oversight for financial matters."

But the school's lawyer said for a refund, they'd need more documentation. A school spokesperson said they're "still considering" the family's request.

They said they can't go into specifics because the case deals with complicated legal and medical issues.

"I'm hoping they'll see this story and think 'wow, were making a big mistake here with the Hilliers,'" he said.

Hillier says he moved his parents to a memory care facility earlier this year.

"They've had a great life together," he said.

St. John's says once they get the additional documents they've requested, they can move toward a resolution. They say George Hillier's parents are both beloved by their academy, and they want to make sure all the right steps are completed:

"In response to your inquiry, we have been in correspondence with the family and are still in the process of considering their request. Our attorneys have requested additional documents that once received, will allow us the ability to move forward with a satisfactory resolution. We recognize the sensitive nature of this matter given the complex medical and legal issues, and therefore are working to ensure the appropriate steps are completed. George and Janemarie Hillier were beloved during their long tenure as educators at our Academy and will continue to be admired by all our faculty, staff, and alumni for their selfless dedication which will resonate through their former students for years to come."

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