Seniors At Greatest Risk
Pick Up On Common Warning Signs
Get Help From Counsel
Financial exploitation of seniors is an all-too-common form of elder abuse that is believed to cost older Americans an estimated $3 billion annually and perhaps much more. The economic toll is only the tip of the iceberg; seniors who are victims of abuse have a mortality rate three times that have older persons who are never victims Financial predators vary from in-home caregivers to insurance agents and stockbrokers and on to trustees, financial advisors, and persons acting with a senior’s Power of Attorney. A common denominator in most cases is the isolation of the senior. If you suspect any financial abuse of an older loved one here in Marin, elsewhere in the Bay Area, or anywhere else in California, call the elder abuse lawyers at Evans Law Firm, Inc. today at (415)441-8669 and we can help.
When Seniors Are At Greatest Risk of Financial Exploitation
Financial exploitation is the illegal or improper taking of an older adult’s money, property or assets, and can be committed by a known and trusted individual or a complete stranger. While financial exploitation can happen to anyone, older adults may find themselves more at risk if they:
- Are socially isolated.
- Rely on family members or friends to handle their finances.
- Have difficulty understanding their finances.
- Recently lost a spouse or loved one who handled household finances.
Never ever give a caregiver a Power of Attorney. That step alone perhaps presents the greatest risk of financial exploitation. Also, if your older loved one is taken from home or a nursing facility to the hospital, be sure to keep their wallet or pocketbook with you. Our litigators have seen multiple incidences where a hospitalized senior’s pocketbook or wallet are stolen or rifled through by their own caregivers or aides.
Warning Signs of Financial Exploitation
The following warning signs may help you recognize financial exploitation any possible financial exploitation going on in a senior loved one’s life:
- Unexplained or odd financial activity. Any unexplained financial activity or financial activity that exceeds financial resources. Examples include increased or unexplained credit card activity or ATM withdrawals, new accounts/new banks, and the addition of authorized users to any financial accounts without the owner’s knowledge or consent.
- Changes without consent or notification. Any changes to credit cards, property titles, deeds, mortgages, Powers of Attorney, wills, trusts or other documents without authorization. If your loved one has suffered a stroke or going through the onset of dementia, be particularly vigilant about “new” legal instruments. Caregivers and other may take advantage of a stroke victim or cognitively impaired older person to get them to sign new documents benefitting them.
- Threats. Intimidation is a real tool in a greedy caregiver’s or other person’s strategy in manipulating a senior for their own advantage. A caregiver may, for example, threaten an older adult with punishment, harm, neglect or abandonment if certain actions aren’t taken. Threats may include refusal to use funds for necessary care and treatment; an attempt to remove an individual from their home; or denied access to friends, family or other resources.
- Manipulation. If a caregiver asks an older adult to take on financial responsibilities without regard to the needs of the older adult. Our litigators have seen cases where a caregiver preys on a senior to buy them a home, a new car, provide their children money, or pay for a vacation or expensive gifts.
Whenever you sense any possible financial exploitation of an older person, act at once. Financial predators strike quickly, and once they sense they can get away with theft or exploitation, the amounts only grow. Rarely will a financial abuser just “stop” what they’re doing. Call the authorities but also call elder law counsel like Ingrid M. Evans and the other elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. right away. Elder abusers inflict real harm in a very short amount of time and there are time limits for bringing cases. Ingrid and our other elder abuse attorneys can be reached at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.