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Jan 23, 2014 by |

Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Financial Elder Abuse

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Dealing with dementia in a parent or older relative is never easy, and having to handle issues of money or control with that family member or other relatives can put unnecessary stress on an already painful situation. Unfortunately, untrustworthy family members may use these trying times to take advantage of the sick person and access their money or assets for their own benefit. Such abuse can constitute financial elder abuse, California lawyers in Marin County say, and should be dealt with immediately to avoid further loss.

In several common scenarios, an aging family member may have easily accessible funds, and may be taken advantage of by a child, sister, or other close member. A deceitful person may use undue influence to go behind the caretaker’s back, and convince the elderly person to withdraw funds and use them unwisely. Some examples may include giving the money directly to the deceitful person, donating to charities, putting into an account earmarked for different purposes, or spending it on the other person’s wants and needs. In a position of undue power, a family member can convince an aging loved one that the money is better spent not on the owner, but on other things that the family member may want to purchase or fund.

In these cases, it is best to get a financial elder abuse lawyer involved right away. Coercing a family member with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or any other mind-altering disease into giving away his or her money is always considered a form of financial elder abuse, and has serious consequences. Persons found guilty of manipulating an older family member and stealing their money can be sentenced to jail time, or be forced to make restitution. If convicted, a person who has stolen funds from an older person can be held liable for twice the value of the funds recovered, as well as any court or attorney’s fees.

According to financial elder abuse attorneys in Marin County, California, the first step in proving fraud will be establishing whether or not the greedy person has exerted “undue influence” over the elderly family member. Undue influence can be considered any actions of excessive persuasion that manipulate or override a person’s free will and wishes to change their desired actions. This influence is evaluated based on the victim’s vulnerability, the authority of the influencer and the actions he or she has taken in order to exert this influence, and the end result.

One of the best ways to avoid exposing loved ones to fraud and financial abuse is to appoint a trusted person as power of attorney. If a fraudulent situation has been discovered, and no one is currently acting as the powerof attorney, the older person must be immediately tested by a psychologist or a neurologist to determine whether he or she is mentally competent to sign the appropriate paperwork to appoint a POA. With those documents in place, a reliable family member can help block fraudulent attempts to access the funds, and ensure that the older person does not lose track of money or receive unnecessary pressure to withdraw any money.

Financial elder abuse is an ongoing problem across California, and at the Evans Law Firm, our elder abuse attorneys work hard to combat fraud and abuse across several counties. Contact a financial elder abuse lawyer at Evans Law for a consultation today – 415- 441-8669

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