Financial exploitation of elders is on the rise and it is frequently those closest to the elderly person who take advantage of the vulnerability and loneliness that often accompany old age. When Arthur Green http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/consumer&id=8940005
signed his land and home over to his granddaughter he thought she would keep her promise to let him stay in the home for the rest of his life. Instead she proved to be acting in her own self interest when she attempted to have Arthur evicted so she could sell his home and land. Since Arthur’s home was his only asset, he would have been both penniless and potentially homeless had she succeeded. She did not succeed because Arthur was able to contact a program offering legal services to the elderly and get a court order to void the granddaughter’s deed. The property was then returned to Arthur.
Many stories of elder financial abuse do not end as happily for elder victims of financial exploitation.
There are plentiful resources which offer tips on identifying financial abuse and ways to prevent it or put a stop to it if it is already happening.
The National Center on Elder Abuse provides information and lists state agencies http://ncea.aoa.gov/Stop_Abuse/Get_Help/State/index.aspx
that provide assistance to those concerned about elder abuse, be it nursing home neglect, financial exploitation, caregiver fraud or physical neglect and abuse.
Some common forms of financial exploitation are:
•· Forging signatures on checks
•· Asking for loans that are never repaid
•· Abusing of power of attorney
Once an individual has power of attorney, that person has free access to financial accounts, bank accounts, real estate documents and the authority to make sweeping, irrevocable decisions, whether for good or ill. Before granting durable power of attorney to an individual, consult a qualified Elder Law attorney who can advise you on the consequences and legal implications.
Here are a few ways to prevent financial exploitation:
•· Have copies of financial statements sent to a trusted person who does not have power of attorney
•· Use direct deposit and automatic bill pay
•· Consult an Elder Law attorney
Protect yourself and your loved ones by seeking legal advice from an attorney who specializes in cases involving the victimization of seniors. The Evans Law Firm represents victims of elder abuse in California. If you or a loved one has been or may be the victim of financial exploitation, nursing home abuse or elder abuse, contact The Evans Law Firm for a free and confidential consultation at 415-441-8669 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.