Rich Or Poor, The Elderly Are At Risk
National news coverage of elder abuse arose years ago primarily from the story of Brooke Astor, the 105-year-old New York socialite and philanthropist subjected to abuse at the end of her life. A similar story is unfolding in the newspapers now over the $500 million estate of another prominent New York philanthropist, George Kaufman. These stories grab headlines because the amounts of money at stake are so huge, the victims so glamorous, and the court battles so vicious. But make no mistake – financial elder abuse strikes everywhere and is by no means a problem just for the rich. All Marin seniors are potential victims and the predators are various.
The Marin financial elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm represent victims of financial elder abuse and their loved ones here in Marin and throughout California whether the financial elder abuse comes at the hands of strangers, caregivers, stock brokers, trustees, agents under a Power of Attorney, conservators, financial advisors or retirement planners, insurance agents selling inappropriate products like annuities or life insurance and others. If you or a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse in Marin County or elsewhere in California, call our financial elder abuse lawyers today at (415)441-8669.
How to Prevent Financial Elder Abuse
Early detection of financial elder abuse is your best defense. Report suspicions to the authorities but also contact elder abuse counsel to pursue those responsible. Signs of financial elder abuse may include:
- Unexpected changes in wills, trusts, or powers of attorney. (This is just what occurred in the Kaufman matter, where the senior’s fiduciary of many years was suddenly ousted in favor of the senior’s third wife.)
- Sale to the senior of an inappropriate annuity or life insurance policy.
- Changes in spending habits and cash withdrawals or different types of spending than the senior normally incurs.
- An unexplained increase in check cashing, transfers of money, ATM withdrawals, or credit card activity.
- Opening of a new bank or brokerage account (or multiple accounts) or changing banks and brokerage firms.
- Unpaid bills.
- Unusual increase in investment activity or change in investment style toward riskier or unregistered investments.
- A senior who is overly reluctant to discuss financial matters perhaps out of fear from retaliation from a caregiver or other abuser.
- Allowing a new “friend” or caregiver to make decisions on the elderly person’s behalf.
- A caregiver or other person screening the elder’s phone calls or going through their mail.
The onset of financial exploitation often begins slowly and gradually increases over time as the senior’s cognitive abilities deteriorate. Keep an eye on a loved one’s financial transactions and any caregiver assigned to the home or new “friends” surrounding the senior. Never ever give a Power of Attorney to a caregiver. Keep valuables, bank information and checkbooks in a secure place. Drop by unexpectedly and often to check in. Speak with your elderly loved one alone to find out how they’re doing; don’t let a caregiver lurk around as the senior may hesitate to open it in their presence if there’s a problem.
If you or someone you love is the victim of financial elder abuse by strangers or a caregiver, trustee, stock broker, insurance agent, financial advisor or other party here in Marin or elsewhere in California, call Ingrid M. Evans and the other financial elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our attorneys have experience with securities, annuity, and other investment fraud, financial elder abuse cases and complex qui tam or whistleblower cases including offshore tax avoidance cases, complex financial contract cases and cases against large insurance companies. We can help guide your case through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement. We also handle cases involving physical elder abuse, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.