Isolated Seniors Especially Vulnerable
Signs Of Financial Elder Abuse
Remedies And Protections For Seniors
Sadly, seniors are often targets of financial elder abuse from the very people they have entrusted to care for them or manage their financial affairs once they have lost the ability to manage for themselves. Potential abusers include in-home caregivers, financial advisors, persons with power of attorney over the senior’s affairs, trustees, life insurance agents, nursing facility staff, and others. Many cases of financial elder abuse, according to reports, remain unreported because the victim is embarrassed or ashamed by what has happened, or because they suffer from cognitive impairment and are unaware of the abuse. The financial elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. represent victims and their families in Los Gatos and throughout Santa Clara County in civil actions against all manner of elder abusers. Whatever the timing or form of financial elder abuse and whatever the amounts, any taking of a senior’s property, or any assistance in that taking is a crime and grounds for civil liability of the person doing the taking and anyone assisting him or her. California Penal Code § 368 and Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30 (definition of financial elder abuse). California broadly defines what constitutes financial elder or dependent adult abuse:
(a) “Financial abuse” of an elder or dependent adult occurs when a person or entity does any of the following:
(1) Takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult for a wrongful use or with intent to defraud, or both.
(2) Assists in taking, secreting, appropriating, obtaining, or retaining real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult for a wrongful use or with intent to defraud, or both.
(3) Takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains, or assists in taking, secreting, appropriating, obtaining, or retaining, real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult by undue influence, as defined in Section 15610.70.
If you or someone you know is the victim of financial elder abuse in Los Gatos or elsewhere in California, call Evans Law Firm today at 415-441-8669.
Spotting Signs of Financial Elder Abuse
A senior who is isolated and alone is easy prey for financial predators. In fact, isolation is a common denominator in most of the financial elder abuse we see at Evans Law Firm. If you’re the loved one of a senior, stay involved in the senior’s life and look for signs of financial elder abuse. Some red flags are:
- The senior transfers or wires unusually large amounts of money.
- There are suspicious withdrawals from accounts, strange credit card charges, and dubious checks written on the senior’s account.
- Longstanding accounts are closed and new accounts are opened.
- Important papers or valuables go missing.
- The senior is reluctant to discuss financial matters.
- The senior changes his or her Will, Trust, or other estate plan unexpectedly.
- The senior is confused about financial matters.
- A new individual or caregiver has quickly become overly involved in the senior’s life.
Remedies and Protections for Injured Seniors
Report financial elder abuse to the authorities when you first suspect it but also seek counsel to pursue all available remedies under California law including the mandatory award to you of attorneys’ fees for bringing your case. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657.5.
Also, take precautions early to guard against financial elder abuse. Do not relinquish authority by a Power of Attorney to anyone unless it’s someone you completely trust. Make sure checks are kept in a safe place. If in-home care is required, do a thorough background check on anyone before hiring them. Dependent seniors are often victims of financial elder abuse by caregivers. Keep an eye out for strangers who suddenly become over-involved in a senior’s daily life. Don’t respond to door-to-door, phone or internet solicitations for money; these are the most recurring types of financial elder abuse. Lastly, if you’re a senior, don’t isolate; let loved ones and longtime friends and professionals help you just as you helped them in your younger years. If you’re the loved one of a senior stay involved and maintain daily contact.
If you or a loved one been the victim of financial elder abuse in Los Gatos or elsewhere in California, contact financial elder abuse attorney Ingrid Evans and the other Evans Law Firm financial elder abuse attorneys at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>.