Preventing Financial Exploitation of Seniors
Tips on What to Watch For
Some $2.9 billion is taken from older Americans every year, with victims numbering in the millions. Older persons with Alzheimer’s or other cognitive impairment are especially at risk. The Marin County and California financial elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. represent victims of financial elder abuse whether at the hands of strangers, caregivers, trustees, conservators, financial advisors, or insurance agents selling inappropriate products like annuities or life insurance for a commission. If you or a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse in Marin, San Francisco or elsewhere in California, call our financial elder abuse lawyers today at (415)441-8669.
Here are some questions you should ask your senior loved one regularly:
- Has a salesperson, such as an insurance agent or reverse mortgage broker, approached him or her recently? Agents and brokers target seniors with commission-generating products, like annuities, insurance and reverse mortgages. Has he or she been invited to any “free lunch” seminars? If so, warn them not to go! Those are traps for hard sells.
- Has a caregiver come into their life who’s helping with bills and finances? This is a serious red flag. Do not allow caregivers access to any financial information or cards, checks or cash. If your loved one needs help paying bills/writing checks, get a professional fiduciary. A caregiver’s responsibility should be strictly limited to care and never extend to finances, money or important legal documents and never ever give a caregiver a power of attorney for finances or property.
- Does your loved one need help with investment decisions? Offer to help. The senior may be reluctant or embarrassed to ask for help even though they realize their ability to handle financial matters on their own is slipping.
- Are bills being paid on time? Look around the house for unpaid bills. They may be piling up.
- Has anyone approached the senior about managing his or her money? Financial advisors and “planners” target older persons. While professional help may be needed, use caution. Look for fee-based financial advisors and avoid any that earn commissions on sales to the senior.
- Are there financial safeguards like Powers of Attorney or Living Trusts in place? Safeguards are really useful but only work if the appointed attorney-in-fact or trustee is a trusted, competent, responsible individual.
Respond quickly if you suspect financial elder abuse of a loved one or friend. Marin Health & Human Services maintains a 24-hour hotline for reporting elder abuse at 415-473-2774. Be sure to notify Adult Protective Services and local police at once, but also reach out to counsel. Qualified financial elder abuse lawyers, such as the elder abuse lawyers at Evans Law Firm, will pursue all remedies available to seniors in California including restitution (getting your money back), rescission (undoing an invalid contract), extra damages, and recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in bringing a financial elder abuse action.
If you or someone you love is the victim of financial elder abuse by a caregiver, trustee, insurance agent, broker, financial advisor or other party, call Ingrid M. Evans and the other Marin County and California financial elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>. 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.