The Senior Safe Act: Encouraging Financial Institutions to Report Abuse
Financial elder abuse is an epidemic: each year over five million senior citizens fall victim to financial elder abuse. The financial toll is estimated at $30 billion annually. Alert bankers and financial advisors are the first line of defense against financial elder abuse; because they may be the first to detect financial exploitation of a senior’s financial arrangements. The new, federal Senior Safe Act empowers them to do something about it.
The Marin County and California elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. applaud the new law and hope financial institutions do their part to stem financial elder abuse of seniors. If you or a loved one has been the victim of such abuse, call our attorneys at (415)441-8669 and we can help. We fight for seniors against those who exploit them financially and know that financial institutions are on ground zero in the fight against such abuse. The Senior Safe Act provides those banks and other financial institutions immunity from liability for reporting financial abuse of a senior or dependent adult to the authorities. That immunity is only available, however, if the financial institution has first trained its employees on how to spot and report financial elder abuse. These training requirements may prove to be the most potent tool in spotting and stopping financial elder abuse where it often occurs – the teller window or bank officer’s desk.
The mandatory training includes instruction on (1) how to identify and report suspected exploitation of a senior citizen, (2) recognize common signs of financial exploitation, and (3) approach reporting and disclosure considerations while still protecting the privacy of the senior. The Act defines exploitation of a senior as the “fraudulent or otherwise illegal, unauthorized, or improper act or process of an individual, including a caregiver or a fiduciary that” –
- uses the resources of a senior citizen for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain; or
- results in depriving a senior citizen of rightful access to or use of benefits, resources, belongings, or assets.”
Section 303 of S.2155, now Public Law No. 115-174. The definition provides clues to likely exploitation: caregivers cashing seniors’ checks, agents under Powers of Attorney moving a senior’s money around or diverting it to other accounts, strangers accompanying seniors to banks and enticing them to open new accounts or add them to existing accounts, and so on. Common sense tells us the bankers may be the first to observe these suspicious activities.
Financial exploitation of seniors really is an epidemic and we hope the Senior Safe Act catches it before a senior is seriously harmed. If you or a loved one been the victim of financial elder abuse or securities fraud in Marin County or anywhere else in California, contact California financial elder abuse attorney Ingrid M. 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>. Our attorneys have experience with all types of financial elder abuse, investment and securities fraud and annuity fraud. We can help guide your case through a bench or jury trial, or toward an equitable settlement. We handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, qui tam and whistleblower law, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.