Financial Elder Abuse—A Growing Problem
Financial elder abuse has become a real epidemic in this country. The statistics are alarming. One in nine seniors report being abused, neglected or exploited every year, with 1 in 20 older adults indicating some form of financial mistreatment. The real numbers are much higher. Elder abuse is vastly under-reported; only one in 44 cases of financial abuse is ever reported. 90% of abusers are family members or trusted others. Almost one in ten financial abuse victims will turn to Medicaid as a direct result of their own monies being stolen from them. Cognitive impairment and the need for help with activities of daily living make victims extremely vulnerable to financial abuse. The elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm have experience with financial elder abuse cases, representing seniors who have been financially abused by banks, nursing homes, caregivers, family members, insurance agents, and others. If you or an elder you know is being abused, call Evans Law Firm, Inc. today at 415-441-8669.
California Elder Abuse Law
In California, financial elder abuse laws apply to anyone 65 or older regardless of whether they have any diminished physical or mental capacity. Financial elder abuse occurs, under California law, when any person or entity “takes, secrets, appropriates, obtains or retains real or personal property of an elder for a wrongful use or with intent to defraud.” It also includes “assisting” in the taking of any property of someone 65 or older. The definition of “wrongful use” is: if the person “knew or should have known that this conduct is likely to be harmful to the elder.” Cal. Welfare & Institutions Code §15610.30.
The Bottom Line
Elder abuse comes in all forms, in all numbers, and from all corners. Truly, it can happen to anybody especially if they are isolated, trusting or naïve or if they suffer from cognitive impairment and dependency that often accompany old age. If you are an elder or have an elderly loved one, take the necessary steps for prevention. Check bank statements and be active in their lives. Do background checks on caregivers and advisors. Keep valuables, important papers and credit cards locked up. Keep an eye on expenditures and by all means don’t give anyone a Power of Attorney over your or the senior’s affairs unless you absolutely know you can trust the person appointed. Staying involved and proactive are the best ways to prevent financial elder abuse of someone you love.
We at Evans Law Firm advise that you always report any incident of financial elder abuse to the authorities. But California provides additional protections and awards for seniors to you also should pursue all available civil remedies. If you or a loved one been the victim of financial elder abuse in Marin County, or in any California county, contact the Evans Law Firm financial elder abuse attorneys at (415) 441-8669. Our attorneys have experience with complex financial contracts and large insurance companies. We can help guide your case through a 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.