Protect Yourself And Loved Ones From Financial Elder Abuse
A Few Important Steps
Financial elder abuse strikes seniors of all income levels, rich and poor. Financial predators target isolated seniors especially and isolation is more common than ever for elders right now given the COVID-19 lockdown. The San Francisco and California financial elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. represent seniors who fall victim to financial elder abuse from caregivers, insurance agents, financial planners, girlfriends or boyfriends, trustees, and others. If you or someone you know is suffering elder abuse in Marin or elsewhere in California, call the elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm today at 415-441-8669, and we can help.
Absolute protection from financial elder abuse is probably never possible but there are steps a senior and his or her family can take to guard against it. Some of those are:
1. Automate bill payments and use direct deposits. Automating a senior’s bill payments with direct debits from their checking account will help them stay organized, while also minimizing the opportunity to get drawn into a financial scam.
2. Do not have cash lying around. Having a lot of cash around a senior who may need in-home assistance from a caregiver, is just asking for problems.
3. Name a trusted individual as an Attorney-in-Fact or Trustee. Set up Powers of Attorney or trusts early, while the senior still has capacity to authorize. Never ever give a Power of Attorney to a caregiver.
4. Create a trust. A trust can guard against caregivers and others getting their hands on a failing senior’s property, including their home. By putting a senior’s property in a trust with a trustworthy person as trustee, you can protect a senior’s assets from predators.
5. Do a background check on all in-home caregivers. Always check any individuals out before they come into your loved one’s home. Very often caregivers who steal from seniors have done it before.
Spotting Financial Abuse
After you’ve taken these steps, do not stop there. Review statements and talk with your senior loved one alone as often as you can and look for signs of financial elder abuse such as:
• Unexpected changes in wills, trusts, or powers of attorney.
• 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.
• The disappearance of valuable objects.
• 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
We want to repeat one important piece of advice: Never ever give a Power of Attorney to a caregiver. Also, if you suspect any financial elder abuse, notify the authorities and seek qualified financial elder abuse lawyers, such as the elder abuse lawyers at Evans Law Firm, to pursue all remedies available to California financial elder abuse victims including restitution (getting your money back), rescission (undoing an invalid contract), punitive damages, and recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in bringing a financial elder abuse action against wrongdoers.
If you or a loved one is or has been the victim of financial elder abuse or elder physical abuse or neglect in San Francisco or elsewhere in California, contact Ingrid M. Evans and the other nursing home abuse attorneys at the Evans Law Firm at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:email@example.com”>firstname.lastname@example.org</a>. 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.