Early Detection Important
All Seniors Are Potential Victims Of Financial Elder Abuse
What To Look For
Financial elder abuse is a crime and grounds for civil liability against any person who wrongfully takes money or property belonging to a senior, and anyone assisting that person or persons. See, e.g., Penal Code § 368 (crime of elder abuse); Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 15610.30(a)(definition of financial elder abuse). California law broadly defines what constitutes financial elder 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.
Evans Law Firm, Inc. represents victims of financial elder abuse from any source, be it caregivers, trustees, bookkeepers, persons with Powers of Attorney and others. Call us today at (415)441-8669 or TOLL FREE 1-888-80EVANS (888-503-8267) if any senior loved one has suffered any kind of financial elder abuse in Alameda County or elsewhere in California.
Warning Signs Of Financial Exploitation
Changes in money management. This can include changes in the individual’s money management, including changes in account balances, unusual account activity, opening or closing accounts, starting with a new bank or other financial institution, changes in spending habits, online banking activity where the senior never transacted online previously, missed bill payments, or disconnected utilities.
Changes in the people the individual associates with. This may involve association with new “friends” or care providers, people with unusual behavior, people who appear to control the individual’s actions or who try to isolate the individual, or people who withhold income or assets. Also be aware of others who pressure the individual into giving gifts, money, property, or “loans” the person has no intention of repayment.
Changes in legal documents or new legal documents. Newly executed documents that seem out of the ordinary, forged signatures, altered documents, pre-signed checks or withdrawal slips, or transfers made that the elderly individual does not understand. New Powers of Attorney are particularly dangerous. Never, ever, give a caregiver a Power of Attorney.
Changes in the individual’s behavior. This may include indications of fear, shame, or humiliation, unwillingness to talk or seek help, confusion about their finances, deterioration in health condition or untreated medical conditions. Indications of other types of abuse—like missing property, physical or emotional abuse or neglect—may also be warning signs that financial exploitation is taking place.
Recourses For Elder Financial Abuse And Theft
If you suspect anything wrong with respect to an older loved one’s finances, do something about it right away. Contact qualified elder counsel, such as Evans Law Firm, Inc. Counsel can you help you stop financial exploitation of an elder. If a person is exploiting them through a Power of Attorney, you can revoke a current power of attorney, execute a new power of attorney with different agents, appoint co-agents or a corporate fiduciary, and alert your financial institutions of the change in agents or other suspicious activity. Other remedies may include court involvement through the use of a restraining order, conservatorship, or guardianship. Victims and families can also bring a civil action against all parties responsible for the financial elder abuse. Awards of attorneys’ fees and expenses to the victims are mandatory where financial elder abuse has occurred. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657.5.
Ingrid M. Evans represents elder and dependent adults in San Francisco and throughout California who are victims of any kind of financial exploitation or other abuse. Ingrid can be reached at (415) 441-8669 or TOLL FREE 1-888-80EVANS (888-503-8267), or email us at <a href=”mailto:email@example.com”>firstname.lastname@example.org</a>.