Financial Elder Abuse: How To Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones From Scammers
Financial Elder Abuse
Elder abuse, particularly financial elder abuse, has become a national epidemic, and is not a problem or trend to be taken lightly. Elder financial abuse ruins lives, and too often is not detected until it is too late. There is an enormous human toll on seniors and their loved ones, and the stories of abuse are often heartbreaking. We’re impelled, as the New Year begins, to share some tips to remember and a few warning signs in the hopes you may spare a friend or loved one – or yourself – future harm.
Tips For Protection
Trust lies at the heart of any solid and sustainable human relationship, financial or otherwise. When it comes to money, trust greatly outweighs every other single consideration whether you’re picking a banker, broker, agent, advisor, or salesperson. Make sure you know the person you are giving your money to. By “know,” we mean check the person out, clear his or her references, ask around, do a background check and Google search, if he or she needs to be licensed, ask to see it. Meet the owner or boss of the firm you’re contact is with. Don’t let yourself be rushed into anything. You need to be absolutely sure you’re comfortable with the relationship going in. And let your financial advisor know you, too. Share your goals and be candid about your expectations. Keep the plan and the goals realistic. Don’t be lulled by smooth talk. Stick by your principles!
And avoid the overly-familiar financial advisor. Keep the relationship professional and separate your financial and business affairs from your personal life. A too close connection can brred over-reaching, especially when seniors are involved. Over the years, we’ve all heard or known of cases of over-reaching. One good example, is the suggestion by someone of using joint accounts at banks and brokerage firms. Please be careful here. While a joint account may sound superficially like a good idea, these types of accounts can be very dangerous. With the protection of someone else’s name on an account, individuals can tend to become irresponsible about paying bills, and loans. They may come to think of the money as solely theirs even though you may have gone into it with the unwritten idea of sharing 50/50. Don’t be fooled here: each joint tenant owns the whole account. The stakes are everything, not just half.
Never be afraid to consult with a professional about suspected financial elder abuse. It’s always better to act sooner rather than later. Sadly, in many cases, the financial abuse is not detected until it is too late. If you suspect anything, please act on it. You may not have another chance.
If you or a loved one has experienced or has questions about financial elder abuse in California, contact the Evans Law Firm elder attorneys at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.