Caregivers, Strangers And New “Friends” Exploiting Seniors
Taking Advantage Of Cognitive Impairment
Protecting Seniors From Financial Exploitation
Unscrupulous caregivers, new “friends,” and complete strangers may all exploit seniors financially. The means vary from straight theft of cash or checks, forgeries, and identity theft to more elaborate (or harder to detect) schemes like manipulation of estate planning documents, altering bank applications and account records, or online access of bank accounts. The most reliable way to avoid this kind of exploitation is to keep a senior’s financial, business and money well away from any such persons. And whatever you do, not to invite them in on any financial or business matters related to the senior. Never ever allow a senior loved one to give a caregiver a Power of Attorney or create a joint account with a caregiver. If you or a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse in Santa Clara County, San Francisco or anywhere in the Bay Area or throughout California, call us today at (415)441-8669. We will pursue all persons responsible for a senior’s injury. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
Access to Bank Accounts
Identity theft and online access to bank accounts is one way caregivers and others take a senior’s property but by closely monitoring bank activity and having a system for alerts on all accounts. You should be able to catch suspicious activity that way. Do not have cash accessible to any caregiver as there is no way you can police that remotely and if it’s gone, it’s gone. Unscrupulous caregivers of a senior may also cajole a senior into opening new bank accounts that you will not know about. Make it a hard and fast rule that your older loved one not making any bank or business trips without you present.
The bottom line here is that new bank accounts or new joint accounts are ALWAYS red flags when it comes to a senior. If you stay involved in a senior loved one’s life you can make sure they do not fall into this trap at the hands of someone who would take advantage of them. Under Probate Code §5302, unless there’s clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, the Joint Account balance belongs to the surviving party.
Preventing Financial Abuse Of Older Loved Ones
Simply put, do not allow an older loved one to create new or joint bank accounts unless you and all others in your family are involved in the decision and monitor the account after it is established. Take other steps to protect them too. Caregivers should not have access to cash, checks or credit cards in a senior’s home, or access to financial information like bank account numbers and Social Security numbers are kept away from a caregiver’s glance. Monitor credit cards and bank accounts online as frequently as possible. Have financial statements and important papers mailed to your own address so others do not have access to you loved one’s business mail. Never, ever grant a power of attorney to a caregiver or nursing home staff member. Accompany older loved ones whenever they go shopping or go to the bank or have any sort of meeting about financial matters.
If you suspect financial elder abuse of a loved one, friend or neighbor in Santa Clara County, San Francisco, or elsewhere in California, call Ingrid M. Evans at Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669, or by email at email@example.com. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267). Ingrid pursues all available remedies for families and injured seniors against those responsible, including an award of attorneys’ fees and costs for the victim or his or her family. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657.5.