How to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones Against Financial Elder Abuse
Financial Elder Abuse
Financial elder abuse comes in many forms, whether the abuser is a financial adviser or insurance agent, caregiver, or even a neighbor, friend or family member. Sadly, the family member category has become more common and is very difficult to detect, especially if the family member holds a power of attorney or has assumed guardianship over the senior. We recommend you follow the tips below in order to protect yourself and your loved ones, and prevent financial elder abuse by family members, friends, guardians, powers of attorney, and individuals of the like.
Tips for Prevention
1. Understand how these problems begin. Oftentimes, financial abuse of an elder either leads to or stems from social isolation and a deterioration of mental capacity. If you are an elder, stay active in your own life as much as you can; hold on to your financial affairs and be very careful about any delegation of authority over them. Keep in touch with other family members and friends; don’t isolate. If you are a family member and/or friend, keep in contact with the senior, ask questions, offer to accompany them to meetings, being a sounding board for advice they receive from others, In short, serve as a connected and integral part of their lives.
2. Shy away from signing documents that you have not read thoroughly. Never feel pressured to sign anything unless you are entirely comfortable with it. Never be afraid to seek a third-party opinion on documents. If you do sign, be sure to keep a copy of the document exactly as you signed it. If you are a trusted friend or family member, ask the senior about paperwork you may observe around the house.
3. Keep accounts and assets in your own name. Oftentimes abusers attempt to make a joint bank account with an elder in order to steal easy money. Not to mention, abusers have been known to ask for assets, such as the elder’s own home. In return, they offer the elder the security of knowing that the guardian will not leave them or put them in a facility. Yet, when the time comes, the guardian often takes off with the house, leaving the elder and his or her family with nothing.
4. If your financial adviser is a trusted individual in your life, then involve them in decisions. Never be afraid to ask an adviser if a purchase or decision makes sense, as they are oftenthe perfect third-party person to ask.
The Bottom Line
There are resources to help. It is important that you, as a senior, never feel alone or pressured into making a decision that is not the proper decision for yourself and your loved ones.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse in Santa Clara County or in any California county, 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.