Financial Exploitation of the Elderly
What is Financial Exploitation of the Elderly?
Financial exploitation of the elderly occurs when a relative or caregiver of an elderly person steals, withholds, or otherwise misuses that elderly person's money, property, or valuables for personal advantage or profit.
What are Some Common Methods of Financial Exploitation of the Elderly?
There are many methods that relatives and caregivers may use to exploit the elderly. These may include:
- Taking the victim's money, property, or valuables
- Borrowing money and not paying it back
- Giving away the victim's possessions without permission
- Misusing ATM or credit cards
- Forcing the victim to part with resources or property
Offenders may use deceit, intimidation, emotional abuse, or the promise of lifelong care in coercing the victim. They may also try to isolate the victim from concerned parties, such as other family members or friends. They may also try to exploit certain financial arrangements, including:
- Joint Bank Accounts: Having the offender's name added to the victim's account, allowing him to deposit, withdraw, or transfer funds
- Deed or Title Transfer: Transferring ownership of property to the offender, possibly as a result of force or intimidation
- Power of Attorney: Misusing the power of attorney by forcing the victim to agree to it, by making decisions that benefit the offender, or using the power for other unintended purposes
- Living Trusts and Wills: Having himself named manager of the victim's trust or inducing the victim to change her will to include the offender as a beneficiary
How Can I Tell if an Elderly Person is Being Financially Exploited?
Financial exploitation of the elderly is difficult to recognize. The victim may be unaware or even deny any abuse. There is a much more emotional impact on the victim, as he may be reluctant to see his relative or caregiver apprehended, for fear of being alone.
Still, there are some indicators that may suggest financial exploitation, including:
- A relative or caregiver with no means of support who is suddenly interested in the elder's finances
- The elderly person's bills are not being paid
- A relative or caregiver who isolates the elder
- The elder is unaware of or unable to explain the arrangements of his finances
- Checking account and credit card statements are sent to the relative or caregiver
- The elder is concerned about missing money
- Suspicious signatures on checks
- A legal document, such as a will or power of attorney, is drafted without the elder fully appreciating its implications
What Should I Do if an Elderly Person I Care about is Being Financially Exploited?
It can be difficult to show that an elderly person is in fact being financially exploited by a relative or caregiver. An experienced family lawyer can help you prove that your loved one is being exploited. A family lawyer also can help you undo some of the damage that the relative or caregiver has done.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 09-14-2012 02:45 PM PDT