Safeguarding Our Seniors from Elder Financial Abuse

Elderly individuals are often vulnerable in a variety of ways – mentally, emotionally, and physically. This makes them prime targets for financial abuse, and unfortunately, this silent crime often goes unnoticed and unreported, leaving victims without the resources they need later in life. In this article, we will delve into the complexities of elder financial abuse and provide practical steps for preventing and recovering from such exploitation.

What is Elder Financial Abuse? 

Financial abuse is a form of mistreatment involves taking advantage of older individuals and benefiting from their monetary resources in an unfair or criminal manner. Abusers may gain unauthorized access to someone’s financial information, making it very challenging to uncover evidence. This abuse can occur in both domestic and institutional settings, with family members, business associates, caregivers, trusted advisors, or strangers being the perpetrators.

What Forms Does Financial Exploitation of Older Adults Take? 

Financial exploitation of the elderly can take many forms. Here are 10 of the most common: 

  • Theft
  • Improper use of funds
  • Power of attorney abuse
  • Fraud and scams
  • Identity theft
  • Abusing family agreements
  • Threats and intimidation
  • Inheritance pressure
  • Failure to provide agreed-upon care after financial exchange
  • Emotional blackmail

What Factors Leave Older People at Risk of Financial Abuse? 

Poor physical health, cognitive impairment, difficulty in performing daily activities, and social isolation are high-risk factors for elder financial abuse. Paying attention to these warning signs and providing support is crucial to ensuring the financial well-being of the elderly.

How Can Seniors Be Protected from Financial Abuse? 

Careful planning and precautions are crucial in preventing elder financial abuse, but the biggest protection you can provide is remaining actively involved and aware of new developments in the elderly person’s life and finances. You can also help by encouraging them to:

  • Seek sound professional advice before making any major financial moves
  • Safeguard important documents
  • Establish strong relationships with bankers
  • Report any suspicions they may have

Finally, educate your elderly loved one about scam prevention and the warning signs of common scams as they evolve over time. 

What Are the Warning Signs that Financial Abuse Has Taken Place?

Recognizing signs of financial abuse is crucial. Sudden lifestyle changes, opposition to necessary care, unexplained emotional withdrawal, reluctance to discuss financial matters, and strange or controlling behavior by new caregivers are major red flags. Other signs to look out for include:

  • Recent changes to legal documents like wills, mortgages, trusts, and deeds.
  • Quick drawdowns in financial accounts
  • New accounts being opened without the account owner’s knowledge
  • Increased activity in existing financial accounts

How Should I Respond to Signs of Elder Financial Abuse?

If you have identified warning signs of financial abuse, approach the conversation with patience and empathy. Encourage your loved one to immediately secure all bank accounts and cards, file a fraud alert with credit bureaus, and report the incidents to the relevant authorities. 

Additionally, if the elderly person has lost money in investments or retirement accounts to fraud, scams, or another form of financial abuse, contact an investment fraud attorney who can work on their behalf to attempt to recover their lost funds. 

Take the next steps to find out if you have a claim:

Step 1.

Talk to an Experienced Attorney Today

Call and speak to one of our attorneys* for a no-cost consultation to discuss your situation, answer your questions, and help you determine the next steps. This call usually takes about 15 minutes, but we are happy to talk to you as long as you would like!

Step 2.

Quick Review of Your Paperwork

If we think you might have a case, we will need to review a few basic documents. If we determine you have a case, then you will have the option to hire us as your attorneys to pursue it.

Step 3.

Signed Attorney/Client Agreement

If you decide to hire us to pursue your case, we will have you sign an attorney-client agreement so we can begin the process of trying to recover your losses.*

*In the vast majority of cases, our agreement is contingent – meaning you won’t owe us any money unless we recover money for you.

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This site contains attorney advertising. The attorneys at ChapmanAlbin are licensed to practice law in Ohio and Michigan. Any reference to past cases or successes made herein should not be construed as a guarantee of any future outcome. Each client and each client’s case is unique, and no result or outcome is or can ever be guaranteed. The information provided in this website is offered for general information purposes only; it is not offered as and does not constitute legal advice in any way. // Disclaimer