Financial abuse of the elderly is becoming far too prevalent an issue to be ignored. According to MetLife, older Americans lose an estimated $26 million each year due to financial exploitation and abuse. It’s the kind of occurrence that, though devastating, could lead to legal remedy and justice when loved ones and family members are equipped with sound information and legal assistance.
What is Financial Abuse of the Elderly?
Financial abuse of the elderly occurs in a variety of ways. Ill-willed family members, care attendants or nursing home workers can sometimes resort to bribery, hidden threats or physical and emotional manipulation to solicit money or favors from the elderly. This is especially the case when the financial status of an elderly individual is well-known.
Financial abuse may also include:
- Forgery of signatures
- Use or property without permission
- Exposure to financial scams or schemes
- Use of deception and undue influence to obtain money or financial authority
- Promising favors, protection or special care in order to gain access to finances or private financial information
Financial abuse of the elderly is not limited to theft or robbery. It can also include coercion and fraud. This may happen even if an elderly individual is receiving fixed income or other types of government assistance. It’s important to be aware of the many ways that the safety of elderly individuals can be threatened, especially when their finances are accessible to those entrusted with their care.
Sources of Elder Financial Abuse
Financial abuse of the elderly can come from anyone. Telemarketers can use their influence to gain the confidence and trust of elderly individuals, leading to financial abuse. Children, grandchildren, other relatives, service workers, home care attendants and nursing home attendants can all be potential financial abusers.
It is important to carefully screen those who might have a negative relationship with elderly individuals, those with substance abuse or gambling issues as well as others who might have reason to financially abuse an elderly loved one.
Both federal and state law are in place to protect the elderly from financial abuse and can provide legal remedies and compensation when it occurs. These laws are designed to both prevent and address elderly financial abuse in ways that deter future abusers, compensate victims and families and hold those responsible accountable.
A number of nursing homes now use background and credit checks to screen applicants and to determine whether they are safe to work with elderly individuals who are often physically or mentally unable to prevent financial abuse from occurring. Even with such laws and policies in place, elderly financial abuse continues to be a cause for growing concern.
What To Do When You Suspect Financial Abuse
Financial abuse of the elderly is a serious matter that requires serious attention from a professional. In many cases only an attorney well-versed in the laws of the state and federal government can address the complex issues raised in cases of elderly financial abuse.
The attorneys at Shegerian & Associates have both the litigation skill and special expertise needed to directly address cases of financial abuse against the elderly. We are standing by to provide the legal counsel you need to get the justice you deserve. Contact us today to receive an initial consultation.