Financial Elder Abuse – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Elderly Legal and Financial Planning Glossary

What is Financial Elder Abuse?

Financial elder abuse refers to the illegal or improper use of an elderly person’s funds, property, or assets. This type of abuse can take many forms, including theft, fraud, scams, coercion, or undue influence. It is a serious and growing problem that can have devastating consequences for older adults, including financial ruin, loss of independence, and emotional distress.

How to Recognize Signs of Financial Elder Abuse

There are several warning signs that may indicate financial elder abuse is taking place. These can include sudden changes in the elderly person’s financial situation, such as unexplained withdrawals or transfers of money, missing valuables or personal belongings, unpaid bills despite having enough funds, or sudden changes to wills or other legal documents. Other signs may include the elder person being isolated from family and friends, showing signs of fear or anxiety around certain individuals, or being unable to explain their financial decisions.

What are the Common Perpetrators of Financial Elder Abuse?

Perpetrators of financial elder abuse can come from various backgrounds and may include family members, caregivers, financial advisors, or even strangers who target vulnerable older adults. Family members may exploit their elderly relatives for financial gain, caregivers may take advantage of their position of trust to steal money or assets, and financial advisors may engage in fraudulent activities to profit from their elderly clients. It is important to be aware of the potential perpetrators and take steps to protect older adults from financial exploitation.

How to Prevent Financial Elder Abuse

There are several steps that can be taken to prevent financial elder abuse from occurring. These include staying involved in the elderly person’s financial affairs, monitoring their accounts for any suspicious activity, setting up direct deposit for their income, and discussing their financial plans and wishes with them. It is also important to educate older adults about common scams and fraud schemes, and to encourage them to seek help if they suspect they are being financially exploited.

What to Do if You Suspect Financial Elder Abuse

If you suspect that an elderly person is being financially abused, it is important to take action immediately. This can include contacting adult protective services, reporting the abuse to law enforcement, or seeking help from a legal or financial advisor. It is crucial to gather any evidence of the abuse, such as bank statements, legal documents, or witness statements, and to document any suspicious behavior or transactions. By taking swift action, you can help protect the elderly person from further harm and hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions.

What Legal Recourse is Available for Victims of Financial Elder Abuse?

Victims of financial elder abuse may have legal recourse available to them to seek justice and recover their losses. This can include filing a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator for damages, seeking a restraining order to prevent further abuse, or reporting the abuse to law enforcement for criminal prosecution. In some cases, victims may also be entitled to compensation through restitution or other financial remedies. It is important to consult with a legal professional who specializes in elder law to explore all available options for seeking justice and holding the perpetrators accountable.