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What to Do If You Suspect Elder Financial Abuse

Updated: May 18

What are the steps to report elder financial abuse?
Elder Financial Abuse

Elder financial abuse is a serious crime that affects millions of elderly adults each year. As people age, they may become more vulnerable to scams and financial exploitation, making them prime targets for criminals. Elder financial abuse can have devastating consequences, including financial ruin, loss of independence, and emotional distress.

Let’s discuss elder financial abuse, how to recognize the signs, what to do if you suspect someone you know is a victim of elder financial abuse, and how a Houston elder law attorney can help.

What Is Elder Financial Abuse?

Elder financial abuse occurs when an elderly person is exploited or taken advantage of financially.

This can happen in many ways, such as:

  1. Stealing money or property

  2. Forging a signature on a check or legal document

  3. Using undue influence to take control of an elderly person’s finances

  4. Convincing an elderly person to make investments that are not in their best interest

  5. Persuading an elderly person to change their estate plan

Signs of Elder Financial Abuse

Elder financial abuse can be difficult to detect, as victims may be hesitant to report the abuse out of fear, embarrassment, or shame.

However, some common signs may indicate that an elderly person is being financially abused:

  1. Unexplained financial transactions — These may include large withdrawals from bank accounts, unauthorized use of credit cards, or the sudden sale of property or other assets.

  2. Changes in financial behavior — For example, they may stop paying bills, become secretive about their finances, or become overly concerned about their financial situation.

  3. Sudden changes to wills or estate plans — This may include changes that benefit someone who is not a family member or changes that go against the elderly person’s wishes.

  4. Isolation — If an elderly person becomes isolated from family and friends, this could be a sign of financial abuse. Abusers may try to isolate their victims to exert greater control over their finances.

What to Do If You Suspect Elder Financial Abuse

If you suspect that someone you know is being financially abused, there are several steps you can take:

  1. Talk to the elderly person. The first step is to talk to them about your concerns. Be gentle and understanding, and tell them you are there to help.

  2. Report the abuse. The next step is to report the abuse to the authorities. This may include local law enforcement, adult protective services, or a state agency investigating elder abuse.

  3. Contact an attorney. You may also want to contact an attorney specializing in elder law. We can help you navigate the legal system and take steps to protect the elderly person’s assets and finances.

  4. Document everything. If you suspect an elderly person is being financially abused, it is important to document everything. This may include bank statements, credit card statements, and any other financial records that may be relevant.

Suspect Elder Financial Abuse? Contact an Experienced Elder Law Attorney Right Away

Elder financial abuse is a serious crime with devastating consequences for its victims. If you suspect someone you know is being financially abused, it is important to take action. Those victimizing your loved one need to be held accountable, and your loved one deserves justice and protection.

Contact us today at Your Legacy Legal Care. By working together, we can help protect our elderly loved ones from financial exploitation.

FAQ: Elder Financial Abuse

What is the punishment for elder financial abuse?

The punishment for elder financial abuse varies depending on the severity of the crime and the laws in the state where the abuse occurred. Sometimes, the abuser may face fines, probation, or imprisonment. In addition to criminal penalties, the victim may also be able to pursue civil action against the abuser.

What are some ways to prevent elder financial abuse?

Several steps can be taken to help prevent elder financial abuse. These include educating elderly adults about the warning signs of financial abuse, helping them set up automatic bill payments and direct deposit, encouraging them to only work with reputable financial professionals, and monitoring their accounts for any unusual activity.

It’s also important to set up a power of attorney document to reduce the chances of financial exploitation.

Who is most likely to commit elder financial abuse?

Anyone can commit elder financial abuse, but it is most commonly committed by family members, caregivers, and other people who have close relationships with the victim.

What resources are available for victims of elder financial abuse?

Victims of elder financial abuse may get help from various resources, including law enforcement, adult protective services, and organizations that advocate for the rights of the elderly. It is important to seek help immediately to protect the victim’s assets and prevent further abuse.

For more guidance, contact our office at (281) 218-0880 or schedule online to meet with a member of our team today!

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