Protecting Elderly Loved Ones From Financial Abuse

mature daughter with older mother embrace on the sofa

Elderly financial abuse is a distressing reality affecting many seniors, often perpetrated by those closest to them, such as caregivers or family members. As our loved ones age, they may become increasingly vulnerable to exploitation due to declining cognitive abilities or physical frailty. Recognizing the signs of financial abuse and taking proactive steps to protect elderly family members is crucial in safeguarding their financial well-being and overall quality of life.

Types of Financial Elder Abuse

Financial elder abuse can take various forms, ranging from outright theft and fraud to more subtle forms of manipulation and coercion. Common tactics employed by perpetrators include unauthorized use of credit cards or bank accounts, forging signatures on checks or legal documents, coercing the victim into changing wills or estate plans, and withholding necessary care or resources unless the victim complies with the abuser’s demands. In many cases, the abuse goes unreported or unrecognized due to the victim’s fear, shame or dependency on the perpetrator.

Signs of Elder Abuse

It is essential to remain vigilant for signs of financial abuse, which may include unexplained withdrawals or transfers of funds, sudden changes in financial documents or beneficiaries, unpaid bills despite adequate financial resources, and the sudden appearance of new acquaintances claiming undue influence over the victim’s decisions. Additionally, behavioral changes such as increased anxiety, withdrawal, or reluctance to discuss financial matters may also indicate possible abuse.

Legal Action for Elder Abuse

If financial abuse is suspected, it is vital to take immediate action to protect the elderly loved one and their assets. One crucial step is to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney who can provide guidance and legal support in navigating the complexities of elder abuse cases. An attorney can assess the situation, gather evidence of abuse, and take legal action to safeguard the victim’s assets and well-being.

In cases where the perpetrator is a caregiver or family member, it may be necessary to pursue legal remedies such as obtaining restraining orders, freezing bank accounts or pursuing civil litigation to recover stolen assets. An attorney can also assist in reporting the abuse to the appropriate authorities, such as adult protective services or law enforcement, to ensure that the perpetrator is held accountable for their actions.

An estate planning attorney can help elderly individuals implement safeguards to protect against future abuse, such as establishing durable powers of attorney, creating trusts with designated trustees, and executing advance directives for healthcare decisions. These legal instruments can provide a layer of protection against exploitation and ensure that the elderly individual’s wishes are honored even in the event of incapacity or vulnerability.

Ultimately, protecting elderly loved ones from financial abuse requires a proactive and vigilant approach, coupled with the expertise of qualified legal professionals. By recognizing the signs of abuse, seeking legal guidance, and implementing preventive measures, families can safeguard their elderly relatives and provide them with the support and protection they deserve in their golden years. If you suspect an elderly loved one is a victim of financial elder abuse, contact our team at Turner Law immediately. Call our estate planning law firm in Atlanta, GA, to schedule an elder abuse legal consultation to discuss your options.

Posted on the behalf of Turner Law, LLC