The Bristol Press – SENIOR SIGNALS: Warning Signs of Financial Abuse of Seniors
A survey by the National Center on Elder Abuse found an almost 20% increase in reported incidents of elder abuse over a four-year period.
Elder abuse takes many forms and includes physical, psychological, emotional, verbal, sexual or financial abuse of an older person.
Financial abuse of the elderly, a growing problem in the United States, is often referred to as “exploitation of adults” and defined as “the unlawful use of an incapable adult or his or her resources for the gain or benefit of an incapable adult. other person “.
Theft, embezzlement, forgery and extortion are examples of acquiring an older person’s resources through the use of that person’s mental or physical disability. These types of elder abuse are often difficult for older family members to recognize and prevent, as they are usually accomplished through the use of covert, subtle, and deceptive means.
The difficulty of recognizing and preventing financial abuse of older adults is compounded by the fact that, in many cases, financial abuse is perpetrated by a trusted family member or caregiver. In fact, it is estimated that there could be at least 5 million elderly people who are financially abused in this country each year and that only 1 in 44 incidents of financial abuse against the elderly is reported, according to the National Adult. Protective Services Association (NAPSA).
Even though financial abuse of the elderly is difficult to recognize, the following warning signs need further investigation:
Unexplained disappearance of funds, valuables or personal effects
ï® The presence of an adult child who is financially dependent on the elderly person
The sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives or friends or an unusual household composition
Sudden transfer of ownership or savings
Overpayments for care or services
ï® The elderly person often does not know the amount of their income, cannot account for their money, or the person’s financial documents are no longer sent to their home.
ï® Depleted bank accounts, returned checks or chronic failure to pay bills
ï® Modification of the power of attorney or the will of the elderly person.
The elderly person is kept isolated. Isolation can be physical or social, or it can be isolated from the decision-making process.
ï® Signatures on checks that do not look like the senior’s signature
ï® The elderly person declares to have signed papers and does not know what was signed.
The presence of any of these warning signs in and of itself does not support the conclusion that there has been financial abuse of the elderly, but it does suggest that the person concerned with the well-being of the potential victim should assess and investigate the circumstances until the person concerned is satisfied that there has been no financial abuse.
If the affected person is not satisfied with the explanation provided or meets resistance in trying to obtain information, then the affected person should contact a lawyer experienced in dealing with elder abuse for assistance. in the assessment of the situation. Legal advice may include a request for a tally or contact with local police or adult protection services, and may also include a request for legal redress for breach of fiduciary duty, theft or fraud.
Lawyer Daniel O. Tully is a partner with the law firm Kilbourne & Tully, PC, members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys Inc., whose offices are located at 120 Laurel St., Bristol. (860) 5831341 or ktelderlaw. com.