Elderly Abuse is defined as financial or material exploitation and the illegal or improper use of an elder’s funds, property or assets. Financial exploitation of the elderly has become so rampant throughout the years that it has been referred to as “the crime of the 21st century”. As we age, we change physically, emotionally and mentally and this can make it easier for people to take advantage of us. According to a 2011 Study of Financial Elder Abuse by Metlife, it was found that women are more likely to be victims of elderly abuse at the ages of 80 and 89.
Who commits elderly financial abuse?
It can be anyone, strangers, your closest family member, and friends.
Who is most likely to get financially exploited?
Elderly people who live in social isolation, or are experiencing declining mental or physical health are usually the ones most vulnerable to financial abuse.
What are the warning signs of elderly abuse?
There are multiple signs of financial elder abuse but because they are so subtle, most people overlook them. Even though elderly abuse has become the most common type of crime, it is also massively under reported. One of the reasons elderly abuse is under reported is that well-meaning onlookers are afraid to act unless they’re certain that abuse is occurring. These are some signs you can look out for when you suspect someone you know might be getting taken advantage of.
- Unexpected changes in bank account balances. Such as unauthorized or unexplained financial account withdrawals
- Disappearance of funds or valuable possessions
- Unanticipated transfer of assets to a family member or friend
- Forging or forcing an elderly person’s signature
- Getting an elder person to sign a deed, will, contract, or power of attorney through deception, coercion, or undue influence
- Promising long-term or lifelong care in exchange for money or property and not following through on the promise
- Overcharging for or not delivering caregiving services
- Denying elder persons access to their money or preventing them from controlling their assets
- Sudden changes to a will or other important financial documents
Financial exploitation of the elderly isn’t just a legal issue, it can also cause mental trauma. Losing assets that they have accumulated over a lifetime of hard work and sometimes deprivation can cause great stress and devastation. Looking out for these signs will make it easier to protect your loved ones and to also report it if it is happening.
If you know someone who is being exploited, we can help them recover their stolen property. Call ML Law now at: 305.665.3978