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Someone outside my family is taking over my financial accounts, what should I do?

Elder Financial Abuse: Estate Planning Can Help

California defines financial elder abuse as the unlawful appropriation of money or tangible property from a person who is elderly. Whether from outright theft or from manipulation, elder abuse is a serious infraction that can result in jail time.

Examples Of Elder Abuse

  • Cashing checks without authorization
  • Obtaining power of attorney fraudulently or by deceit
  • Identity theft
  • Theft of tangible possessions, such as cash, jewelry, or other items of value
  • Scams for home sales or improvements
  • Telemarketing scams
  • Using friendship to obtain lavish gifts
  • Forging a signature
  • Fraudulently changing a will
  • Using guilt to obtain money or gifts

Statistics On Elder Abuse

Statistically, only one case in 44 of financial elder abuse is ever reported. Those who are financially abused are four times more likely to be placed in a nursing home and are three times more likely to die there. Many seniors are aware of their financial abuse but are powerless to stop it and don’t know where to turn. Seniors are extremely vulnerable to financial elder abuse because they’re often perceived as slightly dotty or somewhat incompetent.

Signs Of Elder Abuse

Elder abuse can be insidious so it may be difficult to uncover. However, if an elderly loved one begins to exhibit any of the following, he or she may be the victim of elder abuse:

  • Depression
  • Distrustfulness
  • Insecurity
  • Destitution
  • Unusual financial activity
  • Inability to pay bills
  • Fearfulness
  • Chronic illness
  • Chronic anger

Elder Abuse And California Law

California has almost 6 million people who are 65 years and older and has become a leader in pursuing justice for those seniors who are victims of financial abuse. Laws have been enacted to simplify and clarify the definition of elder financial abuse. Instructions for juries have become simpler so that they can discern when elder financial abuse has occurred.

Estate Planning

Unfortunately, perpetrators of elder financial abuse can be friends, family, neighbors and others who have been trusted. It’s not always a stranger who’s the perpetrator.

Estate planning can help protect seniors and the elderly from falling prey to those who would perpetrate financial abuse. A clear plan regarding the control and disposition of financial assets can prevent a major loss of assets and provide peace of mind for both the senior and his or her heirs.

Various types of trusts exist for the sole purpose of protecting an individual’s assets but the laws are complex, so they require the services of an estate attorney. Those who live in the Los Angeles area can do no better than to contact the law firm of Albertson & Davidson, LLP to establish one or more trusts. In addition to our Los Angeles office, we have offices in Orange County, San Diego, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley.

If you’re in need of an estate planning attorney, be sure to contact us today at one of our conveniently located offices.

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