If Elder Financial Abuse is Suspected, Get Help From Family Law Attorneys in Menifee

by | Oct 18, 2016 | Lawyers

Everyone with an elderly parent is afraid that they will be targeted by scams, theft or financial abuse. Many seniors, especially those living alone, are more likely to fall prey to strangers. However, elders can also suffer significant financial abuse from those closest to them. Family Law Attorneys in Menifee often talk to family members who want to know how to protect their elderly loved one.

What is Financial Elder Abuse?

Every year, at least six million older Americans are victims of financial elder abuse. This number is expected to increase as Baby Boomers age and become increasingly vulnerable.

California law defines financial elder abuse as “taking” property from someone over 65. While this could be an actual theft, “taking” is often more subtle. If someone exerts undue influence over a senior in order to receive property from a trust or will or to unlawfully use the elder’s bank or credit card accounts, that would also be considered “taking.” Both civil and criminal penalties can be imposed on someone found guilty of committing financial elder abuse.

Signs of Possible Financial Elder Abuse

• A will or other legal document signed by an elder who is not mentally competent

• Signatures on checks or other documents that do not look like the elder’s actual signature

• Unusual activity in bank or securities accounts

• Expensive gifts

• Statements showing unusual amounts paid to telemarketers, time shares, religious groups or other organizations

• Elder’s name removed from property titles

• Large home equity loans, especially if done to finance investments

• Unusual ATM withdrawals

• Progressive isolation of the elder from family members by a caretaker, neighbor or some new person in the elder’s life

• Missing cash, jewelry or other belongings

• Reluctance by a “responsible party” to spend money for the benefit of the elder

Report Abuse Immediately

• Mandated reporters (anyone, paid or unpaid, who is responsible for caring for the senior) must report abuse as should any interested party.

• An immediate telephone report must be followed by a written report in two days

• Depending on the circumstances, there are a number of agencies to report abuse to, including Adult Protective Services (APS) and the local District Attorney

• Contact a family law attorney about different methods of providing legal protection

Family Law Attorneys in Menifee at the Law Office of Michelle Penna can discuss legal options, such as an elder abuse restraining order, conservatorship or becoming a successor trustee. To learn more, visit the website.

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