Senior financial abuse is increasing every year. The abuse can come from family members, friends, care facilities, financial institutions and of course strangers. Therefore, the means to protect your family member or loved one is a concern.
Our firm receives telephone calls every month from concerned family members. Some of the senior financial abuse situations that are discussed involve:
- A sibling with bad credit that had their mother with dementia co-sign on a loan.
- A family member that took their father’s to the bank and had him withdraw his entire savings account.
- An elder family member that was subjected to fake Italian sweepstakes or online scams.
- A parent with Alzheimer’s that give scam telemarketers his or her bank account number.
- A bank that sold a 92 year old family member a 10 year annuity.
- A nursing home that never explained to elder residents that they could keep some of their assets.
One of the easiest ways to curb elder financial abuse is to be actively involved in the senior’s life. That involvement includes a detailed knowledge of all of their financial affairs. This necessitates you sitting with them every month to review statements, offers they receive, and other financial affairs.
Teach your loved one to ask questions or to call you whenever they are unsure. How can you win the Italian sweepstakes if you did not play and does such a sweepstakes even exists? Teach them to screen their phone calls or request the caller’s number so that a fiduciary representative or attorney-in-fact can call them back.
Notify the bank of suspicious activity. The consumer protection division of the Attorney General can help prevent elder financial abuse. If necessary, report the family members who are financially abusing the elder to the state’s attorney.
These scams reinforce the need for your parents and loved ones to engage in good estate planning whether they are aging in place or at an assisted living facility or nursing home. When a loved one is placed in a care facility seek the assistance of an experienced elder law attorney. The fees you pay will normally result in significant savings to your family.
For more information about creating or updating an estate plan and how to prevent elder financial abuse, please contact Abraham & Bauer, LLC.