Financial Elder Abuse
Financial elder abuse happens when an elderly person is taken advantage of for financial gain. Too often, it’s the people the victim trusts who do it. Financial elder abuse can drain victims’ finances and leave them struggling to get by. It can also cause serious emotional and physical harm to victims and their families.
This type of abuse is more common than you may think. If you suspect that someone you care for or love is being financially abused, it’s important to seek legal advice right away.
At the Brady Cobin Law Group, PLLC, our compassionate Raleigh financial elder abuse lawyers have more than 35 years of experience fighting for the rights those who are most vulnerable. Our law firm focuses exclusively on elder law and matters of the estate, so we have the knowledge and the resources to investigate these complex cases and hold the at-fault party accountable.
Schedule a consultation with our skilled elder law attorneys today.
Signs of Financial Elder Abuse
Financial elder abuse can be difficult to spot. Often, the people committing the abuse are the ones who help the victim manage his or her finances. It’s important to look for unusual transactions and signs of abuse. There is rarely a single event that triggers suspicions, but there may be a pattern of behavior that points to abuse.
Common signs of financial abuse of the elderly include:
- Unusual credit card charges. It’s easy for a caretaker or a family member to walk off with a credit card. If the elder relies upon them for care and support, the elder may have no occasion to know the card is even missing.
- Unexplained account withdrawals. If you notice that a bank or other investment account has unexplained withdrawals, speak with the elder to understand what happened. If the elder cannot describe the withdrawal or what the purpose of it was, it may be a sign of financial elder abuse.
- Missing property and cash. Elders rely upon caretakers and family members to meet their basic needs. When the elder can’t leave the house much or is suffering from diminished capacity, he or she may not be able to track important possessions and resources. It’s far too easy for abusers to walk off with valuable items.
- Strange changes in wills. Many people plan their wills in advance and don’t anticipate that they’ll change much. If an elderly person’s will is rewritten late in life, especially if it includes or excludes unexpected people, it may be a sign that someone is exerting influence on them.
Do not hesitate to seek legal advice if you see signs of financial abuse. Contact our law firm today for a confidential consultation.
When Are Elders at Risk?
It can be difficult to tell when an elderly person is at risk for abuse. As they age, most people suffer problems over time, and often there is no clear point at which they’re vulnerable. Every situation is unique. However, the following characteristics are usually found in financial elder abuse cases:
- Gradual mental or physical deterioration. Mental deterioration can happen gradually, leading to an elder’s slow loss of control over finances. The person may turn to a family member or caretaker for help and advice about money, resulting in abuse.
Physical deterioration can happen naturally or as the result of an accident. When an elder loses physical capacity, he or she loses the ability to manage things around the house. They may rely on outside workers and other contractors to take care of their needs. When this happens, they can be taken advantage of by unscrupulous workers and caretakers who may artificially inflate bills and invoices.
- Social isolation from friends and family. When people get older, they may not be able to get out as much as they used to. When this happens, they may rely upon the advice of a smaller group of people or even a single person. This can make them a target for abuse.
- Living long distances from family. Job opportunities and economic realities mean that children are often not around to help their parents when they age. The elderly person may rely upon caretakers, who have the ability to take advantage of them financially.
- Family members with drug and alcohol problems. Drugs and alcohol addiction are serious illnesses. If a person has a problem with them, he or she may try to steal from vulnerable elderly family members.
What Can I Do to Help If I Suspect Financial Elder Abuse?
If you have suspicions that an elderly person is being taken advantage of, there are steps you should take to help:
- Contact authorities immediately. You should report the abuse to local law enforcement as well as the county Department of Social Services so they can begin investigations. Financial elder abuse is a crime, and the perpetrator may face criminal charges.
- Enlist the help of a knowledgeable financial elder abuse attorney to investigate the matter and help you navigate the process for recovering what has been stolen. An attorney can bring a lawsuit to recover stolen funds for the elder or for the estate.
In North Carolina, you can also take steps to identify any suspicious activity early through alerts from financial institutions. Customers may give their financial institutions a list of trusted people to contact if fraud is suspected. This provides an extra layer of protection for vulnerable elderly people.
Our Raleigh Financial Elder Abuse Attorneys Are Here to Help
It doesn’t take much for a lifetime of savings to vanish. When an elderly individual relies on the wrong person, he or she can be a target for theft and abuse. At the Brady | Cobin Law Group, we are committed to protecting the livelihood and legacy of vulnerable elderly people. Our knowledgeable Raleigh elder law attorneys have helped countless families recover financial losses in cases of abuse.
If you suspect elder financial abuse, contact us today for a consultation. Whether you’re an elderly person who needs assistance, a family member who is concerned, or a caretaker who suspects abuse, we can help.