Financial elder abuse is a distressing and, unfortunately, prevalent issue affecting vulnerable older adults. It involves the illegal or unethical exploitation of an elderly person’s financial resources for personal gain.
Financial elder abuse can cause significant losses for seniors and their families, as well as lead to estate planning conflicts, including will and trust contests. Many people can engage in financial abuse, including strangers, caretakers, or even family members. If you suspect your loved one was a victim, you should never delay in consulting with a Contra Costa County elder law attorney.
Here are only some examples of how financial elder abuse might happen.
Scams and Fraud
Perpetrators may target seniors through phone calls, emails, or letters, posing as fake charities, government agencies, or businesses. They manipulate seniors into providing personal information, such as Social Security numbers or bank account details, to commit identity theft or drain their financial accounts.
Trusted caregivers, family members, or friends may take advantage of their close relationship with the elderly person to gain access to their finances. They might forge signatures, steal cash, misuse credit cards, or coerce the senior into changing their will or giving away assets.
Power of Attorney Abuse
If an older adult grants someone power of attorney, that person has legal authority to manage their financial affairs. Unfortunately, some individuals misuse this authority and make financial decisions that benefit themselves rather than the elderly person’s best interests.
Older adults may be targeted with deceptive investment opportunities promising high returns. These fraudulent schemes can result in the senior losing a significant portion of their savings or retirement funds.
Home Equity Scams
Fraudsters might encourage seniors to take out reverse mortgages or home equity loans under false pretenses, leaving them with excessive debt and at risk of losing their home.
Deceptive Financial Advisors
Unscrupulous financial advisors may prey on seniors, recommending unsuitable or risky investments that primarily benefit the advisor through hidden fees or commissions.
Coercion or Threats
Some abusers may resort to threats or intimidation to manipulate elderly individuals into handing over money or signing financial documents against their will.
Perpetrators may intentionally isolate the elderly person from friends and family, making it easier to exert control over their finances without interference or oversight.
Justice for Financial Elder Abuse
Financial elder abuse is a severe violation of trust and can have devastating consequences for older adults, often leaving them financially destitute and emotionally traumatized. Victims of abuse can take action to seek legal relief and justice from their abusers. If you realize someone has taken advantage of a parent or another loved one, you should speak with our legal team.
We can also help if you discover financial abuse after your loved one passed away, in the process of administering their estate. We can assist with disputes to obtain the inheritance you and other true beneficiaries deserve if someone exercised undue influence or coercion to wrongfully benefit from a will.