Recent stories of ongoing court battles involving celebrities Casey Kasem and Stan Lee have raised awareness of the problem of physical elder abuse. Throughout the country, another devastating type of elder abuse is becoming more common. Every day, thousands of individuals become victims of financial scams. Seniors can be especially vulnerable to this type of abuse, especially when suffering from deteriorating mental conditions, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Research indicates the elderly lose over $36 billion each year due to financial manipulation.
Common Types of Abuse
One of the most common types of elder financial abuse occurs when an individual uses undue influence to obtain a financial advantage by convincing a senior to change their estate plans. This can include making an individual the beneficiary of their will, setting up a trust fund for an individual, directly transferring assets from financial accounts, or changing the deeds on real property to reflect new ownership.
Identity theft is another common type of elder financial abuse. Individuals can steal a senior’s Social Security number to open fraudulent credit cards and lines of credit. Other seniors become victims of financial scams targeting wider audiences, such as fake offshore sweepstakes, offers for free money management services, and telephone schemes.
Betrayal of Trust
Elder financial abuse typically begins with a betrayal of trust by a close family member, friend, or acquaintance. Neighbors, bank officials, housekeepers, home repairmen, and health care providers also have access to vulnerable individuals. Caretakers are most likely to engage in elder financial abuse. With both access and opportunity to manipulate a senior, caretakers typically hold the power regarding the daily living conditions of their charges. An elderly’s ability to eat, bathe, and dress often lies in the hands of their caretaker. For these reasons, caretakers can easily exert undue influence on vulnerable individuals.
By taking proactive steps to protect their financial assets, the elderly can avoid becoming victims of financial fraud. Experienced elder law lawyers can assist families in setting up legal safeguards against abuse, including routine financial oversight or monitoring, revocable living trusts, and durable powers of attorney.
Seeking Justice for Elder Financial Abuse Victims
Research indicates millions of dollars are stolen each year from trusting seniors. As a result of ongoing financial abuse, elderly individuals frequently lose their financial security. With the assistance of an experienced attorney, seniors can seek compensation for their injuries by filing a civil lawsuit against the parties responsible for their financial abuse. Victims may seek reimbursement for stolen funds. In some cases, family members engaged in financial abuse will be disinherited as a matter of law. Perpetuators of elder financial abuse will also face criminal charges and jail time for their crimes.
Brooklyn Elder Law Attorneys at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP Protect Seniors from Financial Abuse
If you or a loved one was the victim of elder financial abuse, the experienced Brooklyn elder law attorneys at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP are here to help. We work proactively with families to put in place legal protections for seniors to safeguard them from financial abuse. Our offices are conveniently located in Brooklyn, New York, and Lakewood, New Jersey to serve seniors throughout Manhattan, Long Island, and Westchester, New York. To schedule an initial consultation, call us at 212-495-8133 or submit an online inquiry form.