Elder Financial Abuse What is “Undue Influence”? Warning Signs of Financial One in eleven persons living in San Bernardino Making the Elder Less of a Target County is 65 or older. Our elders and dependent When a person in a position of trust takes Exploitation adults are being abused at an alarming rate. What advantage of a vulnerable elder to gain control of Assessing Elder Lifestyle Risks: can be done? In this brochure, you will learn: their money, property, or their life - either directly, Financial Activity or through a POA, a trust, marriage, adoption, or • Does the elder live alone? • The warning signs of financial abuse inheritance. • Activity inconsistent with elder’s ability, such as • Does the elder still drive? If so, they may be • How to report abuse when discovered ATM use by a physically impaired person prone to crashes, or to being victimized by • What you can do to prevent the elderly or How is Undue Influence • Numerous new withdrawals, usually in round driving-related scams (see next section). dependent adults in your life from becoming victims of financial abuse Accomplished by Abusers? numbers ($50, $100, $1,000, $5,000, etc.) • Does the elder spend a lot of time on foot, in • Increased activity on credit cards public places? If so, they may be targeted by • By isolating the elder from contact with other • Withdrawals made from savings or CD’s in exploiters who search for elderly victims at There are now special laws targeting those who steal family members, friends, and society spite of penalty assessments banks, stores, parks, malls, libraries, etc. from or financially exploit elderly or dependent • By controlling the elder’s mail, phone calls, • Change in account beneficiaries • How many local friends does the elder have? adults. Abusers may face jail and civil action. visitors, and outings • New authorized signers on accounts • Does the elder have information about housing • By falsely promising the elder to take care of • Elder is confused about recent financial options, care choices, and support groups? What is “Financial Abuse”? them for the rest of their life arrangements • Have the elder’s outside activities decreased • By falsely worrying the elder with the fear that • Change in property title, quitclaim deed, or new over the past few years? It’s using the elder’s money or assets contrary to the or refinanced mortgage • Does the elder have family members in the they will lose their house and be placed in a elder’s wishes, needs, or best interests - or for the area? Is there weekly contact? nursing home abuser’s personal gain. For example: • By lying to the elder that no one else cares Inheritance & Wills • Is the elder overly friendly and helpful - even to about them except the abuser total strangers? • By manipulating or withholding the elder’s • Recent change in Power of Attorney or Durable • Who regularly checks the status of the elder’s • Taking money or other items from the elder’s bank accounts, charge or credit accounts, or food or medication so they become weak and Power of Attorney home or bank accounts investments? compliant • Recent change in Will or Trust, when elder is • Selling or transferring the elder’s property • • By threatening the elder with harm, neglect, or clearly incapable Where and from whom is the elder getting against their wishes or best interests financial and medical advice? abandonment if they don’t agree to do what • Recent change in Will or Trust to favor a new • Failing to provide agreed upon services to the • Who oversees the elder’s Power of Attorney? they are told or much younger “friend” elder, such as care giving, home or vehicle • Does the elder seek advice of fortunetellers, repair, or financial management Who Might Be An Abuser psychic advisors, or spiritual healers? • Using the elder’s credit cards for unauthorized Caregiver Warning Signs • Does the elder know when and how to call the purchases • Family members police for emergencies - and for non- • Using the elder’s name or good credit to open emergencies, such as suspicious persons? new credit accounts • Caretakers - paid or volunteer • Is the elder now reluctant to discuss matters • Misusing the elder’s Power of Attorney (POA) • Strangers - met in public, or over the phone, or that were once routine? • Refusing to return borrowed money or those who come to the door • Does the elder seem apprehensive of the outside property as agreed upon, or when requested by • Professionals hired by the elder - accountants, world - more tired or depressed? Be Careful with Caregivers: the elder or their agent bankers, lawyers, doctors • Does the caregiver say the elder is less willing or • Creating or changing living trusts for the • Is there a new person involved in the elder’s able to accept visits or calls? • Caregiver hired from reputable agency? benefit of the abuser life, with no logical reason for being there, such • Does the caregiver seem overly concerned about • Caregiver references checked? • Changing the elder’s will, trusts, or inheritance as a new boyfriend or girlfriend much younger the elder’s finances? • Criminal background check done? for the abuser’s benefit than the elder? • Does the caregiver often speak for the elder, • Elder’s checks, credit cards, etc. locked up? • Has the elder recently changed their doctor, even when the elder is present? • Written service agreement, signed by the lawyer, accountant, or other professional? • Does the caregiver have no means of support caregiver & elder, specifying duties and pay? other than the elder’s income? • Log of workers, hours, and salary payments? • Weekly review of caregiver expenses?
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