How to Prevent Financial Abuse of Senior Citizens

Because many senior citizens are particularly reliant on others, they are vulnerable to becoming the victim of financial abuse and scams. If you suspect a relative, caregiver or third-party of taking advantage of your loved one, it is important to contact one of our experienced elder law attorneys for assistance.

Below are a few tips on how to prevent a senior citizen from becoming a victim of financial abuse:

  • Make sure that more than one family member is actively involved in caring for the senior and is helping with their finances
  • Avoid having money or checks delivered to your loved ones’ home – have the funds deposited directly into his or her bank account
  • Help make sure the elderly individual stays involved in community activities as much as possible
  • If your loved one has a caregiver that is not a family member or friend, conduct a thorough investigation (including checking references) of the caregiver’s history
  • Monitor the use of funds for or by any caregivers. It’s not uncommon for a caregiver to use ATM cards or credit cards to assist the family member, but it’s a prime source of financial abuse – where the caregiver withdraws funds and continually explains it was for meals or clothing or a myriad of needs that are not traceable without receipts
  • Watch out for disappearing jewelry or other property

The above tips are not a guarantee that your loved one will not be subjected to financial abuse or become the victim of a scam, but they will reduce the likelihood of it happening. The more people that are involved in the senior’s life, the more protected he or she will be.

How do you know if your loved one is the victim of financial abuse? Each case is different, but below are a few of the warning signs:

  • Significant, unexplained withdrawals of cash
  • Valuable items are disappearing from the elder’s home
  • The senior becomes isolated from others
  • Costly or inexplicable charges on credit cards
  • Your loved one is fearful of the caregiver
  • Numerous checks made out to “cash”

Not only is financial abuse a crime that can be reported to Adult Protective Services, there are other legal options that are available. To learn more, contact one of our elder law attorneys to schedule an appointment.

The Astill Law Office has provided high quality legal services for over 30 years. We specialize in wills, trusts, estate planning, and asset protection. If you have any questions about creating a Trust, Will, or estate planning in general, contact The Astill Law Office at 801-438-8698.