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Financial Abuse of the Elderly: Elder Abuse Protection

A while back there was a story about an 89-year-old WWII vet named Jewell Hall, who was suffering from dementia, and apparently got taken advantage of by his new 58-year-old caretaker turned wife.

The case provided yet further evidence of the fact that the elders in America can and are taken advantage of by those younger than themselves. Even where the elderly have children and have come up with a plan for how to protect themselves in old age, squabbles between the children can leave the elderly in a lurch, as reported by the New York Times.

The researchers at FindLaw have put together a whole slew of documents detailing the types of abuse that the elderly in America face.

This includes:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Emotional/Psychological Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Neglect
  • Self-Neglect
  • Financial or Material Exploitation
  • Abandonment

For those among the elderly that have significant financial resources, financial or material exploitation is often a possibility.

Financial abuse of the elderly covers a broad spectrum of fraud, confidence (or "con") jobs, outright theft and other methods of extracting financial or material gain from vulnerable senior citizens. Common examples of financial elder abuse include cashing checks without authorization; forging signatures; stealing or misusing money or possessions; coercing or deceiving an elderly person into signing a document; and improperly using a guardianship, conservatorship or power of attorney.

Often the perpetrator of financial elder abuse is an unscrupulous telemarketer, confidence (or "con") artist, or any individual who preys on the weaknesses of senior citizens. For example, elderly persons, who are more likely to own their homes outright, sometimes are tricked into signing over the deed to their home in exchange for a future payoff that never comes.

The best protection against such exploitation is to make use of the legal system with planning for the future. Whether it is through setting up trusts, wills, or just getting advice from a competent attorney, protecting yourself in old age is something that must be planned for now.

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