Various parties may attempt to use the vulnerability of elderly people for their financial advantage. These include strangers who sell seniors goods or services at inflated prices, often failing to deliver anything of value; financial professionals who misuse their fiduciary responsibility for the assets of an older person; caregivers in the elderly person’s home or in an institutional setting, such as a nursing home or assisted living home, and family members who exert undue influence or subterfuge to gain access to an elderly person’s assets.
The Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse and Neglect at the University of California at Irvine reported some of the ways in which the unscrupulous prey on those who are vulnerable because of age, isolation, loneliness, cognitive impairment, or illness.
Methods used by contractors, repair people, or sales people:
- Selling home repairs at high prices and not doing the work
- Making automobile repairs at high prices and not completing the work
- Persuading the elderly person to take out a loan with high interest rates and/or hidden fees
- Selling phony insurance policies
- Selling phony funeral expenses
- Selling travel packages presented as being low cost but having hidden fees
- Telemarketing to the elderly and giving them nothing for their money
- Requesting money by email for a purchase and giving nothing
Methods that have been employed by caretakers or family members:
- Cashing an elderly person’s social security or pension check and keeping the money
- Selling personal items for an elderly person and keeping the money
- Gaining access to a bank account against the elder’s will
- Transferring the title of the elderly person’s property to another person
- Using an elderly person’s debit or card without permission
- Forcing the person to sign a power of attorney
- Taking money without permission or on false pretenses
- Forcing the elderly person to make unwanted or unneeded purchases
- Changing a will or influencing the elderly person to change their will
- Denying the elderly person access to or control over personal funds
In addition to those means listed above, a professional financial advisor or stockbroker, or a guardian or trustee appointed by the court may violate their fiduciary responsibility and misuse funds to the detriment of the elderly person.
Phoenix elderly abuse lawyers help senior victims of financial abuse
If another party’s greed has stripped a vulnerable elderly of assets, action must be taken to hold the party accountable for their actions. The person may be guilty of a crime, but recovering the lost assets and other damages will usually require a civil action with the help of a lawyer who handles elder abuse cases.
The Phoenix elderly abuse lawyers at Wattel and York help senior residents of Phoenix and the State of Arizona recover assets and other damages they have lost to those who prey on the elderly. If you or an elderly person you know has been harmed by financial abuse, call us today to schedule a free case evaluation. If you can’t come to the office, we will be happy to meet you in your residence.