Financial Elder Abuse

Portland Elder Financial Abuse Attorneys

Financial elder abuse when a victim is exploited because of vulnerabilities associated with age, such as an impaired mental capacity and/or a simple lack of understanding.

It occurs when someone, usually someone close to an older person, advises them to make unsuitable investments, misrepresents the stability of an investment or profits therefrom, forces the older person to sell personal belongings or property, steals or otherwise misappropriates money, pension checks or possessions or withholds the older person's money that is needed for daily living. Theft, fraud, forgery, extortion and the wrongful use of a Power of Attorney are also prevalent forms of financial abuse. Such exploitation often occurs without the victim's knowledge only to be discovered by a son, daughter or other relative helping the older person.

Financial elder abuse is not only subjects the wrongdoer to civil liability but it is also a crime. It is often done to a senior by someone he/she knows and trusts, either a family member, visitor, social worker, doctor or nurse. It affects thousands of seniors in all cultural, social and income groups. The good news is state and federal laws relating to financial elder abuse treats the abuse very aggressively and affords the older person, their trust, legal representative or guardian to recover the monies lost.

Financial elder abuse can be difficult to discuss and is not often reported because the senior is unaware of the problem, afraid of revenge by the abuser; is ashamed that they cannot handle the abuse in the home themselves; or is concerned with being labeled as too demanding or senile.

Further, an older person impacted by financial elder abuse that is suffering from mental impairment or an otherwise faded memory may not even be able to report a victimization or describe its details. This is why the involvement of an older persons loved ones is so important to bringing the wrongdoer to justice.

Indications that financial abuse may be occurring:

  • Not allowing the senior to spend money the way he/she wants
  • Forcing a senior to sell or give away property or sign Power of Attorney
  • Malnutrition
  • Belongings are missing
  • Sudden changes in senior's will
  • Unusual activity in bank accounts. ATM withdrawals when the person cannot walk or get to the bank; accounts changed from one branch to another; several withdrawals in short time for large amounts of money; request for large cash withdrawals inconsistent with customer's normal banking practices.
  • Different or inappropriate people coming to the bank coupled with changes in signature or unusual account activity. Home health aide, housekeeper, or other person puts their name on account.
  • Older person becoming isolated from friends and family. When you call the house you are told the older customer is unable to speak to you; matters are handled by third party, who has gained control of account.
  • Power of Attorney, or Will, drawn up when older customer seems unable to comprehend the financial implication.
  • Older person signs papers without knowing what they are or without legal advice.
  • Refusal to spend money on behalf of the elder person, especially on their care.
  • Numerous unpaid bills, such as overdue rent, utilities, taxes.
  • Checks bounce when there should be adequate resources.
  • New acquaintances expressing gushy, undying affection.
  • Recent change of title to house in favor of a "friend", when the older person is incapable of understanding the nature of the transaction, or eviction notice arrives when person thought they owned the house.
  • Canceled checks no longer sent to older person's house.
  • Promises of "Lifelong Care" in exchange for willing or deeding property/bank accounts to caregiver.
  • The older person is placed in a nursing home below his or her financial means.
  • Older person complains that they used to have money, but does not have it any more.
  • Caregiver evasive about financial arrangements.
  • Older person fearful or seems afraid to speak in front of household member or companion.
  • Accompanying person seeks to prevent older person from interacting with others.
  • Older person is isolated, in unhealthy or unsafe environment.
  • Changes in personal hygiene/inappropriate clothing.
  • Older person and household member or caregiver give conflicting accounts of an incident, expenditure, or financial need.

The financial abuse attorneys at Slinde Nelson have an in depth knowledge of the law relating to elder financial abuse and have been involved in cases seeking millions of dollars against real estate brokers, accountants and other parties responsible for the abuse. We are sensitive to the emotional toll these types of abuse can have on the older person and their families and will work tirelessly to right what has been wronged.

Contact a Portland financial abuse lawyer or call us at 866-601-9440.