Estate planning attorneys for the most part engage in every aspect of elder law, and one of the issues that is raising a lot of eyebrows is that of elder financial abuse. They say that all statistics lie, and any time you try to gather data that involves some potentially embarrassing admissions the numbers are likely to be understated. But to give you a general idea about just how significant this problem is, a 2009 MetLife Mature Market Institute study estimated annual losses due to elder financial abuse at some $ 2.6 billion a year.
To put this issue under the microscope you have to get into some sensitive territory, and the rabbit hole runs deep. But to scratch the surface it is useful to point out the fact that the majority of instances of elder financial abuse are perpetrated by a member of the victim’s family. This is hard to swallow, but a fact nonetheless. Short of this, caregivers and other people who are known to the victim are also common culprits, and there is no way of candy coating the challenge here: who can you trust?
Elders are also abused financially by people and entities that they do not know. Offers of various sorts can be made to them over the phone, in person at their doors, or over the Internet. The appeal of these offers can vary, and it must be said that some victims get themselves into trouble through their own desire to make easy money that they really don’t need.
In addition, many seniors fall victim to the epidemic of identity theft. Identity thieves target people of all ages, but seniors are especially appealing because they usually have very good credit, and many seniors own their homes outright making mortgage scams possible.
Elder financial abuse is something that everyone should be aware of and take very seriously. But the fact is that the vast majority of family members would never do anything to harm their elder relatives. People you don’t know who are proactively soliciting you are something else entirely. Stay vigilant, keep a tight hold on your purse strings, and discuss the matter of elder financial abuse with your attorney the next time you review your estate plan.
Alan L. Augulis is a leading provider of expert estate planning guidance in Warren, NJ. For more information on elder financial abuse and other estate planning services, visit our website.
http://alerstallings.com (614) 798-9800 Elder Law is extremely complex and involves both advanced tax and estate planning preparation coupled with many other…
Video Rating: 5 / 5
Find More Elder Law Articles