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Can Elder Abuse Be Financial?

Photo of elderly lady sitting with clasped hands. Can elder abuse be financial?

Financial abuse of the elderly may not leave visible scars like other types of abuse. However, it can be just as damaging to the victim. It’s crucial to understand what defines financial elder abuse and what warning signs to look out for in order to protect yourself or your elderly loved ones. If you’re asking yourself “Can elder abuse be financial?” keep reading to learn more.

What is financial elder abuse?

Financial elder abuse refers to the illegal or unauthorized use of an elderly person’s funds, property, or assets. This type of abuse is especially concerning because it often goes unnoticed until significant damage has been done. Perpetrators of financial elder abuse can range from family members and caregivers to scam artists and strangers who gain access to an elderly person’s finances. It’s important for elderly individuals and their loved ones to understand what qualifies as financial elder abuse in order to prevent it from happening.

What are the different types of financial abuse of the elderly?

There are several different types of financial abuse of the elderly, and it’s important to understand each one so that you can look out for warning signs. One type is theft or unauthorized use of an elder’s assets, such as bank account withdrawals made without permission. Another type is fraud, which can involve scams like fake lotteries or investment opportunities designed to steal money from elderly individuals. Coercion is also a form of financial elder abuse, which involves forcing someone to hand over their property or money against their will through threats or manipulation. Finally, financial exploitation can occur when an individual in a position of trust, such as a caregiver or family member, takes advantage of an elderly person’s finances for personal gain.

Arizona’s Financial Exploitation Statute.

In Arizona there are four basic requirements to establish a claim for financial exploitation in Arizona pursuant to A.R.S. § 46-456(A):

  1. A person who is in a position of trust and confidence;
  2. To a vulnerable or incapacitated adult;
  3. Uses the vulnerable adult’s property for purposes other than the adult’s sole benefit; and
  4. There is no applicable exception that permitted the person in a position of trust and confidence to use the funds or other property other than for the vulnerable adult’s sole benefit.

If you know of an older person who may be the victim of financial abuse, call us right away at 602-443-4888. We are strong advocates of the elderly and will fight for justice.

How common is financial elder abuse?

Financial elder abuse is unfortunately a common problem that affects many older adults. A study by the National Adult Protective Services Association found that financial exploitation was the most commonly reported form of elder abuse, making up nearly 55% of all cases. It’s estimated that seniors in the United States lose up to $36 billion each year due to financial abuse, often at the hands of family members or caregivers who have been entrusted with their care. It’s important for everyone to be aware of the warning signs and take steps to prevent this type of abuse from happening.

How to detect financial elder abuse.

The first step in detecting financial elder abuse is to be aware of the warning signs. These can include sudden changes in the older adult’s financial situation, such as unexplained withdrawals, new names on bank accounts or credit cards, signed but blank checks, and missing belongings or cash. Other warning signs may include sudden changes in behavior, such as a reluctance to discuss finances or a newfound isolation from friends and family members.

Things you can do if you suspect an older person is a victim of financial abuse.

If you suspect an older adult is a victim of financial abuse, it’s important to take action immediately. Some steps you can take include having an open and honest conversation with the older adult about your concerns, offering support and resources, and contacting Adult Protective Services or other relevant authorities. It’s also important to document any suspected financial abuse by gathering evidence like bank statements, receipts, or legal documents that could help investigators build a case. Remember that taking action is crucial in protecting vulnerable older adults from financial exploitation.

Call Us to Help.

If you have any questions about claims for financial exploitation of vulnerable adults in Arizona, please give us a call at 602-443-4888.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Founding attorney Paul Deloughery has been an attorney since 1998, became a Certified Family Wealth Advisor. He is also the founder of Sudden Wealth Protection Law.

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