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Beware of Financial Abuse of the Elderly

Bigstock-Senior-couple-standing-togethe-12052331Scams targeting senior citizens are on the rise, so the real question isn’t if a scam will be tried, but when.

TC Palm’s recent article, “For seniors, financial scams may be closer than thought,” notes that one financial study found that 71% of elder financial abuse was suspected of being committed by the elders’ adult children.

In some instances, it can be an impatience to inherit or having a sense of entitlement because their care of the parent can justify their accessing funds to which they feel entitled. This could involve frequent dinners out, filling up the gas tank, or paid vacations for all their help … and typically the rest of the family has no idea that it’s happening. It’s not uncommon to have a sibling who cares for the senior parents, end up feeling entitled to a tropical vacation, a new car, or a down payment on a house on the parents’ tab, while the other siblings are unaware that this is happening to their parents.

Many state laws aren’t sufficient to protect elders in these types of situations. Currently, investigations go nowhere because, in many cases involving familial elderly abuse, it’s one person’s word against the other. Therefore, what can a person do to protect a senior when the adult children have reasonable explanations for money spent or money that’s needed?

With high rates of elderly abuse, specifically financial abuse, action needs to be taken. In many instances, a financial plan can help to avoid this type of abuse.

Estate planning and elder law attorneys can help with planning and strategies to prepare for these financial possibilities in a family. Financial and estate planning can provide answers to questions about becoming incapacitated, children’s potential feelings of entitlement because of their care for their parents and the potential for fighting among the children.

It’s not pleasant to think about your own passing, but making plans can help your family and loved ones with the event and the aftermath.

Failing to address our own human frailty just makes us more susceptible. But being prepared for all possible outcomes gives the greatest protection for you and your family.

Reference: TC Palm (FL) (December 14, 2016) “For seniors, financial scams may be closer than thought”

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