Berge & Berge, LLP Blog

Sunday, May 7, 2017

8 “Red Flags” of Potential Financial Elder Abuse

Q: What signs should I look for if I suspect financial elder abuse?

California elder abuse lawyers have noticed a rapid increase in not only the size of the elderly population over the past few decades, but also the number of ways vulnerable senior citizens can become victims of elder abuse. While proper trust and estate planning can prevent most instances of financial elder abuse, there will always be unscrupulous characters that prey on our senior citizens.

Elder abuse can take several different forms. Seniors can be physically abused by caretakers or others in their own homes or in skilled care facilities. In addition, they are also often victims of emotional elder abuse. This type does not manifest itself in visible bruises or other physical signs of damage, but it’s just as dangerous as physical abuse.  

Eight “red flags” which are signs of potential financial elder abuse include:

  •  an elder’s failure to pay basic expenses that should be affordable
  • changing normal banking practices and/or a third person present for a large bank withdrawal
  • adding extra names to the elder’s bank account
  • unauthorized withdrawals using the elder’s ATM card
  • the sudden presence of and claim to the elder’s property by a previously uninvolved relative
  • the discovery of forged signatures on legal or financial documents
  • large loans taken against an elder’s home
  • including caretakers as beneficiaries to the elder’s will

Fortunately, there are laws that protect elders from such abuses and attorneys experienced in elder abuse can help the exploited senior recover stolen money and possessions. In order to do so, it must be proven that the victim suffered harm as a result of the abuser taking, retaining, misappropriating or hiding the elder’s property unlawfully and with an intention to defraud the victim. Legal action can be taken against the abuser during or after the victim’s death—which is good since oftentimes the abuse is not discovered until after the victim dies.

While each case is different, the damages recoverable may include compensatory damages, attorney’s fees and costs, and even damages for the victim’s pain and suffering.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of elder abuse, or you suspect elder abuse, the specialists at The Law Offices of Berge & Berge, LLP have extensive experience in elder abuse and can help you. Call us today at 408-389-6980 to request a consultation. From our offices in San Jose, we've been proudly serving clients in California’s South Bay area for over 23 years.

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