Financial Elder Abuse
What is Financial Elder Abuse?
Not all elder abuse involves physical harm or neglect. Financial elder abuse is on the rise as a growing number of people are living past the age of 65 with significant assets. These “wealthy” seniors can become a target for people seeking to exploit the weak and vulnerable for their own financial gain.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney Office is a cutting edge resource to help protect our seniors. They describe financial elder abuse as:
“…the mismanagement of money, property or other assets belonging to a senior. Anyone who has access to your personal information, such as bank account numbers, credit cards, checkbooks, etc. can potentially steal from you. Be careful about whom you trust. You can take steps to protect yourself from financial abuse.”
Identifying and Reporting Financial Elder Abuse
The DA’s Office also offers “When to suspect you or someone you know may be a victim of financial abuse”:
- You detect unusual activity in your bank accounts – such as numerous withdrawals or attempts to withdraw a large sum of money.
- A friend or caretaker asks you for a loan and tells you to keep it a secret. A need for secrecy can be a warning sign of intent not to repay the loan.
- You see your bills piling up when payment is the responsibility of your caretaker.
- You see changes in your will or power of attorney though you are unable or unwilling to make such changes.
- You lack amenities, such as clothing and grooming items, although you have the means to pay for these items.
If you or someone you know is the victim of this kind of abuse, please call the Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Hotline at (877) 477-3646.
Visit the Los Angeles District Attorney Office website for more information on financial elder abuse.
Proactive Measures to Prevent Abuse: How Baker, Burton & Lundy Can Help
Brad Baker, law firm partner and head of the estate planning team, recommends: “The best protection our seniors have is increased involvement in their lives as their capabilities diminish. Take a moment to catch up with one of our wonderful seniors. It will make both of your days much more enjoyable.”
Proper estate planning and other legal methods assist in avoiding elder abuse and exploitation. At Baker, Burton & Lundy we work with the elderly and their concerned family members to create and put in place legal measures that can help protect seniors from fraud and financial abuse.
We offer a number of options to clients wishing to prevent abuse, including trusts and powers of attorney. These can be customized to meet the unique needs of you or a loved one. Conservatorships provide another path for protection of our seniors, and we would be pleased to refer you to very competent counsel should a conservatorship seem to be the most appropriate way to protect your loved one.
Baker, Burton & Lundy’s services also include advising fiduciaries like trustees, conservators or persons entrusted with a power of attorney about his or her responsibilities.
Seeking Justice for Financial Elder Abuse
Taking the above proactive measures to prevent fraud upon our seniors can provide some peace of mind. However, if the fraud has already occurred or is still ongoing, we at Baker, Burton & Lundy have the ability to help by seeking appropriate legal redress in our court systems.
When discussing a financial elder abuse case with a prospective client, we are always mindful that “chasing good money after bad” only makes the situation worse. If we are not confident that we can add benefit to our client that substantially exceeds the probable cost of pursuing the wrongdoer, we do not wish to participate. BB&L does not want to be the only party who benefits, since this will not build loyal long-term relationships with our clients.
Whether you are looking for some protection from future financial elder abuse or seeking compensation for a wrong that’s already occurred, Hermosa Beach’s Baker, Burton & Lundy offers caring and meticulous attention to helping Southern California’s seniors regain the financial security and peace of mind they deserve.
The very best protection against elder abuse is for you to be involved in the lives of the seniors you care about and love.
– Brad N. Baker, Estate Planning Attorney
To learn more about how Baker, Burton & Lundy’s experienced attorneys can represent or advise you, please call (310) 376-9893 or fill out the form below.