Concerns about physical abuse and neglect are a primary reason that many people choose in-home care for their elderly loved ones. Unfortunately, even recipients of in-home care can still experience forms of abuse — and financial abuse may be most prevalent in these situations. By setting up an effective estate plan in your younger years, you can protect yourself from financial abuse as you age. However, you also need to remain watchful for the seniors who count on you for protection.
While the majority of elder financial abuse incidents occur at the hands of family members, challenging economic conditions combined with technological advances have made it big business for many individuals. According to a recent report by MetLife Mature Market Institute, financial abusers take many forms, including the following:
- Family members take advantage of powers of attorney to directly take money from bank accounts as well as obtaining credit cards or even engaging in complex embezzlement schemes.
- Trusted financial professionals make up about 33 percent of financial abuse perpetrators, which also include executors, trustees, certified public accountants and others.
- Acquaintances and strangers ranging from home health workers to neighbors cultivate relationships and then use them to defraud the elderly.
- Commercial organizations engage in life and health insurance scams, predatory lending schemes and false investment claims.
- Internet scams often involve email and social networks, and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to technology fraud and identity theft.
Monitor your loved one’s finances regularly to detect signs of financial abuse early on. Even if you only suspect a problem, you need to seek guidance from a Florida elder abuse attorney who can identify areas of risk, take legal action against perpetrators and help prevent future incidents.
Regardless of the overall value of your estate, a detailed estate plan is essential to protecting your heirs and essential to ensuring you have the financial protection you need during your senior years. When you choose a Board-Certified Estate Planning and Probate Lawyer in Florida, you can be confident that your plan will serve you properly throughout your life.