An unfortunately common crime against an elderly person is financial abuse which occurs when someone either misuses – or outright steals – a senior citizen’s property or money. Financial abuse often occurs in nursing homes, where people are at their most vulnerable.
Thankfully, there are several ways you can help prevent this from happening to an elderly person you love. An Americus nursing home abuse lawyer with the Shrable Law Firm may be able to help if your loved one has been the victim of this crime. Please give us a call at (229) 349-6291 or contact us online for a free consultation.
How to protect an elderly person from financial abuse
If you keep the following in mind, there’s a very good chance you’ll be able to protect your elderly family member from falling victim to financial abuse.
1. Choose a trustworthy person to be in control of their finances
Make sure that someone you trust has access to the elderly person’s account so that they can monitor the account’s activity.
It might be best if this person isn’t part of the family because sometimes the bad decisions of taking money from a loved one’s account are made when they’re emotionally charged. A family member might be more prone to make that kind of choice rather than someone who is outside of that dynamic.
The person who has account oversight can keep a close eye on bank statements, looking for abnormal withdrawals from an ATM, or large checks being written that are unusual or outside the norm of their standard checks. The person could put stop payments on the checks or deactivate the debit card if needed.
2. Keep up-to-date with fraud schemes
There are a lot of predators who won’t hesitate to steal money from an elderly person. Check online periodically for any new fraud schemes that could potentially harm your loved one and make sure they’re aware of them so that they don’t fall victim to the scam.
3. Set up a revocable trust with a corporate trustee
A revocable trust could be an excellent choice, especially when you turn to a corporate trustee who will stay on top of all of the financial aspects of the trust. While a trusted friend may be able to do the same, they might not be able to do so as often as needed. A corporate trustee can watch the account and can make financial transactions on behalf of the elderly person.
This could also help your loved one avoid a scam because when the person who’s trying to take advantage of the elderly realizes that their intended victim doesn’t have the “keys” to the bank account, so to speak, they might lose interest in pursuing that scam.
4. Only pay with checks and credit cards
This will be especially important if your loved one is in a nursing home where, unfortunately, thefts are prevalent and are a regular occurrence. If the elderly person is a resident, make sure they only have checks and/or credit cards and no cash. It would also be a good idea to get the person a card that has limits on the amounts that can be spent per day, week, or month. There are cards available that can also let a non-card holder limit where money can be spent.
5. Consult an attorney before signing any complex documents
Please make it a point to tell your elderly loved one to never sign any document they don’t completely understand without speaking to an attorney first. If your loved one has cognitive issues and signs something they shouldn’t, your attorney may be able to have that document invalidated in a court of law.
Speak with Shrable Law Firm to learn more
If you suspect your elderly family member has been the victim of financial abuse, an Americus nursing home abuse lawyer with The Shrable Law Firm, P.C. may be able to help. Schedule a free evaluation of your case by contacting us online or calling (229) 349-6291.
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