LA Probate Law on Financial Elder Abuse
The improper use of an elder’s funds, property or assets constitutes financial exploitation or abuse. An exploiter can be an individual, an institution, or even someone who has power of attorney for the elder. Assets must normally be recovered through a civil lawsuit or action. In some instances, the probate court has expedited procedures that allow asset recovery for the victims of elder abuse. If the victim is not able to protect himself, the probate court is empowered to appoint a conservator to pursue asset recovery. Interested parties such as heirs and beneficiaries are also entitled to seek court intervention. LA Probate Law has substantial experience with elder abuse and has recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars stolen assets for elders. Obvious examples of financial exploitation include cashing an elderly person’s checks without authorization; forging an older person’s signature; or misusing or stealing an older person’s money or possessions. Another example is deceiving an older person into signing any contract, will, or other document. If you find your loved one in trouble, please contact us immediately.
Prevention and Symptoms of Abuse
Anti-money laundering measures that should intercept stolen assets are not fully or effectively implemented. If corrupt leaders and officials never had the chance to deposit stolen assets into a foreign financial system in the first place, there would be no need for recovery! The obstacles may sound daunting, but we must not lose hope. In recent years, some countries have made asset recovery more of a priority and taken important steps towards overcoming the barriers says LA Probate Law. There is clearly room to improve the stolen asset recovery process, which is important as nations rebuild and pursue a course of transparency and economic growth. When jurisdictions work together to overcome the obstacles, stolen assets can be returned to the citizens to whom they rightfully belong. Symptoms of financial exploitation may include; sudden bank account changes, especially an unexplained withdrawal of large sums of money when accompanied by another; the provision of substandard care despite adequate finances; additional unexplained names on an elder’s bank signature card; sudden transfer of assets or changes in a will; disappearance of funds or valuable possessions; and an elder’s report of financial exploitation. The best prevention is perhaps the simplest, but it’s hard for many busy people. Check in regularly with the older person. Reducing isolation is the number one thing to do.
What to do if You know a Victim?
If your loved one is the victim of a crime, you should contact the authorities immediately. Please be warned, however, that in these situations you should also consult with a private attorney. Frequently governmental agencies do not have the resources to investigate the problems or will limit their investigation if they deem it a civil matter. Frequently, governmental agencies will stop their investigations if the abuser is “slick” or can convince the authorities that his actions are legitimate. LA Probate Law has frequently worked in conjunction with agencies such as Adult Protective Services to help victims of elder abuse. We also have substantial experience helping clients when governmental agencies have not or cannot help. Recovering assets from an elder abuser is like closing the barn door after the horse has bolted because you have to chase down those elusive assets. Constructive trust actions, however, can help to bring the “horse” back into the barn, or often times, more importantly, recover assets that were purchased with the elder’s stolen money or property. Courts have found the remedy appropriate even in those circumstances where the money obtained from the elderly victim was later used to buy new property. Not only is the wrongfully taken property subject to a constructive trust, so is any subsequent property purchased with those assets by the elder abuser. Now that’s a horse of a different color.
Financial assets controlled by an elderly person are often vulnerable to fraud and other forms of financial abuse by criminals and even unscrupulous family members. Financial elder abuse can take many forms, including the relinquishment or transfer of assets under duress, theft of monies, pension or retirement check conversion, or withholding from the person the funds he or she needs to live. The legal tools and procedures used by jurisdictions are not all the same. Law enforcement, prosecutors and investigating magistrates have to know how to navigate the laws of other countries and be prepared for a lengthy campaign. Taking a broader perspective, the note briefly reviews third party approaches to asset recovery and their implications for the asset recovery regime. LA Probate Law says that includes: transnational criminal approaches, human rights approaches and third party civil litigation. Developments in this area are unlikely to be driven through a negotiated process in the framework of international agreement. Instead, alternative avenues will be opened through the decisions of national authorities, judiciaries and activist litigants. Cases following human rights approaches are currently before national and regional courts. Financial abuse can rob a senior of self–esteem and trust, as well as of his or her means of subsistence. Although financial exploitation does not leave physical scars, it is a serious and shameful crime. If you or your elderly relative has been a victim of financial abuse, we would like to be of assistance.
LA Probate Law on Financial Elder Abuse
Latest posts by Scott Schomer, Estate Planning Attorney (see all)
- Understand the Limitations of Social Security and Medi-Cal - May 5, 2019
- Basic Estate Plan Components - May 4, 2019
- Estate Planning and Remarriage - May 3, 2019