Mason & Helmers
We Welcome Your Call
  • Phone 651-323-2548
  • Toll Free 877-389-5533

Warning for Minnesotans: watch out for financial abuse of elders

Recently, Minnesota's Commerce Commissioner urged the families of senior citizens to use tax time as an opportunity to look for signs of financial abuse, and a recent insurance industry study may give Twin Cities residents extra cause for concern over the estate of a senior loved one. The study concluded that as many as 60 percent of cases reporting financial exploitation of vulnerable adults involved coercion or undue influence by a grown-up child.

Seniors who own real estate may be particularly vulnerable to fraud, which in turn threatens to deprive heirs of a future inheritance. In one case, a son convinced his elderly mother to take out a reverse mortgage totaling $100,000, only for the son to gamble away the entire payout. The son faced criminal prosecution, but only after depriving his mother's estate of much of the value of her property.

Similar stories abound. For example, the daughter of one woman diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease misused funds from a reverse mortgage to pay off credit cards and buy herself gifts. In another particularly disturbing case, a man used the threat of suicide to coerce his grandparents into giving him money from their reverse mortgage arrangement.

Minnesotans with seniors in the family would do well to stay alert for signs of elder financial abuse. Even with a guardianship or conservatorship in place, seniors may still be susceptible to fraud in the absence of oversight by concerned family members. In some cases, the damage caused by fraud against seniors cannot be undone unless acted upon quickly, which is why anyone who suspects a vulnerable adult is being exploited will want to be aware of all the legal options for protecting their loved one and his or her assets.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "When senior mortgage fraud hits home," Lew Sichelman, March 16, 2012

Source: Spotlight on Elder Abuse, "New Effort Targets Elder Fraud, Financial Abuse (MN. USA)," Feb. 14, 2012

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

For Assistance with Estate Disputes & Other Matters, Contact Us

To learn more about the firm and how we can assist you,
contact Mason & Helmers in St. Paul, Minnesota. Call 651-323-2548 or 877-389-5533 (toll free) to set up an appointment.

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review
rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ fall into two categories — legal ability and general ethical standards.

Contact Our Attorneys

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Email Us For A Response
Mason & Helmers

Mason & Helmers
332 Minnesota Street
Suite W-3070
St. Paul, MN 55101

Toll Free: 877-389-5533
Phone: 651-323-2548
St. Paul Law Office Map