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Probate and Estate Litigation Blog

Elderly vulnerable to financial exploitation

Financial exploitation of the elderly is a problem in Minnesota and across the country. There are many ways that an elderly person can be exploited, but financial abuse can have serious implications on a person's financial well-being. There are certain risk factors a family should be aware of in order to spot elder financial abuse.

Recognizing elder financial abuse is not always easy. Often, financial abuse is caused by family members. A family should be aware of certain risk factors that can lead to financial abuse. One risk factor is poor physical health. If a person cannot take care of themselves and is sick, they probably are not able to keep watch over their finances. Another risk factor is cognitive impairment. If an elderly person loses their ability to balance their checkbook or read their statements, they can easily be taken advantage of without their knowledge. If a person has difficulties doing daily living activities, they probably are not able to take care of their money. And, if they don't have a social network account, they may not be aware of potential scams. In general, elders who are socially isolated are often at risk for financial exploitation.

If a family believes their elderly relative has been the victim of financial exploitation, they may want to speak to a legal professional. An attorney can review a family's concerns regarding their loved one and investigate where the exploitation may be occurring. Attorneys are skilled at recognizing financial abuse due to a family member's undue influence. They can take immediate action to ensure the elderly person's assets and well-being are protected.

No one expects their loved one will be the victim of financial exploitation, but it can happen to anyone. Having an attorney who specializes in trust administration can help a family minimize the damage that is caused.

Source: Forbes, "4 Risk Factors For Elder Financial Abuse," John Wasik, Feb. 12, 2017

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