An elderly person often entrusts their financial matters to a family member or friend once they are unable to handle their finances on their own. Usually this relationship works well and allows the elderly person to have help with their financial matters. But, occasionally this trusted person takes advantage of the elderly person which can result in financial exploitation, and subsequently, probate litigation.
Financial exploitation of an elderly person is something that unfortunately happens to many Minnesotans. There are signs that can point to this type of abuse that family members should be aware of. One sign is that there are bills that are going unpaid. Also, there can be signs of neglect despite having plenty of money. If there is an eviction notice or prescriptions not being filled that can be a sign. Another serious problem is if there is a change to titles of property, power of attorney names being changed or wills and trusts being updated. Other signs are if caregivers or neighbors are receiving large or frequent gifts or if a family member no longer has access to their loved one. Any of these signs can indicate that there is a problem.
A person can be the victim of exploitation when someone has a legal obligation to take care of a vulnerable adult but makes unauthorized expenditures. Or, the responsible party may fail to make necessary payments for food, shelter, clothing, medications and other expenses. They can also spend the vulnerable adult's money without their consent.
If a family believes their deceased loved one was a victim of financial exploitation, they may want to pursue probate litigation. Issues such as undue influence or asset disputes can be handled by probate courts. In the end, it is important to do what is necessary to make sure such situations are resolved in a fair and appropriate manner.