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How to Recognize Elder Financial Abuse

Elder abuse is a big deal. Here are some simple things for you to look after.

Q: I’m worried about my grandfather, who is living with my uncle. I suspect my uncle is taking advantage of my grandfather’s finances. What are the signs of elder financial abuse?

A: Elder financial abuse is becoming more common, and it’s usually family members or close friends who are the perpetrators.

 It’s not always easy to spot the abuse, so it’s important to be aware of these common signs:  

  1. Taking money. One of the most common signs of elder financial abuse is the perpetrator simply taking and using money from the accounts.
  • You may notice unusual withdrawals, transfers, and checks from your grandfather’s accounts.
  • This can include bank accounts, savings, pensions, and other accounts. Your grandfather may not understand or know about the withdrawals or checks. Your uncle may be cashing out the accounts.
  1. Forced signatures on documents. Your uncle may be forcing your grandfather to sign over property deeds or make a new will. He may also try to get your grandfather to sign a power of attorney, so your uncle can take control of your grandfather’s finances.
  1. Unpaid bills and disconnection notices. A pile of unpaid bills can be a sign that your uncle is using your grandfather’s money for himself instead of paying the bills.
  • Your grandfather may not even be aware of the unpaid bills. Your uncle could be lying to your grandfather about paying the bills, while he is actually spending the money on other things.
  1. Account statements with address changes. If your grandfather hasn’t moved, then the account statements shouldn’t have different addresses. Your uncle may change the addresses to receive the statements elsewhere. This makes it easier to control the finances and cover their tracks.

If you suspect that your grandfather may be the victim of elder financial abuse, then it’s important to get help. You may need to contact the police and get an attorney involved.

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Topics: wealth management, senior citizen, elder abuse

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