A difficult issue to define is how financial abuse carries over to either mental or physical abuse of an elder. A recent study published by the National Institute on Aging reveals that impaired cognition affects approximately 20 percent of people aged 85 years or older. Abuse tends to happen when a relative or person in a trust uses an elder’s resources for that person’s own benefit.
One example might be when a son takes control of his 72-year-old parents’ ATM card and uses that card to buy groceries for his children. Likewise, an attorney or financial advisor could be in trouble if the son uses a power of attorney to transfer assets when documents were incorrectly created.
I have seen several red flags in my practice, including sudden, atypical large withdrawals directed to an unknown account. In our local area we had a predator who would knock on an elder’s front door and say the chimney was a hazard and should be fixed. This predator absconded with over $600,000 and tried to extract an additional $100,000 as a loan from my client.