People will try to target the most vulnerable, including older individuals. In fact, the FBI estimates that $3 million is lost annually due to elder fraud. There are many tactics used to obtain a financial hold on someone else’s money, so elders and their families need to stay vigilant about this practice.
Older adults or loved ones of these individuals who fear they may be victims of financial elder abuse can ask the following questions to assess the situation.
Am I Being Limited Financially?
One of the most common forms of financial elder abuse is when a caregiver or other trusted individual limits an older person's ability to engage in activities that could result in financial gain. For instance, a caregiver might forbid a more senior person from working, selling property, or using their assets to generate income. This can leave the older person dependent on the abuser for financial support, which can, in turn, lead to further abuse and exploitation.
Am I Being Threatened About Finances?
Another common action is a verbal threat. This could include someone saying there will be severe consequences if an elder does do actions such as:
- Give the threatening person money;
- Sign over property or other assets; and,
- Allow the threatening person to take control of the elder’s financial assets.
Who is in Control of My Finances?
There are various ways that an abuser can gain control over an elder's finances. In some cases, the abuser may take control of the elder's bank accounts, forge their signature on legal documents, or steal credit cards. In other matters, the abuser may coerce the elder into signing over power of attorney or giving them access to the elder's will. Still, others may set up false accounts in the elder's name to siphon off their money.
Keeping Your Financial Assets Where They Belong
With a proper estate plan in place, an elder and their loved ones can feel confident that finances are being managed properly and if an issue were to arise, they have the legal documents in place to help with the situation.
The experienced team at Krause Estate Planning has helped countless individuals prepare estate plans and provide support for probate matters. If you have questions regarding the estate planning process and how to keep a loved one’s or your finances protected, contact us at (608) 344-5491. We provide services throughout Wisconsin, including Janesville, Madison, Middleton, Milwaukee, Oregon, Sun Prairie, Verona, and Waunakee.