Often we will read or hear about an elderly person or couple unwittingly defrauded by a contractor, service provider or a family member, causing them to lose substantial money from their retirement savings. This kind of crime is known in general as financial abuse.
Seniors are particularly at risk for being financially abused. Sometimes this susceptibility is the result of diminished financial capacity, when aging conditions like Alzheimer’s or dementia impairs someone’s ability to make sound financial decisions. But older adults are often targeted also because they control the majority of the nation’s wealth. They frequently have homes which have appreciated over time, and they don’t realize the value of these assets.
There are other reasons why seniors are financially victimized, too. Sometimes seniors have people who can access their information or have influence over them, like home healthcare aides or family members who go in and out of their homes. They are also less likely to take action against someone financially abusing them because of embarrassment about any impairment that may have enabled the abuse. Don’t become a victim or allow a loved one to be victimized. Here are some ways you can protect against elder financial abuse:
Remember, elder financial abuse is a crime that can be considered civil and/or criminal. If you suspect your family member has been a victim of financial abuse, contact your local Adult Protective Services office. To find your state APS office, visit the National Center on Elder Abuse's website at www.ncea.aoa.gov (click on "Find State Resources"). Then consult an attorney right away and talk to your financial advisor.
Wood Smith Advisors, a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), is a fee-only financial services firm that partners with its clients to simplify their financial lives. We focus on women, entrepreneurs and individuals with complex financial situations, providing objective and competent advice, education and services to help them develop and build their businesses and reach their financial goals. We can be reached by clicking here.
“Finance Made Simple” blog posts are intended for educational purposes and not for specific advice. Each person’s situation is different. Consult your financial advisor for advice relating to topics discussed.