Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu

Protecting Elderly Family Members From Financial Abuse


The stories of elder abuse that often make headlines tend either to involve nursing home neglect, where elderly residents suffered preventable illnesses, injuries, and general decline of health because they received inadequate attention from nursing home staff, or else sensational tales of undue influence, where an unscrupulous person attached himself or herself to a lonely senior and offered friendship or romance in exchange for a steady stream of money transfers or expensive gifts.  We have all heard about the 26-year-old woman who wrote a check for over $300,000, drawn on the bank account of her septuagenarian husband, and tried to cash it at an Amscot store and about the Sanibel Island priest who accepted multiple gifts of expensive jewelry from an elderly, recently widowed parishioner, but most cases of elder abuse are much more mundane and would not make for shocking headlines.  Socially isolating the victim from people who care about him or her is often the first step toward physical or financial abuse.  Everyone who is in poor health and isolated from family and friends is vulnerable to financial exploitation.  To find out more about how to protect yourself and your family, contact a Dade City elder law attorney.

Common Types of Financial Exploitation That Affect the Elderly

Financial abuse of the elderly can come from strangers, family members, or opportunists who present themselves as friends.  These are some common scenarios in which elderly people can lose large amounts of money through fraud or duress:

  • One family member who acts as a primary caregiver to the victim isolates the victim from other family members and then persuades the victim to change his or her will so that the caregiver becomes the primary beneficiary. This can also happen with professional caregivers, but it is more common with family caregivers.
  • A scammer strikes up a friendship or romance with a lonely senior, in person or online, and then asks for gifts of cash and valuable items until the senior runs out of money or someone discovers the fraud, whichever happens first.
  • Scammers contact victims by phone or online and persuade the victims to send money, promising that it is for an investment with an excellent rate of return. This is known as a cash flip scam.

What Should You Do to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones?

To protect yourself from the first kind of financial exploitation, which is known as undue influence, you should sign a springing power of attorney sooner rather than later, while you are still healthy.  You should be as detailed as possible about your financial plans and preferences, so the agent can act in accordance with your wishes when the document goes into effect.  If you are worried about a family member, stay in contact with him or her so you can know what is going on in the person’s life, and contact an elderly law attorney if you suspect that your family member is being financially exploited.

Contact a Florida Estate Planning Attorney About Preventing Elder Abuse

An estate planning attorney can help you protect yourself and your family from elder abuse.  Contact The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane in Dade City, Florida to discuss your estate plan.



Facebook Twitter LinkedIn