Fighting Back Against Financial Abuse of Elders in California

As experienced elder abuse attorneys in California, we know that recognizing the signs of elder mistreatment is not always easy. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. If you suspect your elderly loved one is being abused, neglected, or exploited, contact Case Barnett Law for help.

Financial exploitation is always unacceptable, no matter who the victim is. However, it is particularly tragic—and devastating—when it involves an elder, perhaps because they are particularly vulnerable to abuse. 

The damaging effects of elder financial abuse cannot be overstated. Depending on their specific circumstances, an elderly individual may wake up to find all their savings gone, never to be seen again. Instead of living out their golden years in comfort and dignity as planned, they will be forced to scrape by on what little they have left. 

At Case Barnett Law, we can’t stand to see elderly individuals taken advantage of. Our law firm fights passionately against elder abuse in all of its forms, from neglect andOrange County Elder Abuse Attorney Fighting Against Financial Abuse of Elders physical abuse to financial exploitation. 

As a particularly insidious form of elder abuse, financial exploitation often goes unnoticed until it’s too late. This article will explain everything you need to know about elder financial exploitation, common warning signs of financial abuse, and how an Costa Mesa personal injury attorney can help you build a legal case against the abuser. 

Are you concerned about your elderly loved one’s safety and well-being? If you suspect abuse, neglect, or exploitation, you need to act now. Call our law office at (949) 409-0055 to discuss your situation with a compassionate elder abuse attorney in Orange County today.

What Is Elder Financial Exploitation?

Elder financial exploitation is essentially how it sounds: The financial abuse of an elder. It is a form of fraud when someone uses an older adult’s funds, property, or other assets for personal gain without the older individual’s consent. 

Although the concept of elder financial abuse is straightforward, it isn’t always easy to spot. This type of exploitation can take many forms and encompass a wide range of conduct. Here are some of the most common ways in which elder financial abuse occurs: 

  • Unauthorized use of funds or property. This type of exploitation occurs when someone uses an elderly individual’s financial resources or property for purposes other than the elder’s benefit and without their permission to do so.
  • Coercion or deception. Persuading or tricking an elderly person into signing over assets, giving money, transferring wealth, or relinquishing their decision-making authority is an especially cruel form of financial exploitation. 
  • Abuse of authority. Elder financial abuse also occurs when someone with legal authority (such as an elder’s power of attorney) abuses their power for financial gain. 
  • Scams, schemes, and fraud. Elderly individuals are particularly vulnerable to scams and are sometimes tricked into giving their money away with the promise of financial returns, such as through lottery or investment scams. 
  • Denying access to funds. Denying elderly individuals access to their own money—or restricting their ability to use their financial resources—is a type of financial abuse that many elders experience, commonly at the hands of family members. 
  • Exercising undue influence. Exploiting an older person’s trust to influence their financial decisions for personal gain is another type of elder financial abuse that can have devastating consequences for the victim. 

One of the saddest truths about elder financial abuse is that strangers or mere acquaintances don’t always carry it out. In many cases, it is committed by those closest to an elderly individual, including family members, caregivers, and friends, which is why it is important to know the signs of financial exploitation. 

Recognizing the Signs of Elder Financial Abuse

Financial abuse of an elder can be challenging to detect, especially if the elder has cognitive impairments or lives in isolation. 

Knowing the warning signs of financial abuse is crucial for early intervention and prevention, which is why everyone with an elderly loved one or aging parent should be on the lookout for these key indicators: 

  • Suspicious financial activity. Unexplained transactions, including bank withdrawals, large or unusual purchases, or any changes in financial practices that the elderly individual cannot explain
  • Unauthorized changes to wills. Sudden changes to legal or financial documents, such as new or revised wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and changes in heirs or beneficiaries
  • Lack of personal care. Basic needs being unmet, including a lack of food, medication, and necessities, despite having the financial means to afford them
  • Aversion to speaking about finances. Increased secrecy or anxiety about money, often stemming from suspicion and embarrassment about being the victim of financial abuse
  • Isolation. Increased isolation from friends or family, especially when it is being encouraged or orchestrated by one individual
  • Loss of valuables. Missing funds and valuables, including the unexplained disappearance of expensive personal items, cash, or other property
  • New and uncharacteristic relationships. New relationships that seem odd or uncharacteristic and that get serious quickly
  • Unexplained mood changes. Mood and behavior changes, including depression, confusion,and lack of confidence

Keep in mind that while these are common red flags for financial abuse, they are also warning signs of other situations, health conditions, and life changes. Although far from definitive proof, the presence of one or more warning signs is enough to warrant speaking with an Orange County elder abuse lawyer for legal advice.  

Building a Case Against Your Loved One’s Abuser

If you suspect your loved one is being financially exploited or abused, there are several things you can do to prepare for the possibility of legal action. Remember that your loved one is in an uncomfortable situation and vulnerable to retaliation, so you need to adopt a careful, strategic approach to your investigation.

If you uncover suspicious financial activity, gathering as much documentation as possible is crucial, as it will serve as invaluable evidence in the event of a lawsuit. This evidence may include bank statements, revised legal documents, receipts for large or unusual purchases, and more. Any useful information, including purchase dates, amounts, descriptions, etc., should be kept. 

After you have something to substantiate your suspicions, it’s a good idea to consult an Orange County elder law attorney before taking further action. A legal expert can help ensure you aren’t violating any laws and provide you with the resources and roadmap to build a solid legal case against your loved one’s abuser. 

An experienced California elder abuse lawyer has the resources to conduct a more thorough investigation than you could alone. They can help you secure more elusive types of documentation, gather witness testimony, obtain forensic accounting services, secure your loved one’s remaining assets, and even report to the authorities. 

If your elder abuse case goes to court, your attorney will present a compelling, evidence-rich case for why your elderly loved one deserves compensation. With expertise in legal proceedings and a deep understanding of the legal framework, your attorney will ultimately provide you with the best chance to secure restitution for your elderly loved one. 

Case Barnett Law: Trusted Elder Abuse Attorneys in California

Each elder abuse case is unique and deserves a custom-tailored approach, which is precisely what the Orange County elder abuse lawyer team at Case Barnett Law provides. With top-tier legal strategies, a reputation for excellence, and a winning track record that speaks for itself, our law firm is the hands-down choice to advocate for your loved one’s rights. 

Ready to get started? Contact us online to schedule a free consultation or at (949) 409-0055 to speak with a knowledgeable legal professional today.

Case C. Barnett
Costa Mesa Personal Injury Attorney practicing in child injury law, car accident injuries and elder abuse law
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