It is often difficult to notice when someone has become a victim of elder financial abuse. From personal experience, I can say that it is even difficult for attorneys to recognize that elder abuse has gone on in the context of what may seem like a basic contract dispute. Missing a cause of action for elder abuse can be devastating for a plaintiff suing another party who has wronged them. Speaking with an experienced elder law attorney is a good idea when you may suspect an instance of elder abuse.
The laws prohibiting elder abuse are becoming very favorable for victims and the definition of elder abuse has expanded to include a great deal of behavior that is done for a "wrongful purpose" and is intended to harm or would likely harm an elder over 65 years of age. There are many types of behaviors that can qualify for elder abuse.
One form that is particular to family members or close friends occurs when an individual gets an elderly person to sign a power of attorney that gives that individual the authority to head straight to the bank and take out money. When this happens and the individual uses the money for their own expenses rather than assisting the elder, elder abuse possibly has occurred. Another scenario could involve a family member who cares for an elder but then convinces the elder to put their name on the deed to house to avoid probate or some other legal hassle. Soon afterwards, that individual may take out a loan using the house as collateral and use the money for their own purposes leaving the elder at risk of foreclosure if the loan isn't repaid.
An elder law attorney can help stop the bleeding in most cases of elder abuse. If a family member has taken advantage of an elder the law provide many remedies that can close-off that individual's access to the elder's money. The Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (EADACPA) also provides for many remedies such as punitive damages and pain and suffering damages that could recoup the losses and make it attractive for an attorney to take on the case and help punish the wrongdoer.
An essential element to a successful elder abuse claim is that SOMEONE MUST REPORT THE ABUSE. Because elder abuse often goes unreported, many individuals are being scammed out of their hard-earned money and the people they want to give the money to when they pass away are being left in the dust. Call an elder law attorney is you suspect your loved one has been the victim of elder abuse.