When people hear the term “elder abuse,” their thoughts often are turned to cases where elderly people who are in a vulnerable state are abused physically and emotionally. However, elder abuse can also be sexual and financial. When family members in Seattle are entrusted with making financial decisions for elderly loved ones, they are under the obligation of the law to conduct their decisions in a way that would have satisfied their incapacitated family member. Failure to do so can be damaging to relationships and also result in costly legal consequences.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, financial abuse can result when people use forgery, coercion, theft and misuse of power of attorney in exploiting an elderly individual. Often, people who have been entrusted with making financial decisions for their elderly family members have access to view sensitive information of that individual including data about personal benefits, assets and other belongings. If they misuse this information or keep their elderly loved one from viewing that information, they are abusing their power.
AARP suggests that if people recognize that family members are acting suspiciously or are withholding valuable financial information from an elderly relative, that efforts should be made to better track financial activity. If an elderly person is entirely unaware of serious financial problems involving his or her finances or is living in complete isolation, those could both be warning signs that financial abuse is happening. If people are concerned that their loved one is a victim of financial abuse, they should immediately contact the authorities to intervene and investigate.