The federal Elder Justice Act defines financial abuse of the elderly as, “the fraudulent or otherwise illegal, unauthorized, or improper act… that uses the resources of an elder for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain, or that results in depriving an elder the rightful access to, or use of, benefits, resources, belongings, or assets.” Dishonest individuals, both within and outside the family, may take advantage of a person in Los Angeles hospice care due to their higher level of vulnerability. This type of abuse costs the loss of an estimated $4.17 billion per year, so it is not to be taken as a light matter.
What are the signs of financial abuse or fraud?
Suspicious checks made out to the perpetrator
Unfamiliar charges to bank accounts
Changes to the power of attorney or the elder’s will.
Financial documents with forged signatures
Sometimes a new “friend” may come into a Los Angeles hospice care patient’s life to take advantage of their money. They will earn the trust of an incredibly isolated individual so that they will be granted access to their bank accounts and other assets. Other scammers, such as a contractor or bank examiner, may pose as someone they are not. Such people will often target older people who have dementia so that they are easier to manipulate.
Speak up if you feel something is shady. Do not remain silent if you think any person may be taking advantage of your elderly relative. Even if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation where you must confront a member of your family, you must stand up for what is right. If you need to take legal action, contact an elder financial abuse attorney as soon as possible.
Establish all necessary legal and financial documents ahead of time
Regardless of age, we should all take the required procedures to appoint a trusted person to manage our finances if we are ever rendered unable due to illness or an accident. By using a power of attorney, you can choose someone to handle your financial decisions if you cannot do so for yourself. Create a healthcare power of attorney to decide your health care if you cannot do so while creating this crucial financial instrument. Additionally, an advance directive should be completed at this time to clearly outline your specific healthcare preferences and serve as a guide for anyone assigned to your power of attorney.
Include a trusted contact
This contact can be a family member you know is dependable or a close friend that the elder knows and trusts. Most accounts can have a trusted connection added by choosing this option from banks and investment companies. If there is suspicious activity in your account and the bank cannot reach you, they will use this individual as a backup. This trusted contact can be a member of your family, an accountant, an attorney, or any other person who will protect your financial interests and respect your privacy. The trusted contact lacks the power to use your account to conduct transactions. A simple confirmation of your current contact information, state of health, or the identification of your executor, trustee, guardian, or power of attorney is all required.
Always stay in the loop.
Monitoring bank accounts, credit cards, and investments are now simpler than ever. You can set up email and text message notifications whenever your cards are used. By being informed and in close contact, loved ones can assist in defending their family against fraud and financial elder abuse. Being there in your loved one’s life is the most important thing you can do to stop fraud for a Los Angeles hospice or palliative care patient.
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