Seeking Justice for Elder Financial Abuse
Elder financial abuse is one of several kinds of elder abuse that involves the illegal or improper use of a senior’s assets or the abusive control of their financial assets by a trusted caregiver or caregiving organization. Seniors harmed by financial abuse can be left devastated – both financially and emotionally – which is why it’s so important for loved ones to keep a lookout for signs of elder financial abuse.
Signs of elder financial abuse
There are signs that can point to elder financial abuse. If you have a vulnerable senior parent or loved one, please take the time to become familiar with the signs of elder abuse of financial resources:
- A caregiver stops paying for necessary medical care or supplies and other basic necessities.
- There is a sudden, unexplained drop in your loved one’s bank balance.
- A relative or caregiver starts asking a lot of questions about your elderly loved one’s finances.
- There is a new will or other legal document that makes a caregiver the “power of attorney”, gives them the right to spend the senior’s money, adds their name to one or more bank accounts, or makes them the sole beneficiary of an account.
- The caregiver or organization tells you that money has gone missing.
- You are not able to get through to speak to your loved one on the phone.
- Your loved one is suddenly depressed or fearful.
- Your loved one is making a lot of big financial decisions all at once, such as selling off property.
Is elder abuse a crime in Washington State?
Yes, elder financial abuse is a serious crime in Washington State. If an individual or organization is convicted of elder abuse, including financial exploitation, neglect, or abandonment, they may be barred from caring or volunteering with children and vulnerable adults for the rest of their life. In addition, a civil suit may be brought against the individual or organization that seeks to recover damages for the plaintiff.
What should I do if financial abuse is occurring?
If you suspect that your elderly loved one is the victim of financial abuse, the first thing you should do is report the abuse. For victims in Washington State, contact the Washington State Department of Health and Human Services at 1-877-734-6277. To report elder fraud to the FBI, call 1-800-CALL FBI (225-5324), or file a complaint online at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
Next, speak to an attorney who can help you investigate the abuse. A lawyer can assess your concerns and let you know if your loved one is the victim of a crime and what legal remedies are available. If the financial abuse is being committed by a healthcare professional, such as a home caregiver or a nurse at a nursing home, a personal injury attorney may file a personal injury suit to recover damages from the individual or organization.
Seek the help of a nursing home abuse attorney
If your loved one has been injured as a result of abuse or neglect, you may be feeling overwhelmed with how to help them. Let an experienced nursing home abuse attorney help you fight for justice. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a good lawyer. Call the caring elder abuse attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!