Is an Elder being Abused?

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What is Elder Abuse?

Elder financial abuse occurs in many ways. It can involve:

  •  Abuse, misuse and/or fraudulent use of a Power of Attorney document 
  •  Living in the older adult’s home without their permission 
  •  Theft of the older adult’s assets, malicious use of a joint bank account, or withdrawing money from their account without their permission or knowledge 

Financial abuse (e.g. misuse of money) is the most commonly reported type of abuse against older adults, according to the Canadian Department of Justice. Most commonly, elder financial abuse is conducted by a family member, but it can also be inflicted by a caregiver, service provider, or another person in a position of power or trust.

The National Initiative for the Care of the elderly defines financial abuse as:

“An action or lack of action with respect to material possessions, funds, assets, property, or legal documents, that is unauthorized, or coerced, or a misuse of legal authority.”

This can occur in a variety of ways, including the ones mentioned above. Other ways financial abuse can take place include:

  • Monetary gifts made under coercion (force) or threat
  • Inappropriate use of a bank card, when a family member or friend is given the PIN to help with specific activities
  • Repeated borrowing, or family loans that are never paid back
  • Care agreements, where the older adult transfers property to an individual in exchange for care, which they do not provide
  • Predatory marriage (when someone marries an elder person for financial gain)
  • Pressuring an older person to sign documents they may not understand, or to sign over their home, vehicles, or investments

What are some signs of elder abuse?

While every case is different, common indicators of financial abuse on older adults can be:

  • Changes in living arrangements, which often involve a family member or friend moving in with or without consent
  • An unexplainable, sudden inability to pay for bills and necessities
  • Changes in banking patterns, including withdrawal of money from accounts, or a sudden uptick in expenses
  • The disappearance of possessions, or a changes in spending or quality of life
  • Changes in Power of Attorney documents and/or their will
  • Lack of knowledge about their financial situation

I think I or someone I love is experiencing elder financial abuse, what can I do?

We can assist you to put together the evidence required to prove elder abuse and assist you with civil remedies which focus on restitution. If abuse is found, the abuser may be ordered by the court to pay back the amount they misappropriated to the older person (or their estate if they are no longer alive). In addition, there may be punitive amount in further damages.

DISCLAIMER: If you/your loved one is being abused physically and is in danger, please contact the appropriate authorities such as the police. The information on this website relates to the civil crime of financial elder abuse (Gale Law does not practice criminal law).

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*DISCLAIMER*: The information and content on this website is for general information purposes only and is NOT legal advice. Use of this website does NOT create an attorney-client relationship between Gale Law Professional Corporation and the reader. Gale Law Professional Corporation makes no implicit or express representations or warranties. This website may contain links to third party sites or information that we find useful: these links should not be interpreted as a sponsorship, recommendation, or endorsement and Gale Law Professional Corporation makes no guarantee of their accuracy as Gale Law does not control those sites.