Financial abuse 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.
What is elder abuse?
Elder financial abuse occurs in many ways. It can involve abuse or fabrication of a Power of Attorney document, living in the older adult’s home without permission or sharing or expenses, theft of the older adult’s assets, malicious use of a joint bank account, or ATM fraud.
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 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
- 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
- Lack of knowledge about the 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 or placing the victim in a place where harm has not occurred. The result if abuse is found usually involves the abuser having to pay back the amount they gained illegally, in addition to a punitive amount in further damages.
What to do next
We understand that this is a difficult time for you and your family and this is merely a brief overview of the law regarding elder financial abuse. Your best interest is our main concern and we make sure to adopt cost-effective solutions in a timely manner.
We will explain your rights and options in a manner that is easy for you to understand.
We also offer a free consultation, which is an opportunity for you to speak to a lawyer before making any commitment. Call us for a free consultation on (416) 868-3263, or book your consultation here.
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