MacFarlane Legal

Where Should Someone Report An Instance Of Financial Elder Abuse?

Someone cannot really report an instance of financial elder abuse because we know that the government can’t step in and make it stop. There is no agency that can step in and put an end to financial elder abuse unless the elder abuse rose to the level of criminal prosecution, and even then we have to get a guilty verdict. My strategy is to find the person who is there to protect that senior and use that person as our guard to stand at the gate and keep people out.

As long as the senior is willing to work with us, still has some capacity and has the ability to recognize that he or she has been taken advantage of, we can restructure their financial affairs so that the perpetrator does not have access to anything. We will make it so that the perpetrator would have to go through a younger, more diligent third party who is willing to refuse and say no. Sometimes the third party is a friend or a family member, and sometimes we end up hiring professional fiduciaries to do that job. In either case, we are there and we are putting a trusted third party in the position of a security guard to look after that senior’s real estate, money, investments, retirement accounts, income, and checking and savings accounts. We want them to oversee everything.

Why Is Financial Elder Abuse Not A Criminal Charge?

Financial elder abuse is criminal, but there is a difference between it being criminal and it being prosecuted and people going to jail. My advice is to always report these crimes to the police so that they can be prosecuted. In the meantime, we will stop the bleeding. If I am robbed at home, I’m definitely going to call the police, but I’m also going to buy a security screen door, a new deadbolt, and an alarm system. I’m going to do whatever it takes to keep myself safe, knowing that the police are there to try to catch the bad guys. I still have to do my part to make sure that I can protect myself and my family.

Is There Any Legislation Being Worked On To Ensure The Prevention Of Financial Elder Abuse?

I don’t really focus on the criminal aspect of these cases, so I can’t say whether or not there is any legislation being worked on to ensure the prevention of financial elder abuse. If something has been stolen, my advice is to report it to the police. We think that if someone is prone to elder abuse, we should get them a new trustee, a conservator, or better powers of attorney to watch over them and their assets. We should also separate them from the perpetrator in order to ensure that they are safe.

Can You Provide A Brief Overview Of How You Handle A Financial Elder Abuse Case?

Within 10 days of taking a financial elder abuse case, we’ve redone the trust, retitled the real estate, moved the bank accounts, moved the social security checks, changed the doctors, retitled the house, notified all of the insurance companies of the change and/or filed something and probably had it granted for emergency conservatorship. We act really fast because time is of the essence in these cases. When someone tells me that they are being robbed, we don’t have time to waste; we don’t want to tip off the perpetrator or have them think they have time to get in one last swipe.

What Documents Or Evidence Related To Financial Elder Abuse Should I Bring To My Attorney?

You should bring as much financial information as you have to your attorney. The most important thing to bring is the at-risk senior. I want to sit down and talk with the person who is being taken advantage of, figure out what is going on in their life and why we think that abuse may be occurring. Even if there is a strong suspicion of it, we will implement some security measures to protect that senior.

For more information on Reporting Financial Elder Abuse, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (916) 915-8770 today.

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