Nursing home financial abuse occurs when one person is confined to a nursing home and another person illegally acquires or uses the nursing home resident’s assets. In many instances of nursing home financial abuse, the victim might be suffering from a cognitive disorder and not even be aware of the fact that his or her assets have been acquired or used. If your friend or loved one is a nursing home resident, and you believe that his or her assets have been misappropriated, an investigation should be commenced as soon as possible.
Who is Most Likely to Commit Nursing Home Financial Abuse?
It’s usually not nursing home staff who commit nursing home financial abuse. It’s often the nursing home resident’s own family members. The financial abuse can go on and on until its’s discovered. That’s because there are no objective and obvious signs of physical injury to the resident. Here are a few examples of nursing home financial abuse:
- Cashing checks that a resident is the designated payee on.
- Forging the signature of the resident on legal documents or property titles.
- Theft of personal property like jewelry or electronic devices.
- Using undue influence to get a resident to sign a will or a power of attorney.
- Improperly using a power of attorney.
- Using the resident’s credit cards.
- Selling the resident’s personal or real property and retaining the proceeds.
Red Flags That Might Indicate Nursing Home Financial Abuse
As nursing home financial abuse can happen in a wide variety of ways, there are also a variety of ways that it might be spotted. Here are a few red flags that might raise questions:
- Bank statements that are no longer received by the resident.
- The resident having no recollection of having transferred title to personal or real property.
- Large cash withdrawals from banks.
- A frequent history of small withdrawals from banks.
- Recent changes to a will, trust or power of attorney.
- A sudden series of bills that have gone unpaid.
- Having a new “best friend.”
Preventing Nursing Home Financial Abuse
One of the best ways of preventing nursing home financial abuse is to visit the nursing home resident frequently. It he or she suspects financial abuse, frequent visits will allow opportunities to talk to you about it. Stay involved in their daily care as much as possible. Get to know the people who are caring for your loved on a daily basis too. That might be the best way of protecting against staff abuse. If possible, you’ll want to handle your loved one’s finances yourself. Make sure that you alone are the person who has access to their bank accounts, credit cards and personal information that could be used for identity theft.
Reporting Nursing Home Financial Abuse
The financial abuse of a nursing home resident is intentional and a crime under Kentucky law. It should be reported as soon as it’s discovered. First, it should be reported to local police. After that report is made, it should also be reported to the Kentucky Office of Adult Protection Services (APS) by calling 800-753-6200. Kentucky’s legislature has given APS special authority to investigate nursing home financial abuse.
Nursing home abuse can also be pursued in the civil courts. That’s why you should contact us at Kaufman & Stigger PLLC, and we’ll arrange for a consultation with a caring and compassionate Lexington nursing home abuse lawyer from our offices. We promise to listen to you closely and answer your questions. All legal options will be fully explained too. Then, if we enter into a retainer agreement to represent you or your loved one, our goal will be to obtain the highest settlement or verdict that’s deserved in the case.