Financial abuse of the elderly is one of the most common forms of nursing home abuse. It usually occurs in the context of a family member or a nursing home employee taking money, assets or property of a nursing home resident without the consent of that resident or the person who has power of attorney over the resident. Other people like friends, family members or anybody who might have access to a nursing home resident’s financial information might also commit financial abuse. Deception is typically employed to perpetrate financial exploitation of a nursing home resident, but intimidation or coercion might also be used.
Why Nursing Home Residents are Targeted for Financial Abuse
Many nursing home residents are affected by cognitive disorders. Their caregivers, family members and others are positioned to take advantage of them. Residents are vulnerable to deception and manipulation, because they’re often easy targets, especially if they’re lonely and isolated. The more profound that a cognitive disorder might be, the more vulnerable a resident might be to financial abuse.
Common Types of Nursing Home Financial Abuse
There are a variety of ways that a nursing home resident might be financially abused. Here are a few of those ways:
- Fraud, theft, embezzlement or larceny.
- Actions out of the scope of a power of attorney.
- Conversion of investments.
- Using deception or force in changing property titles or wills.
Signs of Nursing Home Financial Abuse
There might be strong signs that a nursing home resident has become a victim of financial abuse. Here are some of the more common ones:
- Bank withdrawals of large sums of money.
- Repeated bank withdrawals of small sums of money.
- Any unexpected changes to wills, trusts, or to a power of attorney.
- Unexpected changes in the holding of bank accounts or investments.
- Sudden changes in titles to real estate.
- The loved one having no recollection of the transactions or transfers that you ask about.
Preventing Nursing Home Financial Abuse of Your Loved One
If nursing home financial abuse has occurred, it’s your loved one who is the victim of elder abuse. If he or she hasn’t lost their cognitive abilities, you might best prevent financial abuse by addressing it directly with him or her. Encourage them to do the following:
- Refuse to sign any documents that he or she hasn’t reviewed with you or their attorney.
- Not to keep financial information like account numbers or other private information in their nursing home room.
- Not to feel intimidated or pressured by anybody about making large investments or purchases.
- Not to throw financial information in the trash unless it’s shredded and thrown in several trash cans.
- Never permit a nursing home employee to complete a financial transaction for them.
- Always consult with you or their attorney before acting pursuant to an unusual request of a third party.
- Not to provide personal information or do business over the telephone or internet.
What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Financial Abuse
If you suspect that your loved one has become a victim of nursing home financial abuse, notify local police immediately. Then report it to the Kentucky Office of Adult Protection Services at 800-753-6200. This office has special authority to investigate nursing home financial abuse.
After you’ve contacted local police and Adult Protection Services, contact us at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC to arrange for a free confidential consultation and case review with a knowledgeable and experienced nursing home abuse lawyer from our law firm. You can tell us why you suspect nursing home financial abuse and how you believe it might have happened. You’re going to have questions, and we’ll answer them for you. Then, we’ll advise you on all available legal options. Act quickly on that request for a consultation before anything else goes missing or any documents are changed.