Most estate planning attorneys are completely dedicated to the broader specialty of elder law, and to represent your clients properly you need to keep your ear to the ground and identify emerging trends. One issue that is getting a lot of attention is that of elder financial abuse, and when you look at the expansion of the senior population it is very likely that the problem is going to get worse before it gets better.
There is no particular birthday that you celebrate that makes you more vulnerable to financial abuse. The vulnerability of the elderly in this regard has everything to do with reduced cognitive abilities, and as we have mentioned in this space previously dementia is rampant among the elder population. So of course your con artists and scam purveyors are going to go after those who are the weakest.
Elderly people are drawn into all varieties of skulduggery, including Ponzi schemes, telemarketing scams, false charitable contributions, home improvement scams, and many others. Identity theft is a big problem for people of all ages and seniors are especially juicy targets for identity thieves due to the fact that they often have stellar credit and own their own homes.
It is sad to think that there are human beings out there who would make it their business to prey on elders that they do not know. But perhaps even more sad is the fact that the most common perpetrators of elder financial abuse are family members of the victims. And to drill down deeper into this statistic sons of senior citizens are 250% more likely to commit acts of elder financial abuse than any other relative. Caregivers, advisers, and “new friends” are also common abusers.
The financial abuse of our senior citizens is a serious matter that results in losses of some $2.6 billion a year. To find out how you can protect yourself legally it would be a good idea to broach the subject the next time you consult with your estate planning attorney.