Elder abuse throughout the United States has started to increase as millions of a adults in America begin to reach advanced ages. Certain forms of abuse such as neglect, physical assault, and sexual assault are easier to recognize, while financial elder abuse is much harder to spot.  Financial abuse can occur in a number of ways with a person being victimized by strangers who prey on the vulnerable or by members of his or her own family. Mickey Rooney, an actor whose career spanned over 80 years, was the victim of financial elder abuse at the hands of his stepson and became one of the first celebrities to draw awareness to the growing problem. Protecting family members from financial elder abuse can keep the people you love safe while preserving the legacy that they have spent their entire lives building.

 Recognize the Signs

The signs of financial abuse in the elderly are not as obvious as when physical abuse occurs, making it harder for loved ones to identify. One of the primary signs of financial elder abuse is a sudden lack of knowledge regarding their own finances. A person who has always known about income sources, bank account balances, and bill payments who suddenly seems unaware of any of this information may be the victim of financial abuse. Other possible signs are isolation in the form of no longer speaking to, or spending time with, people close to them without offering an explanation. Cases of financial elder abuse often go unreported until a third party notices that something is wrong.

 Talk About Your Suspicions

Noticing financial elder abuse is not enough to protect your loved ones. If you begin to suspect that abuse is occurring, you must be willing to discuss your suspicions with those closest to you in order to find answers. Talking to other family members and friends who know the victim can offer insight into what is occurring. Financial abuse costs victims in the United States billions of dollars each year and hesitating to discuss concerns or talk about your suspicions can lead to your loved one losing more while being victimized for longer periods of time.

 Obtain Evidence

Getting evidence that financial elder abuse is occurring is an important part of helping a victim regain control over his or her life and finances. Evidence of financial abuse may come in the form of credit reports that show unusual credit activity, sudden changes to wills or estate plans, or financial transactions that helped the accused while harming the victim. California court has seen an increase in claims, and factual evidence that can be presented in court helps the accuser while forcing the defendant to explain his or her actions.

 Contact a Lawyer

Protecting your loved ones from this form of abuse can be accomplished by taking steps to make it harder for others to victimize them. An elder law attorney can provide advice for establishing a conservatorship if an aging family member is at risk or explain other types of trusts that are appropriate. MMZ Law is able to work with you to protect those who are closest to you. Contact our Claremont, 909-256-6702, California office today to schedule your appointment so that we can begin providing the legal advice you need.

*We service Elder Law through Medi-Cal Asset Protection Planning



341 W. 1st St. Suite 100
Claremont, CA 91711

MARIVEL M. ZIALCITA is the founder of MMZ LAW, A Professional Corporation, where she practices in the areas of Elder Law – Medi-Cal Planning Asset Protection, Trust & Estate, Special Needs, Conservatorship, Trust Administration, & Probate. Ms. Zialcita is a frequent speaker on trust and estate matters and holds memberships in the State Bar of California, Trust and Estate Section, The San Bernardino County Bar Association, Wealth Counsel and Elder Counsel. She currently assists in the pro bono legal services program at the James L. Brulte Senior Center in Rancho Cucamonga, California. She is based in Claremont but assists clients throughout Southern California.

This information is educational information only and not legal advice.