I just completed working on a case where a neighbor had convinced a 95- and 93-year-old brother and sister to sign documents which supposedly would get them out of a nursing home; but in fact, the documents were Powers of Attorney and Last Wills and Testaments leaving everything to the neighbor. The neighbor had confined the 93-year-old gentleman to a chair in the living room in a diaper and had removed his prosthetic leg so he was unable to move. She left him like this for long periods of time and eventually gangrene set in, he was hospitalized, and died. Before he passed away, the neighbor tried to sell his grave next to his departed wife and, upon his death, had him cremated the next day. Through our efforts, we were able to get her convicted of theft, for which she served jail time; and to defeat her Powers of Attorney and the Will leaving everything to her. While it was a long and expensive process, justice was eventually served.
Statistics from the National Council on Aging indicate that 1 in 10 Americans over age 60 are taken advantage of, that only 1 in 14 cases are reported, and that 60% of perpetrators are family members. To protect yourself, it is important to know the warning signs whether it is happening to someone you care for, a friend, or yourself.
Here are some things to keep an eye out for to identify financial elder abuse. Look for sudden changes such as:
- Bills not being paid
- Suspicious changes in wills or powers of attorney
- Unusual withdrawal patterns
- Excessive voluntary payments for care and companionship
- Unusual purchases
At the Law Office of Jack Sturgill, we are dedicated to protecting clients to avoid elder abuse and to ensure that proper estate planning is done to carry out the wishes that the client wants. If you need any information or have questions, please contact us and we’ll ensure that you, your family, and loved ones do not become victims of abuse.