When your mother or father is getting up in age, the last thing you want to do is leave them vulnerable to being taken advantage of. On one hand, you know that they are still currently capable of taking care of themselves, but on the other, you know that their mental health could decline in the coming years.
How can you protect them against manipulation by their caregivers or others around them? You can get to know the red flags of financial abuse and manipulation.
Financial exploitation is common among the elderly
The elderly sometimes get confused or cannot stand up for themselves when someone is taking advantage of their situation. They might sign a contract without reading it because they trust the person they’re talking with to make good decisions about their care. They might give someone a debit card expecting that they’ll only use it for the one thing they wanted and not spend more.
Five common red flags that your loved one is being taken advantage of financially include:
- Missing money from their bank accounts, home safes or investment accounts.
- Unexpected changes in your loved one’s will or legal documents.
- Changes in the titles to property or real estate.
- Lending large amounts of money to caregivers or lavishing them with gifts.
- Sudden notices about missing payments when they should have plenty of money to cover them.
If you start seeing these kinds of signs, it’s important that you do take action to make sure your family member is protected. Stepping in as soon as you can and locking down those accounts could be a possibility.
Another option could be to take a different party to court, especially if they are violating your loved one’s rights by stealing from them. If your loved one was coerced to sign documents or give away assets, it may be possible to get legal documents altered back to their original state or to regain access to lost assets.
This is a difficult position for someone to find themselves in. Be aware now, so you can help prevent these issues in the future.