The warm climate, pristine beaches, beautiful waterways and countless golf courses make Miami, Florida a great place for the elderly to enjoy life and retirement with family and friends. However, sometimes the elderly can be taken advantage of financially in a domestic setting, such as in a nursing home or other elderly care facility. Financial elder abuse can also occur at a residential home when visiting caretakers gain access to an elder’s financial information.
This is why it is important to understand your legal rights if you or someone you know has become a victim of financial elder abuse. Contact an elder abuse-and-claims lawyer today at the law office of Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers for a no-cost, initial review of your claim. If your claim has merit, you could be eligible for financial compensation based on your losses and any other additional expenses related to your case.
Our attorneys are exceptional at applying local and federal laws, including referring to past cases involving financial elder abuse and claims. At the law firm of Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, our reputable lawyers are committed to protecting the rights of the elderly and helping elder abuse victims hold at-fault parties responsible for their actions.
Below, we discuss some ways the elderly could be abused financially by their caretakers, including some telling signs to look for that may indicate an abusive situation. If you suspect elder abuse of any kind, it is important to report it to the proper authorities followed by contacting a licensed lawyer. Our team of diligent attorneys are available 24/7 to discuss your unique situation.
What is Financial Abuse of the Elderly?
When a caretaker who knowingly, intentionally, or negligently takes advantage of a person’s finances who is over the age of 60, it could be considered financial elder abuse. Whether the caretaker purposely took the stolen funds for his or her own gain, or unnecessarily charged the elder for services or goods not received, both acts could be classified as financial elder abuse.
Sadly, many of these situations often go on for long periods for many reasons. Sometimes the elder may not realize the abuse is occurring until it is too late. Under Florida Statute 775.15 (10), the prosecution for this type of crime must be complete within five years of it being committed.
Other times the victim may not want to report the crime for fear of the situation getting worse. Elderly victims living in nursing homes may be intimidated by certain medical staff performing the abuse, which can make them afraid of speaking up. In addition, many elderly individuals may suffer from Alzheimer’s, dementia, memory loss, and other mental health issues that may preclude them from managing their own finances. Situations like these may call for the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney who has experience working with these types of cases.
Common Examples of Financial Elder Abuse
Some ways an elderly person could be financially abused include:
Stolen credit cards/cash: Sometimes an elderly nursing home resident may need assistance purchasing certain items such as food, coffee, medicine, clothing, magazines, books, gifts, games, and other basic necessities. When this is the case, they may trust a staff member to help them make these purchases. However, sometimes nursing home staff members and other caretakers may view this as a perfect opportunity to steal the credit card information or make purchases for him or herself. If the elderly victim is incapable of monitoring his or her own finances, it can go on for months or even years without it being detected.
Services not rendered: Many times, elderly nursing home residents are offered certain amenities and services that may be included or charged separately on their personal account or credit card. However, when these services are not delivered or offered to the resident, the nursing home staff or agency responsible for managing the services could be held liable.
Stealing valuables: Elderly residents may sometimes have personal belongings that are near and dear to their heart. However, when a nursing home staff member or other caretaker finds value in those items, sometimes things can go missing. If this is the case, it should be reported to the proper authorities immediately and you should contact an experienced attorney from a reputable firm as soon as possible. The Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers firm is always ready to discuss any potential elder abuse situation.
Taking control of power of attorney: It is not uncommon for elderly residents to own property, estates and other large assets under their namesake. However, once an elderly person signs over the power of attorney to another individual, he or she could legally become the new rightful owner of all the assets. Nursing home staff or other caretakers may try to dupe an elderly resident into mistakenly signing the power of attorney paperwork.
Oftentimes, nursing home residents and other elderly people may feel lonely and think that they have a “new friend” in one of their caretakers or other visitors. However, many times the “friendship” is based on financial exploitation. This is why it is important to have an elder abuse-and-claims lawyer from our firm evaluate your situation.
What Are Some Signs of Elder Financial Abuse?
Look for these signs that may indicate a financially abusive situation for an elderly person:
- Unexplained purchases and expenses
- Rapidly diminished bank account/cash
- Past due bills and eviction notices
- Checks or bank statements in the perpetrator’s name
- Missing valuables
- Forged signatures
- Changes with the elderly’s power of attorney or will
- Large bank transfers between accounts
- Unexplained ATM withdrawals the elderly person could not have made
- Extreme change in personality
- Anti-social behavior
While you may not think your loved one is in an abusive situation financially, it is always best to offer help with checking their finances. If you suspect elder abuse, we recommend reporting it to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs by calling 1-800-955-8771, followed by contacting a lawyer from our firm.
Seeking Legal Assistance Could Help You Recover Your Losses
If you or someone you know is a victim of financial elder abuse, contact a licensed attorney at the law office of Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers today. Our dedicated attorneys aim to protect the rights of the elderly throughout the Miami area and beyond (by appointment only).
Our firm has more than four decades of combined legal experience while helping our past clients recover more than $100 million combined in successful verdicts and settlements.
Seek legal advice to pursue your financial losses by contacting our firm and scheduling a complimentary, initial consultation. There is no obligation to retain our services and your information is always kept completely confidential.
Give us a call anytime, 24/7, at (561) 800-8000 or you can fill out a free consultation form to get started.