As people age, they often become more vulnerable and reliant upon others. Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for some family members, friends and caregivers to take the opportunity to engage in a little financial exploitation.
How do you know if your parent has put their trust in the wrong person? When you’re worried that your aging parent might be a victim of financial exploitation, it can be a source of immense stress. Financial abuse against the elderly is a prevalent issue, and it’s not something to be taken lightly. Here are some warning signs.
There are sudden financial changes for the worse
One of the most significant signs of exploitation is when a parent’s financial situation takes an unexpected and unexplained turn. If they’ve made big withdrawals from their savings account with nothing to show for it, or they’ve gotten strangely cagey about their expenses, those are clear indicators that something may be wrong.
They have a new “best friend” who seems to exert a lot of control
Scam artists are everywhere, and a lot of them prey on the elderly. Whether it’s a family member or someone else, you should be wary of close relationships that seem to develop out of the blue. If that person suddenly seems to be managing your parent’s finances or has power of attorney, that’s a cause for concern.
Money or valuables are missing, and your parent doesn’t know why
Unexplained transfers of assets to a family member or friend or missing jewelry and family heirlooms are common signs of financial abuse. If your parent can’t or won’t give you a reasonable explanation for what’s happened to their possessions, there’s likely a problem.
If your parent has been undergoing some mental changes that make it hard for them to resist scams or understand when someone is trying to take advantage of them, it may be time to step in. Guardianship can help you protect them. Experienced legal guidance can make it easier to navigate this delicate situation.