In California, one type of elder abuse that sometimes occurs is financial exploitation. In some cases, older adults are exploited by conservators who have been appointed by courts to protect their wards but instead take advantage of them. It is important for family members to be aware of the signs that their loved one might be the victim of financial exploitation so that they can take appropriate steps to end the abuse.
What is the financial exploitation of the elderly?
Financial exploitation of the elderly is a crime. This type of offense occurs when someone misappropriates or misuses an elderly person’s assets and deprives the victim of the benefit of using them for their care. In many situations, financial exploitation results in an elderly person not being left with enough resources for their own personal needs.
Signs of financial exploitation
Some of the signs of financial elder abuse by a conservator/trustee include the following:
- Conservator unexpectedly appointed
- Elderly person suddenly has a new caregiver or “friend”
- Elderly person becomes withdrawn and isolated from friends and family
- Unexplained, sudden change in elderly person’s routine
- Transferring titles
- Not having enough food, medicine, and other resources the elderly person should be able to afford
- Suspicious withdrawals and checks written to new recipients
- Missing valuables
When family members suspect that the conservator who has been appointed to manage an elderly loved one’s finances is engaging in financial exploitation, they should watch for the signs that abuse might be occurring.
If they see anything suspicious, they should alert the authorities to try to end the abuse of their loved one. They might also want to notify the court that appointed the conservator of their concerns and file petitions to terminate the conservator.