What are the signs of abuse of power by a fiduciary?

On Behalf of | Feb 17, 2022 | Financial Elder Abuse

Older California residents should be aware of financial elder abuse by fiduciaries. Recognizing the signs is important.

What is a fiduciary?

For these purposes, a fiduciary is a trusted person who manages a person’s affairs when they are unable to do so themselves. Elderly people often need someone to handle their medical and financial affairs. The fiduciary should be someone trustworthy enough to care about the person’s best interests.

Unfortunately, sometimes, the person chosen might not be so trustworthy. While they might not commit physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, financial elder abuse could happen.

What are the signs of financial elder abuse?

When financial elder abuse happens, certain signs are present. One of the most telling is when the fiduciary fails to communicate with beneficiaries. When beneficiaries are due to their share of assets and are denied them or they receive less than what they’re due, there may be a situation of financial elder abuse.

When the person’s estate is affected, bills might not be paid and begin to lapse. There may be a lack of upkeep on the property such as home repairs or upgrades suddenly stopping. Utilities may be suspended due to lack of payment as well.

An elderly person who is a victim of financial elder abuse typically finds that their financial accounts have suddenly gone low. They might not have enough to pay for their basic necessities such as medication.

Preventing financial elder abuse

To prevent financial elder abuse from happening, only people you know are completely trustworthy should be appointed as fiduciaries. Family members should monitor them to make sure everything is on the up and up.

All estate planning documents should be up-to-date and valid and family members should be there when discussing those documents with professionals. Having multiple trusted family members overseeing finances is also wise.

Most trusted family members should periodically visit. Communication should be regular and open for the elderly person’s protection.