An unfortunate reality of modern society is that because of age or mental and physical impairments, the elderly are among the most vulnerable to abuse and exploitation and often unable to protect themselves. They are often in need of wise counsel and sound legal advice to protect their assets. This guidance is something that I provide as an elder law attorney. For example, many seniors need help drawing up their wills or developing a ‘living trust’ which differs from a will inasmuch as it goes into effect as soon as it is created. Seniors also need to plan for possible long-term care in the event of incapacity. This includes locating the appropriate facility and planning the financial costs involved.
I also help seniors to receive their benefits. Many senior citizens rely on their pensions for economic security but do not understand pension laws and may need help filing benefits claims, or appeals. This becomes especially tricky if the company has relocated or merged with another.
Working with familiesPerhaps the most heinous of crimes I deal with is elder financial abuse, which is often perpetrated by the very people who are supposedly looking after them, i.e. caregivers. Rapacious individuals often seek employment as caregivers in order to exploit the vulnerable elderly who may have mental or physical disabilities, not live near or be in close contact with their children. They might not be familiar with financial matters or aware of the value of their assets. Or they might simply be lonely.
Because the elderly often tend to expect honesty and are less likely to take legal action they are easy targets for financial exploitation, which takes many forms. Seniors are often dependent on others who then begin to exert ever increasing influence over the person, gaining access to money and property. The predator can forge the elderly person’s signature, coerce them into giving them power of attorney, or sign a deed or will. They may be using the elder person’s property without permission, or have helped themselves to money. Because many seniors are likely to receive monthly checks, it is easy to predict when they need to go to the bank, or when they will have cash on hand.
Those who exploit the elderly usually assume that no one will find out. Either the person is not sophisticated enough about financial matters or will be too embarrassed to take action. Others believe that the victim will not make a convincing witness or will not survive long enough to follow through on a lawsuit.
If you are concerned with protecting your parents assets, as elder law attorney, I understand the unique needs of older clients. I will cut through the complexities of both state and federal laws, and guide them through some very important decisions that will give them peace of mind by enabling them to secure their assets and their future. I provide a wide range of services that cover all aspects of planning for aging, illness, and incapacity, including power of attorney, planning long-term care, and estate planning and protection. To learn more, call and schedule an appointment.