How Inheritance Impatience Leads to Elder Abuse
Financial abuse of the elderly is a huge problem that costs older Americans more than 36.5 billion dollars per year. Sometimes the abusers are con artists who target seniors, especially elderly who are mentally impaired.
Sadly, not all financial abusers are strangers to their victims. Elder abuse is also committed by family members. Sometimes abusive family members expect to inherit from their elderly relatives and are driven by impatience and greed. They may steal from their relatives’ bank accounts, run up charges on their credit cards or convince them to change their wills.
Several factors are contributing to the unfortunate trend of elderly financial abuse within families:
- Remarriages are more common among the generation now entering their senior years than in the past. With the increase in shifting and blended families, there is a greater chance of disputes about which family members should inherit. This can lead to frustration that can trigger abuse.
- Seniors are living longer. If their children were counting on an inheritance to meet pressing needs, they may decide to take matters into their own hands.
Some call the problem “inheritance impatience” or “inheritance entitlement syndrome.” Others think these terms legitimize actions that are simply outright theft.
Who Is Most Vulnerable to Financial Abuse?
Some elderly people are particularly vulnerable to financial abuse from family members or strangers. These include elderly people who:
- Live alone.
- Lack knowledge about financial matters.
- Have disabilities, including dementia.
However, it is important to note that no elderly person is safe from financial abuse. A study found that 1 in 18 older adults who did not have cognitive disabilities were victims of elder financial fraud or abuse. It is important to be alert for any signs of financial abuse.
How an Elder Abuse Lawyer Can Help
Someone who financially abuses an elderly person is breaking the law. In some states, a person who commits elder abuse is not allowed to receive an inheritance from his or her victim. If you suspect that an elderly loved one is being financially abused by a family member, you can talk to an experienced elder abuse lawyer at Garcia & Artigliere. Call us at (800) 328-2630 for a free consultation to find out how we can help your loved one.