In previous blog posts, we have talked about the upsetting consequences of financial abuse by a fiduciary, like an agent under power of attorney. These parties are supposed to protect the interests of vulnerable adults, but too many of them use their position to exploit victims for financial gain.
Below, we take a more in-depth look at a few common ways abusers take advantage of elderly victims.
Keeping the person isolated
Many older people experience some amount of loneliness, which can make them a target for abuse. There may be fewer people checking in on them, and they can develop a dependence on a person who is around them most often.
Keeping a person isolated also makes it more difficult for the victim to speak out to someone about any abuse they are experiencing. Often, they worry no one will believe them or think that having someone is better than having no one, even if that person is mistreating them.
Overmedicating, withholding medication
Many older people take powerful medication for a variety of conditions. And often, they depend on others to manage their medication.
Abusive parties can use this as an opportunity to manipulate a person. They might withhold medication until the person agrees to something or over-medicate a person to make them more compliant. In either case, a person’s health and well-being are being compromised in addition to their financial security.
Concealing financial details
In an ideal arrangement, an agent under power of attorney would involve the person. Even if a person cannot manage finances or make complicated transactions, there can still be a benefit to keeping them informed.
However, financial abusers often try to conceal their economic activity. They might forge signatures, skim money or sell a person’s property and keep the profits. Typically, these actions are easier to carry out when no one is taking a closer look at the victim’s finances.
Protecting someone from financial abuse can be complicated. However, paying attention to signs of these behaviors can help concerned parties identify financial mistreatment by a power of attorney before it is too late to stop them.