Photo of Professionals at Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates P.C.

Caring For Generations

What can advisors do if they suspect financial abuse?

On Behalf of | Dec 18, 2019 | Elder law

If you are an advisor in Indiana, you may have witnessed several cases of financial abuse of elders. This crime involves the unauthorized use and even stealing of a senior’s financial assets. In some cases, the abuser is the legal guardian of the senior. There are also instances where a new person enters the senior’s life and poses as a friend or investor.

CNBC estimates that of the people over 65 years old, half of them manage their own finances. Ironically, this is exactly what makes them susceptible to scams. Elderly people over the age of 70 who have suffered from financial abuse lost an average of $41,800. This is no small sum. To make matters worse, three in 10 have no idea how to report the crime.

When elderly people hire you as a financial advisor, you are often in the best position to detect fraud and report it. Sometimes catching fraud is as easy as the criminal giving themselves away after thinking the phone call ended. In other instances, you may need to know your client a little better. Are they able to get out of bed to cash $500 checks at a bar at midnight? Is it customary for them to visit bars at that time of the night?

If you detect suspicious activity, then initiate the fraud protocol at your firm. Each firm is different, but this may include putting a hold on the funds and contacting the account owner. You might also need to notify the relevant authorities.

It is also possible to set up measures to protect your client in advance. This involves establishing a durable power of attorney, creating a revocable trust and ensuring the family is on board.

This article shares information about the financial abuse of elders. It is not to be used as or in place of legal and financial advice.