The exploitation of the elderly and senior citizens for financial gain may be referred to as elder fraud. Often, they are preyed upon by people they trust — family members, friends and caregivers. This type of inexcusable behavior can be punishable either through civil actions or through criminal prosecution.
Clear Examples include:
- disinherited sibling destroying a parents' will to force the estate to intestate succession where he'd be in line for assets;
- disinherited sibling files conservatorship against parent; claiming incapacity or undue influence to get control of parent's estate;
- caregiver manipulates elder into signing over real estate, property, or cash;
- caregiver makes threats against elder in exchange for assets;
- close relative or friend coerces elder into changing their will, beneficiary designations, or power of attorney;
But who do you turn to when you discover fraud about to occur or has just begun to occur? Without having the perpetrator arrested or hiring a team of lawyers to pursue a claim, is there an alternative?
A typical scenario of our clients:
The predator: An adult child, caregiver, family friend or roommate that harasses, manipulates, threatens, coerces, or exerts undue influence-
The Elderly Individual: their spouse or partner is either deceased or estranged-
they always managed their own affairs (so their grown children know nothing about the parent's finances)
they are estranged from those that would protect them-
The attorney: a trust or estate attorney that either turned a blind eye to suspicious activity, or fails to investigate claims, or makes changes to the estate advanced by the predator, or aids the predator in carrying out their goals-
The protector: a grown child, family member, close friend, or caregiver that discovers suspicious or alarming activity-
At the Law Offices of Naomi T. Stal, we specialize in holding our client's hand through the scary process of regaining control of their lives. We meet with the client, listen to their stories, review documentation, analyze the situation from a global and legal perspective, determine priorities, hire or terminate attorneys or firms that are either harmful or helpful, manage expectations, and work with the client to implement boundaries and limits, both on a legal and relational level, to prevent the situation from reoccurring.
If you suspect someone may be committing estate fraud, contact us right away. It is very difficult to recover money once it's gone, but we can take immediate action to prevent or stop the financial drain and restore respect and honor to an elder.