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What are some signs of financial exploitation?

A previous post on this blog discussed how careful estate planning can prevent an aging resident of Rochester, New York from falling victim to financial exploitation. Although many New Yorkers would realize that a pattern of financial exploitation, once it has run its course, could leave an elderly person penniless, it may also be helpful to know the early signs of exploitation so as to prevent the issue from getting worse.

Some warning signs of exploitation are not tell tale, as they could also be signs of some other problem that has nothing to do with financial abuse. For example, the fact that an elderly Rochester resident is experiencing some problems with mobility and getting around can be a financial abuse case in the making. For example, an unscrupulous contractor can take advantage of someone who is not able to keep up with his or her home by leading him or her to believe that there is a serious issue that needs immediate repair.

Another warning sign is when an elderly person seems not to know about major financial decisions or why they made them. Assuming dementia is not in play, it could mean a senior citizen is putting a lot of trust in someone to make financial decisions when that person may not be deserving of that trust. A lonely friend or relative who starts getting really close with a new friend with no prior connection to the family may also be a warning.

With respect to relatives who might exploit an elderly person, they often fit a certain "profile" in that they usually have a checked past. A relative who has lived a relatively stable lifestyle is less likely to need money. Although certain innocuous in most cases, families should also be aware when an elderly person is living with a relative, especially if that relative suddenly starts showing signs of a higher standard of living.

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