Financial Abuse in Nursing Homes
How a nursing home financial abuse lawyer can assist elderly victims of
theft and embezzlement
Many residents of nursing homes or assisted living centers have saved for
their entire adult lives in order to spend their final years in comfort.
Unfortunately, there are those who will resort to fraud, embezzlement,
theft, or any number of other crimes to prey upon the elderly. On this
page we will take a look at how to recognize signs of financial abuse
of nursing home residents and then examine some of the legal proceedings
that a nursing home financial abuse lawyer can use to recover assets that
were stolen from the elderly.
What is financial abuse?
Financial abuse is the act of gaining control of the financial assets or
personal property of another in order to covert such assets and property
to one’s own use. This form of abuse can include fraud, embezzlement,
diversion, theft of personal property, telephone and e-mail scams, or
even bank fraud. When these acts are directed at someone 60 years of age
or older, it is considered “elder financial abuse.”
Who are the abusers?
I may seem hard to believe, but many cases of financial abuse of the elderly
are at the hands of family members such as the elder’s spouse, siblings,
the elder’s children or grandchildren, or a relative that stands
to inherit money or property upon the elder’s death. This group
of abusers are more likely to engage in abuse that involves:
- changes to a will or a power of attorney
- theft of personal property that is easily sold for cash
- diversion of income from the elder’s accounts
- transfer of title to real estate
The other class of potential financial abusers are those whom the elder
believes can be trusted, such as:
- former neighbors
- long-term friends
- new “friends” who take an unusual interest in the elder’s finances
- clergy or other religious figures
- other nursing home residents or staff members
- guardians holding powers of attorney
Since family members may live some distance away from their elderly family
members, responsibility for monitoring much of the elder’s well-being
will fall to the nursing home staff. It then becomes the staff’s
responsibility to inform family members of any unusual financial transactions
or changes in the elder’s financial status. This does not, however,
relieve the elder’s family members of these duties owed to their elderly.
Signs of financial abuse in the elderly and nursing home residents
Financial abuse of the elderly can be very difficult to detect since there
are no signs that are specific to such abuse. It is therefore important
that the elder’s financial status be closely monitored for changes
that cannot be easily explained by circumstances such as illness or legitimate expenses.
How to recover assets stolen from a victim of financial abuse
Although there are criminal charges that can be brought against those responsible
for the financial abuse of a nursing home resident, criminal charges will
usually not result in the criminal being forced to repay or replace the
money or property that was taken. There are, however, legal remedies that
can be brought against those responsible for such crimes.
One such remedy is to file a lawsuit against the owners of the nursing
home. The basis for such a lawsuit would be that the nursing home failed
in its duty to protect the victim from financial abuse even though it
should have known that residents are vulnerable to many forms of abuse,
including financial abuse. Another grounds for a lawsuit would be that
the nursing home should have notified a family member, or some state agency
such as Adult Protective Services, when it became aware of unusual financial
transactions involving the victim’s funds. A lawsuit could also
be filed under the state’s RICO statutes against those who were
responsible for such financial crimes.
If a member of your family has been the victim of financial abuse while
a resident in a nursing home, you should contact the nursing home financial
abuse lawyer at the Doan Law Firm by calling (800)349-0000 to discuss
the facts in your family member’s case and arrange a no-cost or
obligation review of the legal options available.
We know that if someone has been the victim of financial abuse as a nursing
home resident there are usually very few assets available to fund a lawsuit
against the abusers. This is why the Doan Law Firm will never require
you to pay any fees or costs associated with a lawsuit that we are managing
on your behalf. Instead, we will assume responsibility for all such expenses
in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of the final settlement that
we will win for you.