As we approach old age and some of our mental ability slips away, we become more trusting of others. Unscrupulous people use this feeble condition for unfair gain, to deprive the elderly of their life’s savings and strip their children of their inheritance. This is called financial abuse.
Some elderly depend on health aids and home attendants for their daily living needs, from getting dressed in the morning to brushing their teeth at night. Such aids have been known to feel that money is coming to them. As a result, they sometimes compel the person whose care they are entrusted with to leave them something. Sometimes this is more then the elderly person’s natural heirs expect.
The elderly depend on their children to manage their financial affairs. Years of having full access to a parent’s accounts can lead the children to feel that the money is already theirs, and use the money for their own needs, without the parent’s consent.
Luckily, financial abuse can be prevented by establishing a guardianship.
For someone who is concerned that they are being cheated out of their inheritance, a guardianship proceeding serves a double advantage. First, because the elderly person will be declared at least partially incompetent, it will be easier to challenge any transfer or bequest that the old person made around that time period, even after their death. Second, it allows a guardian to be appointed to make sure that the elderly person’s caretakers will not leave them without a means to survive. If you are involved in a guardianship situation, give us a call at (516) 777-0647.