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Elder law topics: Vulnerability to fraud

It seems as though there is always someone out there trying to get something for nothing. These people tend to prey on vulnerable members of the population here and around the country. Those here in Delaware who work in elder law see far too many residents who believe that an elderly loved one could fall victim -- or already has fallen victim --  to financial exploitation.

Understanding what financial exploitation entails may help Delaware residents protect their aging loved ones from becoming vulnerable to fraud. Anyone who uses illegal or improper means to gain a financial advantage at the expense of your loved one commits financial exploitation. Examples of this reprehensible activity include a heavy dose of manipulation.

A loved one could be manipulated into giving away money, personal items or even signing over a home or other large asset such as a car to the perpetrator. Sometimes, elderly people are convinced to sign over their rights to financial assets or their legal rights to something. In other instances, an individual will use an elderly person's money to purchase items for themselves. Loved ones should be on the lookout for unusual activity with financial accounts (including ATM withdrawals), changes in estate-planning documents or the disappearance of personal items.

The best way to protect a loved one who may be vulnerable to this type of fraud is to make preparations in advance that prevent it. Estate planning tools are available that make it difficult for con artists and others who would take advantage of an elderly person for their own financial gain. Creating a plan that accomplishes this often means involving an elder law attorney who understands what is at stake and the types of fraud to which this population often falls victim.

Source: caregiverslibrary.org, "Protecting Your Loved One From Fraud", Accessed on May 20, 2017

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