Most people in Florida consider estate planning something that helps to put things in order for after one dies. While it certainly is true that a will or a trust can outline plans for handling a person's assets after death, a good estate plan can also help protect people and their assets while they are still living. The simple act of having family members involved in an elderly person's finances may be an essential way of preventing elder financial abuse.
Reports indicate that a woman essentially stole over $500,000 from two different elderly men in Florida betwen 2010 and 2014. In one case, the woman ended up serving a probation sentence for charges of exploitation and grand theft. In less than three months, she was able to obtain almost $130,000 from one man. It was the awareness of the man's son who lived in another state that enabled the family to intervene and prevent further losses.
Another man was aided by the actions of a staff person at his residence and an employee at the bank he frequented. Both of those people noticed odd actions and reported things to the Florida Department of Children and Families. Assets worth more than $385,000 are believed to have been taken from this man by the woman according to authorities.
Nobody wants to think of losing independence but ensuring that the right safeguards are in place as one ages is imperative. Talking to an estate planning lawyer may be helpful in preventing elder exploitation.
Source: Sun Sentinel, "Woman who exploited elderly man for his money at it again, investigators say," Linda Trischitta, August 13, 2016