In all honesty, until a couple of years ago I was unaware of the extent that so many of our lovely ageing senior people are either abused, coerced or harassed by unscrupulous individuals. They exploit them to gain access to their assets - their house or money. Even more shocking was to find out it can often be family members who commit this form of betrayal. The older people do not like it, not one bit! They are not only embarrassed but humiliated.
Finances and Inheritance Lost or Stolen
If a family member may have committed the low act, they are reluctant to take action. There are others who can be affected as well. Not only does the elderly person often lose their freedom to make lifestyle choices as their wealth is taken, but more often than not, in the process someone's inheritance is lost or stolen.
When we became aware of the prevalence of elder wealth abuse in society, we decided to meet with our Lawyer to draw up new Wills. We didn't want someone to take or steal the inheritance we plan to leave our daughter or such appalling abuse happening to us when we become elders. The people who commit this despicable act do not seem to be concerned if they humiliate older people or take someone's inheritance. We most certainly did not want our daughter to be exposed to wealth abuse. It can be a devastating experience for an elder person. They not only have their money taken but they can lose their house, their means to support themselves, and their right to choose how they want to live. It's worth taking a look on Google. There are many articles on the subject of 'elder wealth abuse' or 'financial elder abuse'. One was published by the New York Times, and there's numerous others by financial organisations and legal firms.
Awareness Can Lead to Prevention
It's not a pleasant topic but it happens, and it's prevalent! Situations are often best dealt with in advance, if at all possible, by taking action to prevent it. There are unfortunately unscrupulous individuals who will scheme, lie, manipulate, actively participate in defamatory behaviour, just to gain access to 'the elders and their assets'. They actually plan to do it. It's as though these particular people go through some bizarre character change. The thought of having access to the money or the house, seems to become far more important than the welfare and well being of an elderly person.
If you're thinking as you're reading this, 'it's a disgrace', it is! It can be a devastating thing to happen to an elder person and their loved ones. After becoming more aware about the ultimate betrayal, I kept hearing of many other cases where this occurred. Older people should be able to feel comfortable at that stage in their lives, not frightened or upset because someone is trying to take their assets, or worse, has already taken their assets. Being aware of the possibilities beforehand is key, as is being aware of what happens to an elder person in the process, while the perpetrators are manipulating them and taking their money. This is another reason why, if you can, it's best to be aware and plan ahead. In some cases this may make intervening much less difficult if financial abuse occurs, or even better, prevent such abuse entirely.
By Anne McGowan
To find out more about wealth abuse and prevention you can refer to Protecting Seniors Wealth Guide