Tips on Helping Elderly Loved Ones Avoid Financial Exploitation from Solomon & Relihan

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Elderly residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities are a population that is at a particularly high risk for financial exploitation. Unscrupulous staff members can take advantage of their close relationships with residents to exploit them. Family members of nursing home residents should look for signs of financial exploitation.

Residents in nursing homes or living assistant living centers have financial assets just like anyone else. Sometimes the people who are suppose to care for elderly residents may financially exploit them and leave them with little or no money. Financial exploitation is a form of abuse in a nursing home and should be viewed as a serious issue as there are 1.6 million residents in nursing homes according the Center for Disease Control. The law firm of Solomon & Relihan has compiled a list of warning signs of financial exploitation in nursing homes.

In Arizona, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit helps aid in the education and determination of financial exploitation among elderly in the Maricopa County area. There are laws in Arizona that residents and their loved ones should be aware of.

What Exactly is Financial Exploitation?

Financial exploitation varies by definition. However, it is when someone who is unable to handle their finances is subjugated in the release of their assets by a person for personal gain. By recognizing forms of financial exploitation, you can prevent your loved one from losing the assets they have earned during their lifetime.
Top forms Financial Exploitation includes:

  •      Sudden interest in banking transactions
  •      Forged Signatures on financial or banking transaction
  •      Withdrawal of large amounts of money
  •      Expanded withdrawal of small amounts of money
  •      Cashing of checks without proper approval
  •      Possessions and assets disappearing
  •      ATM withdrawals that are not approved
  •      Change in living will that does not reflect the individual
  •      General changes in financial matters

Brief Overview of Arizona Law regarding Financial Exploitation

A.R.S. 46-456 covers legal definitions in Arizona that help clarify certain definitions to help the victim and victim's family. By learning certain definitions, one can better understand the severity of financial exploitation. For example Deception covers the "misrepresenting" or "false impression" of oneself in order to knowingly deceive a vulnerable person. The use of "intimidation" can be used to exploit a person by depriving them of essential needs in order to get to the elderly victim's possessions. Lastly the definition of "position of trust and confidence" covers any person who is in a higher position, such as a nursing home employee, can misrepresent themselves in order to gain financial profit.

46-456. Duty to an incapacitated or vulnerable adult; financial exploitation; civil and criminal penalties; exceptions; definitions

A. A person who is in a position of trust and confidence to an incapacitated or vulnerable adult shall act for the benefit of that person to the same extent as a trustee pursuant to title 14, chapter 7, article 3.

B. A person who is in a position of trust and confidence and who by intimidation or deception knowingly takes control, title, use or management of an incapacitated or vulnerable adult's asset or property with the intent to permanently deprive that person of the asset or property is guilty of theft as provided in section 13-1802.

C. A person who violates subsection A or B of this section is subject to damages in a civil action brought by or on behalf of an incapacitated or vulnerable adult that equal up to three times the amount of the monetary damages.

D. A person who violates subsection A or B of this section forfeits all benefits with respect to the estate of the deceased, incapacitated or vulnerable adult, including an intestate share, an elective share, an omitted spouse's share, an omitted child's share, a homestead allowance, an exempt property allowance and a family allowance. If the incapacitated or vulnerable adult died intestate, the decedent's intestate estate passes as if the person who committed the violation disclaimed that person's intestate share.


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Martin Solomon
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