Financial Abuse – Manipulation
Manipulation – taking advantage of a person’s weaker state of mind – is one key element in cases involving elder financial abuse.
Undue influence, coercion, isolation and manipulation are all weapons used by perpetrators to carry out this abuse. Manipulation may come from more than one individual. A conspiracy to manipulate an elder may develop.
Let’s consider a factual scenario to illustrate how this is accomplished.
Dad is 80 years old, widowed, and has lived alone for several years but is now suffering from short term memory loss. He previously made a will, in which he left his entire estate to his two children in equal shares.
One son lives in another state and telephones his father regularly but has had little physical contact because of the distance involved. The other son (and his wife) lives nearby and visits Dad every week or so. But now, this son begins to get pressure from his wife.
They’re behind on their own mortgage and credit card payments and now see a quick way out. They know that Dad has plenty of money in the bank and owns his home free and clear. With his fading memory and loneliness, it won’t be hard for Dad’s son and daughter-in-law to take advantage of the situation and manipulate Dad into turning over his ATM card. The manipulation is not accomplished in one fell swoop. The son and his wife will execute the rip-off in gradual steps by planting the seed in Dad’s mind that he needs help in handling his finances, including his bank accounts.
Initially, the son and wife may not have planned to completely take over all of Dad’s assets. At first, they may have sought only to get themselves out of immediate debt. However, once they have tasted their new found financial freedom, it gets easier and easier to continue to use Dad as their cash cow. Greed soon takes over, and the two perpetrators decide that they don’t want Dad’s other son to share in Dad’s estate when he passes away.
They then begin to gradually plant half truths in Dad’s mind, with the intent to eventually convince him that his other son does not care about Dad, never visits and therefore is not worthy of receiving any of Dad’s estate. Over time, the plan works and Dad is now ready to sign a new will that leaves everything to the bad son and his wife.
They may also convince Dad into signing a power of attorney that gives daughter-in-law the right to access all of Dad’s bank accounts, change the address where bank statements are mailed, and even transfer ownership of the house.
A senior law attorney can assist with civil litigation to stop the financial bleeding and recover money and property wrongfully taken. The key is to identify the problem and act upon it before it is too late.
This type of financial manipulation occurs throughout the United States, from my hometown in Riverside, California, to Miami, Florida and all parts in-between. Wherever greed exists, family members can prey on their elders in an attempt to receive an early inheritance.
If you or a loved one is the victim of such elder or senior abuse, then pick up the phone and give us a call. We’re here to help. The initial telephone consultation is always free.
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