It is estimated that approximately 2 million elderly people are financially abused in the U.S. every year. Estimates of the costs of this abuse vary widely from $2.9 billion to $36.48 billion a year. Either way, it amounts to a lot of money that is wrongfully taken from the elderly and their families.
As World Elder Abuse Awareness day occurred on June 15, 2016, it is a good time to take stock and review what happens in these cases. Recently, the Huffington Post discussed the concept of undue influence in "Undue Influence and Financial Exploitation."
A common way the elderly are abused is by someone convincing a senior to change his or her estate plan through undue influence. That basically means either through manipulation, fraud, deception or duress someone has inappropriately acted for his or her own financial benefit in convincing the elderly person to change the estate plan.
Undue influence is the legal term of art to describe these situations.
Unfortunately, undue influence can be very difficult to prove in court. The case normally does not come to attention until after a person passes away and family members learn the estate plan was changed. As the abused person is not able to testify about what happened, the family has a steep hill to climb to prove the case.
For this reason it is necessary to be on the lookout for potential elder abuse so it can be prevented.
Reference: Huffington Post (June 6, 2016) "Undue Influence and Financial Exploitation."