A new study from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America offers tips on how to protect yourself and your loved ones against financial abuse
Elder financial abuse affects not only the elderly victims, but those who care them as well. According to a recent study by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, the average financial loss of elderly victims was $36,000; and this financial impact often resulted in “financial ruin.” What’s more, the financial impact on active and potential caregivers equaled an average cost of $36,000 as well, given the necessity to compensate for a loved one’s loss. Elder financial fraud clearly has a far-reaching impact beyond its senior victims.
The cost of caregiving
Yes, caregiving is expensive. The Allianz study – termed “Safeguarding Our Seniors” – found that the average caregiver spends more than $7,000 per year and provides more than 10 hours per week in non-financial support, such as driving to appointments, running errands, delivering meals, and engaging in social activities. When a senior in need of care runs out of financial resources due to fraud, the deficit commonly falls on the caregiver.
It is common for elderly victims to have suffered a mental decline, making many individuals prime targets for abuse from those seeking to capitalize on the fragile or weak. And many cases of elder financial abuse go unreported due the fact that victims are embarrassed to admit they were taken advantage of, the victims may not be aware of the fraud, or victims may simply not know who to tell.
Protecting yourself or your loved one
Allianz offers the following tips to prevent elder financial fraud:
- Make a plan and outline what your wishes are when it comes to your assets.
- When signing official documents, consult with a qualified professional to ensure you understand what you’re signing.
- Build relationships with established professionals to provide assistance with your finances and monitor for suspicious activity in your accounts.
- Use credit cards and checks that will leave a paper trail, as opposed to using cash.
- It’s your money – if your instincts tell you to say “no,” then say “NO.”
While it’s advisable to enlist the services of a professional who provides financial advice, it is critical to choose the right person for the job. In some cases, the person committing the financial abuse against an elderly individual is a broker or financial advisor. Victims of unethical financial professionals have rights and methods of recourse, however. If you think you have been defrauded by a broker, financial advisor, or financial institution, contact our firm.
Silver Law Group is a leader in the field of elder financial abuse. We represent individual and institutional investors across the United States who have lost money at the hands of a trusted financial advisor. Our services are provided on a contingency-fee basis, which means we are only compensated if there is a recovery of losses. For more information, contact us for a complimentary consultation.