Estate Planning Attorney
Most Americans are aware of the fact that older Americans who reside in nursing care facilities are at a far greater risk of abuse and neglect than they should be. However, many are unaware of the fact that these same residents are significantly vulnerable when it comes to exploitation. Exploitation is a form of abuse that involves taking advantage of a vulnerable individual’s identity, finances, or personal information for the perpetrator’s benefit. Residents may be exposed to exploitation by workers, administration officials, and even other residents.
Spotting Signs of Exploitation
As an experienced elder law lawyer – including those who practice at Kaplan Law Practice, LLC – can confirm, the exploitation of those who reside in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities can take many forms. Therefore, it is important to keep an eye on several aspects of a resident’s activities and wellbeing when attempting to safeguard that individual from being exploited.
For example, traditional methods of identity theft aren’t the only ways in which perpetrators of elder exploitation take advantage of their victims. Ordinarily, adults tend to worry about having their credit card information stolen and their email passwords compromised. Certainly, nursing home residents can be exploited in these common ways. However, there are other tell-tale signs of exploitation that tend to be relatively unique to nursing home residents and other older Americans.
To better ensure that your loved one is protected from the risk of exploitation, make sure to regularly review their financial statements as provided by their nursing homes. Additionally, you will want to regularly review their bank statements, their social media activity, all of their financial accounts, and their estate planning documentation. If there is any unusual activity on any of these documents or accounts, it is important to look into that unusual activity immediately. Those who seek to exploit older Americans can quickly turn to even more sinister means of achieving their ultimate ends once they have secured the finances or personal information that they need for whatever their plans may be. Once your loved one has been exploited, they could also be in physical danger.
Legal Options Related to Exploitation
It is critically important to speak with a lawyer as soon as you can if you have suspicions that your loved one is being exploited. It may be necessary to immediately involve law enforcement agents if it is possible that you’re a loved one’s physical well-being is at risk. Someone who has exploited your loved one may be subject to criminal charges. Additionally, you and your loved one may be in a position to file civil action against the perpetrator, depending upon the kinds of harm your loved one has suffered as a result of the exploitation. In the tragic event that your loved one has already passed away and someone has exploited their estate, you will likely need to remedy this situation, in part, via the probate process governed by your state’s laws.