Waxahachie, TX (Law Firm Newswire) December 17, 2012 – According to a 2010 survey by the MetLife Mature Market Institute, the losses due to elder financial abuse are almost $3 billion.
A significant amount of that abuse — 35 percent — is attributed to actions by family, neighbors, friends, and even paid caregivers. But, as noted by executive director Sandra Timmermann, of MetLife Mature Market Institute, that is only the number of reported incidences. For every case that is reported, they estimate four or five that never see the light of day.
“The number of elder financial abuse cases is on the rise,” noted Dallas elder law attorney John Hale. “The number of cases we know about went up 12 percent from 2008, perhaps due to the economy.”
Financial misappropriation continues to be a fast-growing area of elder abuse, says the national coordinator of the Elder Justice Coalition, Bob Blancato. Acts include everything from outright theft of cash or checks to email investment swindles.
Arthur Cropsey, 91, was widowed several years ago. His sister and her daughter flew out to bring him from California to live with them in New York State. But soon his daughter, Anna May Franklin, suspected her daughter, Linda Lyons, of mismanaging his estate: Mr. Cropsey had recently changed his will to leave everything to Ms. Lyons and her companion.
A judge eventually ruled against Lyons, noting that her actions were inappropriate, having Mr. Cropsey change the will was an egregious action, and that it demonstrated intent to take advantage of him. The court found Mr. Cropsey to be mentally incapacitated and appointed an independent trustee as his guardian to oversee his finances. He was moved into an assisted living facility and his sister oversees the details of his care. His niece, Ms. Lyons, was forced to return almost $42,000 of his money, though she disputes her mother’s version of events and the court’s ruling against her actions.
The courts see cases like this every day. If an individual suspects or is concerned about elder financial abuse, it is in their best interest to contact an elder law attorney.
The Hale Law Firm
417 W. Main Street
Waxahachie, TX 75165