Protecting the Elderly from Financial Exploitation with Estate Planning

Elder financial exploitation is a growing concern as seniors are increasingly becoming targets of financial abuse. Seniors can be targeted by strangers but they can also be victimized by people they know, including relatives, friends, and caregivers. Financial elder abuse often includes one or more of the following:

  • Withdrawing money from the victim’s bank accounts
  • Stealing government checks, such as Social Security checks
  • Opening accounts and/or loans in the victim’s name
  • Using the person’s credit cards to make purchases
  • Forging financial documents
  • Withdrawing money from investment accounts in the victim’s name

Signs of Financial Elder Abuse

If you’re worried about becoming a victim of elder financial abuse or you are concerned that someone you know may be targeted, it helps to know some of the signs to watch out for. Here are some common red flags of elder financial abuse:

  • Unexplained bank account withdrawals
  • Missing checks, credit or debit cards
  • Property that is retitled into someone else’s name
  • Financial documents that appear to be tampered with


If you believe you’ll need someone to help with managing your finances at some point, consider carefully who you want to have access to your accounts because once that person is added to your accounts, they share account ownership. Thus, it’s important for seniors to make sure their finances are handled responsibly by appointing a trusted individual or a professional trustee to manage these trusts. This will reduce the likelihood of deceitful relatives or acquaintances gaining unauthorized access to funds.

Elder man counting money

Estate Planning Helps Protect Against Exploitation

A well-thought-out estate plan can play a critical role in protecting elder individuals’ financial interests and assets as it can help create the following:

  • Revocable Living Trust: Provides a line of protection against exploiters as the money and assets are owned and controlled by the elderly person while they are alive, then everything can be transferred to whoever they want after they pass away, all while avoiding probate.
  • Power of Attorney: This names the right person to help the elderly individual make financial and legal decisions, even before losing the capacity to do so.
  • Designated Pre-Need Guardian: This allows the elderly individual to name the person who they would want as their guardian in the event they are being exploited and have capability issues.

An Estate Planning Law Firm Can Help with Financial Exploitation

An estate planning attorney can help you set up an estate plan and advise you on other types of trust options that may better meet your needs. The estate planning attorneys at the Law Offices of Todd Cushner & Associates, P.C. possess extensive knowledge of the legal and personal issues that often involve estate planning to help avoid elder financial exploitation. We understand all aspects of estate planning, including asset protection, and always go above and beyond to ensure our clients’ wishes are always carried out.

We are here to help with your estate planning needs. Contact us at 914-600-5502.

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