4 Signs of Financial Exploitation of an Elder

There are some people in society who are not above anything in order to line their pockets. One such action includes financially exploiting the elderly — vulnerable people who are parents, grandparents, and loved ones. There are countless reasons why society’s elderly population is prime for financial exploitation. Our firm wanted to provide you with some ways that financial exploitation might show itself in your aging parent or loved one. 

  1. Money or possessions are disappearing from the house. Perpetrators are often brazen enough to simply take possessions from an elderly person’s home, like a computer, television, and other valuables. Other times, they might withdraw money from checking accounts and simply hope that no one notices. If you notice assets disappearing, be sure to ask your elderly loved one about it; if they do not provide a plausible explanation, you should have your radar up for possible financial exploitation. 
  2. Alterations to Will, trusts, or other estate-planning documents. Ideally, your loved one put a lot of thought into drafting his or her Last Will and Testament and is prepared to fairly leave assets and prized possessions from the estate to people who mean the most to them. That said, sudden drastic changes to certain estate-planning documents without a great deal of thought or discussion could be a sure sign of financial exploitation. That suspicion could be more or less confirmed if a large inheritance is suddenly left to a new caretaker or family member who is not particularly close to your elderly loved one. 
  3. Evidence of nonpayment for bills and other regular payments. With many utility companies and financial institutions offering automatic payments, it is rare these days for elders to use the excuse that they simply forgot to pay the power or cable bills. If you notice that an elderly person close to you is receiving mail about delinquent payments (and he or she is usually good about staying on top of bills), you should have your antenna raised for exploitation. The possible perpetrator could have either stopped the payments or somehow redirected them.
  4. The emergence of a new caretaker or friend in your loved one’s life. A stranger coming out of the woodwork to care for your elderly loved one should be viewed with a healthy amount of suspicion. Under the pretense of keeping a lonely person company, many perpetrators appear genial and helpful to vulnerable seniors before beginning the financial exploitation. Just as likely is a relative whom you have not seen in years suddenly re-entering the picture. 


Our firm is passionate about protecting seniors from unsavory individuals and providing recourse when financial exploitation or abuse is inflicted on them. If you suspect your elderly loved one is suffering at the hands of someone, call our firm as soon as you can so we can address the issue and help you make things right. Please call our firm at 256-233-2025; we look forward to taking your call.

John M. Totten