After a lifetime of hard work, the last thing you would want is for someone to strip it away from you. Far too often is this the case for the elderly. To make matters even worse, they often don’t even realize it’s happening.
While financial exploitation is far from reserved for older generations, it seems that those committing these crimes view them as more vulnerable targets than others. In some cases, they may even be right.
Without filling out the proper conservatorship forms to designate a trusted individual as a conservator, if a person becomes seriously ill or mentally incapacitated, they will have no one legally able to make financial and medical decisions on their behalf. This leads to them being vulnerable to being taken advantage of.
Strangely enough, according to a 2011 MetLife Mature Market Institute study found that financial exploitation costs seniors an estimated $2.9 billion annually. That was an increase of 12% just from 2008. But why is this?
- Technology: Now that most banks allow people to access their accounts and funds remotely through devices like phones and smartphones, others can easily pretend to be the actual owner of the account. Conservatorship forms will ensure that only that single person will be able to access the funds and personal information.
- Embarrassment: This may come as surprise, but most people are adamant about admitting they’ve been taken advantage of in any way shape or form. Major financial exploitation was self-reported in a study at a rate of 41 out of every 1,000 participants. This is higher than rates of self-reported emotional, physical, sexual abuse, and neglect.
Just imagine how many more of them aren’t even reporting it. With social media and the online marketplace increasing most people’s exposure, more people are probably wary of outing themselves as being a victim of financial exploitation.
There are a number of different types of elder abuse, but financial fraud seems to currently be the most prevalent. If these worrisome elder abuse statistics aren’t enough to send you out looking for conservatorship forms, you may want to weigh your options before it’s too late.