When a bank attempts to pass the buck on elder financial abuse, should it be held accountable for its actions? As reported by the Santa Cruz Sentinel's Jeremy Thomas, a recent case out of Livermore has highlighted just this problem - while underlining the necessity of safeguarding our senior citizens from exploitation.
In many elder abuse cases, the intended beneficiaries of an estate (whether children, spouse, etc.) are shocked to learn that they are to receive nothing from their loved one after they've passed on. The reason? At a certain point before their death, the ailing decedent was unduly influenced by another party to change their will or trust, thereby transferring assets - sometimes a financial necessity - away from the original intended inheritors.
When most journalists, investment and insurance professionals, and attorneys estimate the financial damage our senior citizens suffer from elder financial abuse, they'll point to a familiar figure from MetLife: $2.9 billion in annual losses. That number, taken from MetLife's well-researched 2009 study, might still fall short of a full accounting, though. Reported cases, after all, will compose only a fraction of the massive fraud and exploitation perpetrated against the elderly.
Last Wednesday in the California State Senate, Sens. Lois Wolk of Davis and Bill Monning of Santa Cruz introduced a new bill to make assisted suicide legal in California. Entitled the End of Life Option Act, the bill is designed to legalize assisted suicide in the state of California.
Your broker or financial advisor is someone you should be able to trust, especially if you're a senior citizen. Yet it's an unfortunate reality that financial elder abuse is perpetrated by those in positions of trust, and that's why vetting financial professionals is worth every penny.
When someone hurts our senior citizens, such wrongdoing isn't just an individual matter - it's a flagrant challenge to our whole community. And just as members of families and neighborhoods should look out for each other, so we also trust public servants to protect the most vulnerable among us, especially from the crime of elder abuse.
Elder financial abuse cases go unnoticed far more often than they might ever reach the news, but the story of Geraldine Webber is proving an exception to that rule. Webber, who resided in Portsmouth, NH, and died at age 94 in late 2012, designated an unrelated police officer the main beneficiary of her $2.7 million estate.