There are many reasons that estate litigation may unfold, including executor disputes, formality failures, undue influence, outdated estate planning documents, and elder abuse. Sadly, there are people out there in this world who have only malicious intentions, and may take advantage of the fact that someone is reaching their end-of-life years. Elder abuse is often associated with nursing facilities, but abuse can also occur in an elder’s very own home.

When a Suspicious Person Starts Coming Around
Family members of an aging loved one must pay particular attention to who is in that person’s life. What may happen is a so-called “friend” or other party becomes involved with the elder somehow and manipulates them into making changes to their estate plan for personal benefit. Elders who have conditions that impact their mental capacity or are known for being passive, tend to be more vulnerable to being used by shady individuals.

If you notice any of the following is happening in regards to your aging loved one, it may be time to notify the appropriate protection agencies and an attorney for information on how to take action: 

  • The malicious individual has prevented family, friends, and other important people from seeing the elder (including in-home care nurses, gardeners, hair stylists, doctors, etc). 
  • The elder’s personality and demeanor has changed since this new person has entered their life. In particular, the elder may seem afraid, unsure of oneself, on edge, and anxious. 
  • This suspicious person has begun managing the elder’s finances and may have access to bank accounts, credit cards, and other personal financial information.
  • The shady individual has taken it upon themselves to monitor phone calls, emails, and other forms of communication. For instance, they may pick up the elder’s cell phone, put it on speaker, or insist on being a part of the conversation. 
  • There have been odd money transfers or spending activities in the elder’s bank accounts, such as items that they have never purchased before.

What to Do About Elder Abuse

If any of the above relates to the situation you are observing in your elder loved one, then it’s time to contact the appropriate authorities. Keep in mind that the police may only be able to do so much, especially if your elder loved one says everything is fine and the individual seems harmless. With help of  an attorney, you can file a complaint to Adult Protective Services so they can investigate further. This agency handles complaints for seniors (age 65 and older), and adults who are dependent.

Your attorney can give you advice on how to protect your loved one from this shady individual, and how to take action now to prevent estate litigation happening down the line. By looping in an attorney, there may be ways you can legally safeguard your loved one from being taken advantage of further. If you notice anything fishy, then you need to step up and say something now before it worsens.