Abuse of elderly by guardians often takes form of financial exploitation

Relatives consider it "accelerating the inheritance," according to one legal services official

Nov 30, 2016 @ 4:07 pm

By Mark Schoeff Jr.

When guardians harm the elderly person they're looking after, they often do it by targeting the victim's wealth, according to a federal report released on Wednesday.

The Government Accountability Office study cited eight cases in six states involving elder abuse by a guardian. Each of them involved financial ripoffs. Penalties and restitution ordered by courts ranged from $20,000 to $160,000.

“Officials from selected courts and representatives from organizations GAO spoke to described their observations about elder abuse by a guardian, including that one of the most common types appeared to be financial exploitation,” the GAO report states. “A prosecutor in one of the states we spoke to shared her observation that the majority of financial exploitation by professional guardians is done through overcharging for services that were either not necessary or were never performed.”

The GAO said that the extent of elder abuse perpetrated by guardians can't be determined because of lack of data.

One of the senators who requested the GAO study said that more needs to be done to stop financial exploitation by those who are supposed to be helping their elderly charges.

“Guardians should be protecting seniors, not stealing from them,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine and chairman of the Senate Aging Committee. The GAO study was released at a panel hearing on Wednesday.

Another committee lawmaker who used to work in the financial services industry said that financial exploitation of the elderly will get worse as the population ages.

“The level of abuse that is in this space is tremendous,” said Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. and a former insurance agency owner. “Unfortunately, we'll see more abuse.”

Senior financial abuse is growing rapidly in Maine, according to Jaye Martin, executive director of Maine Legal Services for the Elderly. Much of it is done by relatives of the elderly who consider it “accelerating the inheritance,” she said in testimony before the Senate panel.

“That's what they think when they're being kind to themselves in their own mind,” Ms. Martin said.

0
Comments

What do you think?

View comments

Recommended for you

Featured video

Events

How are broker-dealers helping 401(k) advisers adapt to a changing market?

Bryan Hodgens, co-head of LPL Financial's Retirement Partners group, says the industry is getting much better at connecting advisers to wealth management opportunities and helping scale their businesses.

Latest news & opinion

Social Security funding outlook improves slightly

Retirement reserves extended one year; disability fund by 20 years

IBD report: Another impressive year

Despite a stock market decline, revenue is up. And the streak isn't expected to end anytime soon.

IBDs with the most CFPs

How many of the more than 83,000 certified financial planners are employed by the big independent broker-dealers?

Richard Thaler wants to use 401(k)s to boost Social Security payments

The Nobel laureate wants to simplify drawing down retirement assets, which he thinks is 'way harder' than saving the money.

InvestmentNews announces 2019 Innovation Awards winners

Sheryl Garrett is this year's InvestmentNews Icon.

X

Hi! Glad you're here and we hope you like all the great work we do here at InvestmentNews. But what we do is expensive and is funded in part by our sponsors. So won't you show our sponsors a little love by whitelisting investmentnews.com? It'll help us continue to serve you.

Yes, show me how to whitelist investmentnews.com

Ad blocker detected. Please whitelist us or give premium a try.

X

Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print