Passionate about Protecting the Elderly
As people grow older, they need more help with many elements of their lives. Unfortunately, the people enlisted to provide that essential assistance are not always trustworthy, and some choose to take advantage of the elderly.
If someone you love is being exploited or manipulated, I can provide the seasoned legal guidance you need. As a financial elder abuse lawyer with 36 years of legal experience, I know how to navigate the legal system to protect your elderly loved ones. I am passionate about helping our elderly community am committed to doing everything in my power to protect them from financial abuse.
When you need an attorney to fight elder abuse in California, contact Rob Schelling, A Professional Corporation online, or call (951) 355-2965.
We complete both simple and complex tasks every day of our lives. We take care of our personal needs, manage our finances, and make decisions about our health care. The elderly are not always able to manage all of these tasks on their own, and many families need to hire in-home help or explore retirement homes. These solutions can potentially make the elderly particularly vulnerable to financial abuse.
Many types of people can perpetrate financial elder abuse. An abuser may be your loved one’s caregiver, housekeeper, financial adviser. It may even be another member of your family.
Protecting your elderly loved ones from financial exploitation involves vigilantly watching for signs. Keep in mind that your loved one may not necessarily recognize that they are being manipulated, so the onus is often on you to detect and act on red flags.
Your loved one may be a victim of financial elder abuse if you notice:
- Missing property and/or significant financial discrepancies
- Suspicious bank withdrawals and/or fund transfers
- Unexplained checks directing significant funds to a possible abuser
- Unexplained changes to estate planning documents
- Unpaid bills and/or threats from creditors or collection agents
- Your loved one has little to no understanding of their current financial circumstances
In addition to the above signs, victims of financial elder abuse often display symptoms of anxiety and depression. Keep an eye on any sudden mood changes, unusual irritability, or any other behaviors that seem out of the ordinary.
Financial abusers will also often take steps to isolate their victims. They may try to turn your loved one against you and will create conditions where it becomes difficult to impossible to contact them. If you are suddenly and unexplainably having trouble getting in touch with your elderly loved one, you should consider seeking legal assistance.
A common and devastating scenario involves a family hiring an in-home caregiver to assist an elderly loved one with everyday tasks that have become difficult in their advanced age. The caregiver initially appears professional but takes steps to gain the elderly loved one’s confidence. Before long, the caregiver convinces the elderly loved one to stop talking to you and other family members. With the elderly loved one sufficiently isolated, the caregiver preys on their vulnerability and exploits it to steal personal property and manipulate their finances.
Many elderly loved ones will not realize that they are being abused, while others will become defensive when concerns are raised. It can often be beneficial to have an objective third party evaluate the situation. As a financial elder abuse attorney, I can conduct a thorough investigation and advise what steps you should consider taking.
Where to Report Financial Abuse of Elderly
In the United States, if you suspect financial abuse of an elderly person, contact your local Adult Protective Services (APS) immediately. Keep in mind that APS operates differently in each state and they may not always be able to take action against the perpetrator—but they will be able to provide resources and advice on how to protect the individual’s finances. You can also contact your local law enforcement agency or District Attorney's Office and file a complaint.
You may also choose to file a complaint with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), if you believe that an investment broker, financial advisor, or other financial services provider is taking advantage of an elderly person financially. FINRA will investigate and take action if they find any wrongdoing.
If the crime is serious enough, you can also report it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI has special agents who specialize in elder financial exploitation, so they may be able to pursue criminal charges against the perpetrator.
Legal remedies are available in California to any victim of financial elder abuse that is either an adult-dependent or at least 65 years old. Financial elder abuse claims must be filed within four years of the discovery of the abuse (or within four years of when the abuse should have reasonably been discovered). If the abuse is ongoing, the statute of limitations does not apply.
To prevail in a financial elder abuse suit, you will need to demonstrate:
- The victim was at least 65 years old or an adult-dependent when the abuse occurred
- It is “more likely than not” that abuse occurred
- The abuser was aware or should have been aware that their conduct was likely to harm the victim
Pursuing legal action in these cases can help you recover many types of monetary damages, including the value of the stolen assets (plus interest and any resulting gains), treble damages, and legal fees. Punitive damages may be assessed if the abuser’s conduct was especially egregious.
The Role of a Financial Elder Abuse Lawyer
As our population ages, the risk of financial exploitation targeting the elderly has grown. A financial elder abuse lawyer is a crucial ally in combating this issue.
Identifying and Addressing Abuse
These lawyers specialize in recognizing unauthorized use of funds, coercion, and scams that specifically target seniors. Their expertise allows them to investigate and address financial abuse effectively.
Legal Proficiency in Elder Law
With a deep understanding of elder law, these attorneys navigate complex legal frameworks designed to protect the elderly. From probate to estate planning, their knowledge is instrumental in safeguarding the rights and assets of seniors.
Advocacy, Recovery, and Prevention
Financial elder abuse lawyers act as advocates, representing victims and pursuing justice. They work to recover misappropriated funds, ensuring financial security for the elderly. Additionally, their proactive approach includes raising awareness, educating seniors about scams, and implementing preventive measures.
As a financial elder abuse lawyer, I am committed to doing everything possible to protect your loved one’s interests. After carefully assessing the situation and reviewing your legal options, I can file any necessary lawsuits and aggressively pursue the maximum available compensation.
I provide the quality representation you would expect from a big, successful law firm at reasonable costs. I have 36 years of California legal experience, and I personally handle every case.
Although I am a litigation attorney, I often recommend mediation or negotiation to resolve disputes. Filing a lawsuit and arguing your case in court is expensive. Through these processes, we can come up with creative solutions that are tailored to your individual situation.
When someone consults with me, that typically means that they have experienced a major life event. As a result, I genuinely care about helping that person reach the right solution. To do this, I always:
Listen to my clients' concerns and priorities.
Take the time to understand how the situation came about.
Help clients find the most cost-effective solution to their problems.
Provide honest advice with compassion.
Legal disputes can be emotionally and financially draining. In 1986, when I founded the Menifee-based Law Offices of Rob Schelling, A Professional Corporation, it was my goal to build a client-focused law firm to help people reach solutions that meet their legal needs while minimizing the stress and cost.
I am determined to find the outcome that is best for you. Predicting the outcome of any dispute is not entirely possible, but experience does play a vital role in navigating your options and choices.