Financial Abuse of the Elderly

New York City Attorney for Seniors & Families

The World Health Organization has declared that elder abuse is a violation of one of the most basic and fundamental human rights, which is to be safe and free from violence. When interviewed, 1 in 10 elderly Americans reported being abused or neglected within the scope of the past year, based on a recent study from the National Center on Elder Abuse. Many of the people who were interviewed experienced multiple forms of abuse. Financial abuse of the elderly is even more prevalent than physical abuse. If your loved one has suffered financial abuse, obtain legal guidance from our New York City attorney at once.

Recent Findings in Elder Law Research

A recent MetLife Mature Market Institute study estimated the direct costs associated with elder financial exploitation to be approximately $2.9 billion in 2009, a 12 percent increase from 2008. Two other findings from this study, as well as other research, are that there are more female victims than males and that the perpetrators are typically friends or family members of the elder. New research also indicates that the instances of elder financial abuse are in fact higher than research has previously shown. As noted in the institute’s study, research work done in the state of New York revealed that the highest rate of any type of elder mistreatment was financial abuse, with a rate of 41 per 1,000 (4 percent) and that rates of underreporting may be much higher than estimated.

Methods of Financial Elder Abuse

Reported cases demonstrate the dehumanizing nature of financial abuse, which is often achieved by violating a trusting relationship. Some of the common methods of elder financial abuse include:

  • Deceit
  • Threats
  • Emotional manipulation

When individuals take another person’s assets, it is usually accomplished by stealth, often leaving the elder penniless and without a relationship that was important to his or her life. In addition to this psychological mistreatment, physical and sexual violence is frequently committed by the perpetrator as a means to financial gain.

At Meenan & Associates, LLC, we have successfully filed civil actions against such predators to recover assets for elderly victims. In most cases, it is very difficult to criminally prosecute financial elder abuse cases because the elder victim may be forgetful, confused, or protective of the relative. In such instances, a civil action can be brought to hold predators accountable and recover from them the assets that they have wrongfully obtained. If you are in need of effective legal guidance, you can count on our firm. Contact us at your earliest convenience.