Thursday, October 21, 2010

Elder Financial Abuse in Oregon -- Part 2

In my previous post I explained elder financial abuse and your obligation, at some point, to say no to the elder who wants to give you money and property. After the explanation you asked, “But why would an elder who loved me enough to give me money then turn around and sue me for financial elder abuse?”

The answer is that the parent doesn't sue. The parent becomes disabled with dementia and the parent's conservator or trustee sues. The conservator might sue because the gifts have made the elder unable to pay for long term care or unable to qualify for Medicaid. The conservator might also sue to get the money back so it can go to the elder's heirs when he or she dies. Lets say a grandchild talks demented grandma into giving her a whole bunch of money. The children of grandma get a conservator appointed to handle grandma's financial affairs. The conservator then sues the grandchild to get the money back so that it can go to the children according to the will when she dies.

After an elder has died, the representative of the estate may sue for elder financial abuse those people who received money from the elder while she was still alive. In these cases, the object is to squeeze money from one heir and give it to another. The child who received money is forced to give up her inheritance to get rid of the elder financial abuse case. Disgruntled heirs like this idea and lawyers can make a lot of money doing it.

Let's say your elderly mom gets most of her legal advice from her hairdresser. Let's say further that you are on her bank account so you can help with her bills and she has named you her power of attorney. She comes home from the beauty parlor one day and tells you she will lose all her property to taxes and probate unless she puts your name on the deed to her house right away. She says she wants you to have her house when she dies, tells you to get a deed written, and says not to tell your brothers about it. Ignoring my advice from my last post about accepting gifts from elders, you do what she says.

Mom then dies without a will. The money in the checking goes to you because your name is on the account. The house goes to you because your name is on the deed. And your brothers are furious.

The brothers could challenge the deed to you claiming that you had a confidential relationship with your mother and “unduly influenced” her to give the house to you. This case would be somewhat like challenging a will. A lawyer might, however, try a different strategy. He gets one of your brothers appointed personal representative of your  mother's estate and then sues you for elder financial abuse. By claiming elder financial abuse the brother can seek triple damages and attorney fees. In addition, he has the inflammatory claim that you abused your mother. Rather than looking like greedy heirs, the brothers look like knights on white horses coming to the rescue of your poor abused mother.

Cases like the one described above come in all sizes and shapes, but they share one characteristic. In each of them the elder financial abuse claim serves the interest of heirs (or those who take pursuant to a will or trust) who are dissatisfied with their share of the elder's estate. What once would have arisen in a will contest or a suit to set aside a deed is brought to court as elder financial abuse.

There are elder abuse cases in which someone is truly trying to get back from bad people money that those people took from a helpless elder. These cases are not as common as you think because these kinds of bad people are criminals and are not worth suing. They spent all the money on drugs and couldn't pay it back if they wanted to (which they don't). Many elder abuse cases, however, are not like that. They are will contests in disguise, serving the interests of people trying to maximize their inheritance.


  1. The real epidemic in elder abuse is insurance companies using unscrupulous, third party sales agents to sell unsuitable annuities to elderly people who don’t understand them. This makes financial elder abuse not only legal but endorsed by lawmakers and the powers that be. As more and more baby boomers reach retirement, problem how rampant will this problem need to get before anything is done?

  2. Mother and I took care of each other, eventhough our relationship been estranged. No other child of her bother to help her. Not without paying them. WIth mothers invitation, I own my own home. When I lost my job and was seeking I had extra time to spend with her while looking for suitable employement. Mother convinced me that creditors can access my existing bank account and take my mother. SO she open an account in her name but funded with *MY* social security check and child support plus unemployement money, got a job my check went into that account, my tax refund with into that account. In that account my mortgage was paid, my home ele. etc.

    Now since she dead and was nearly broke on death. She died in 2010. Now they are saying my home is part of the estate!!

    Mothers only income during that time period as I stated above was her social security check and pension of $700. plus it went into an separate account at another bank.

    If any of that money deposits that was coming into that account she open in her name for me then suddenly stop because it was MY MONEY. Now my all my siblings are trying to take my home!! *My home deed, nor a lien is not in her name!!
    ***all written documentation she kept for me in her filing cabinet** Sister and brother gained access to documents while I was at the hospital sitting at her side. I was the one that pleaded for them to come and help me when I discovered something was not right!! She was not deemed incapable til her stroke in early 2007.

  3. Correction: Mother invited me to come stay with her. she didn't want to be alone and with diabetes she was scare of dieing alone. So my home sat abandon from occupants, but I still had to pay my bills. None of her money was used to assist me. She was not able to assist me and they know it. They are using the fact that I am not able to afford an attorney and they are pooling togeather to satisfied their own guilt. All because I question what happen to the 100,000 life insurance and conflict of interest of them selling mothers home 20,00o below FMV to the executors own son without it hitting open market and the executor who served an conservator open mothers home "RENT FREE" to the same son who the property is being sold to for "GREAT DISCOUNT". This case is in tennessee

  4. Not so fast...Not all challenges to estates are because of "greedy heirs'.
    The dynamics of each situation are different and seniors are very vulnerable to manipulation and influence of those upon whom they must depend. Add that with the mix of memory and cognitive impairment, medications that may create mental fog and you have a formula for the financial abuse of elderly. It is happening every day.Sometimes "greedy heirs" MUST stop a relative who is taking their loved to the proverbial cleaners..If a house is burning you call don't look away or try to put it out with a garden hose while it rages...You do what you can to protect and preserve..What would you say about a "trustee" on a trust for an elderly person with dementia writing checks in their own name and spouses name for over 2 million..? Should this person be stopped?

  5. I am so glad on reading this post by the way I came to know the importance of this elder financial abuse in Oregon.

  6. Here the stoty I have in Febuary 2008 my father found a women on the internet and met her and in april 2008 married her While I was in IRAQ fighting a war I came home in nov. of 2008 and spent time dad and new wife Dad ask me to be the execuitor of his estate he also told me he was worried that my step sister was trying to take his house I told him then not to worry no one could do such a thing unkown to me it was already to late the women he married was busy while I was gone and had already last then a year Had got my poor old day to put house the bank accounts the life insurance in her name when dad died I was haned a will that wasnt signed and an affidavit that was notorized but not signed leaving all assets to her ..well knowing the conversation I had with my fathe I hired an investagator to find out that was all signed after my dad had died the probate court through out will and I was made the executor of the estate only find out most the assets had been sold or stolen and that she sold the house ....the worst part her demener and a statement she made to my sister saying her friends in jail for killing her husband anti freeze and a of today there tell me she stlll intailed to half the estate and she knew him less three years and possible poisoned him

  7. It's important to point out that the purpose of financial accounting cpa is not to report the value of a company.

  8. My Step-Dad added his girlfriend to the deed of a million dollar home. Mom is still alive so now the deed has the 3 of them named with rights of survivorship. Mom has dementia and if she signed the paperwork I know she had no idea what she was signing. He even borrowed against their home in another state to pay for the million dollar home. This girlfriend has also received gifts in excess of million +. The gifts are cash, cars, jewelry, other homes, massive renovations on her home and her other family member homes. I believe this is elder abuse on my step dad's part-how do I nail the girlfriend and her husband...yes that is right she is married also. She is about 65 years old. Mom is 86 and my step dad is 84.