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Watch out for these 3 signs of elder abuse

Elder abuse can lead to a number of problems including signing away a person's rights. If your loved one is old, confused or sick, it's doubly important to be sure financial abuse isn't taking place. Here are three signs that financial abuse could be present in your case.

Your loved one's property is being used without permission

There are many signs of financial elder abuse, but one that stands out is if a person is using your loved one's property without permission. For example, a neighbor who suddenly started paying attention to your elderly parent and then is found using his or her home or vehi cle, would perhaps not have the permission needed to do so. This individual might have access due to holding an extra key for emergencies, but this doesn't mean he or she has full rights to use the property.

In another situation, a son or daughter taking care of an elderly parent might have some responsibilities, like paying bills or taking care of the house when the elderly parent isn't able to. This also doesn't mean that the son or daughter should be using the house to hold parties, as a place to stay, or be using his or her parent's bank account to cover one's own expenses. These are acts that, unless given permission, simply aren't acceptable.

Your loved one is talking about a new person he or she trusts

When a person who is aging suddenly comes across a new lover or friend, it can seem like a positive moment in his or her life. In most cases, it is. However, there are people who look to exploit older people for their own financial gain. For example, a young woman who takes care of an elderly gentleman might be angling to be added to his will. It's not always the case, but if your elderly parent starts making sudden changes because of a new influence, it's something to think about.

Your loved one signs away rights while ill or confused

The time to make changes to a will or trust is before a person is sick, incoherent or confused. If your loved one suffers from a progressive condition such as dementia or Alzheimer's disease, he or she might not be in the right mind and do certain activities. Someone taking advantage of this could suggest that he or she already spoke to your loved one about changes being made in the will or other legal documents. A confused person might simply sign away his or her rights to make decisions or change important legal documents. It's possible to challenge these changes, but you should do so as soon as possible.

Keeping an eye on your loved one during this stage of life is important. If you suspect financial abuse, a legal professional can help by providing you with the options for your case.

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