Sometimes, the elderly are abused by the people who are supposed to care for them. They’re victimized and exploited, hurt in ways that their families don’t realize. Later, when the truth comes out and the elderly person passes away, the family may want to challenge the decedent’s will or other estate matters.
To do so successfully, it’s a good idea to understand and have proof of elder abuse taking place. Here are a few types of abuse that could take place and what you can do to collect evidence for the courts.
Elder abuse: Physical harm
The first thing you can look for is physical harm. Common injuries showing there is neglect include bedsores, repeated falls with broken bones and untreated infections. Bedsores, for example, develop when an elderly person is unable to shift or move his or her body enough to release pressure on the skin and bones. These are a little like blisters, but they have the potential to be deep and to become infected. This could be a life-threatening injury and even one that does result in death. It would be fair for a family to fight someone who is receiving a portion of the estate if he or she neglected the family member and allowed him or her to develop life-threatening injuries.
Elder abuse: Manipulation
Another kind of elder abuse is manipulation and exploitation. This may include things such as using the elderly person’s confusion to steal money or to have him or her sign legal documents to change the estate’s beneficiaries.
With either of these situations, you will need to provide proof of the injuries, exploitation or manipulation that took place. For physical injuries, you may wish to use a camera in your elderly loved one’s home or room to monitor his or her care. You may want to take photos of injuries and to get a medical professional’s diagnosis and opinion on how the injuries occurred.
For exploitation and manipulation, you may wish to show the court dates and diagnoses related to your elderly loved one’s mental health. If you can show that he or she was not in the right state of mind to sign legal documents dated following a diagnosis for dementia or other mental health issues, that may be enough to convince a judge to look into the changes further or to refer back to an older will for the estate.