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Alkalay & Smillie, PLLC

in Mt. Washington Valley, New Hampshire

Office: (603) 447-8994
Fax: (603) 297-2866

Articles of Interest

Attorney Edward Alkalay writes a regular column for the Conway Daily Sun newspaper entitled "The Legal Corner." His articles address a wide variety of timely legal issues. Click on the titles below to review his past articles.

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The Legal Corner: The Legal Corner: Combating financial exploitation of the elderly

September 1, 2009

Few acts are more despicable than the financial exploitation of our elderly population. Senior citizens vary widely in age, health and financial stability. Many seniors are extremely active, both physically and mentally, in their jobs, their hobbies, taking care of grandchildren, and a wide variety of other pursuits. Others suffer from ailments that make even day to day activities difficult. Healthy or not, senior citizens are often targets for financial exploitation. This is because seniors have often spent a lifetime saving to build a nest egg for retirement. Moreover, many seniors (and younger people as well) do not have an intricate knowledge of what to do with their money once they have accumulated it. Consequently, they may become targets of fast talking swindlers who do not have their “clients” interest at heart.
Seniors should be aware that there are many free resources that they can utilize if they suspect that someone is trying to financially exploit them.
The Senior Citizen’s Law Project is a branch of the New Hampshire Legal Assistance which exclusively handles legal issues facing seniors. This organization will either help the elderly who are being financially exploited or can refer them to another organization who can. They can be reached at 603-624-6000 or 1-888-353-9944.
The Attorney General’s office also offers the elderly resources to combat abuse and/or exploitation. The Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation Unit within the Attorney General’s office was established a few years ago. Its mission is to “prevent, investigate, and prosecute crimes involving elderly victims of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.” This unit also works closely with other local and state law enforcement offices, and many other organizations that serve the elderly “to protect and preserve the quality of life that our seniors expect and deserve.” Examples of the issue that this unit focuses on include “physical abuse and financial exploitation such as property and identity theft, home improvement fraud, forgery, embezzlement, and fraud involving misuse of an elder’s assets by a fiduciary acting under a guardianship or power of attorney.” To contact the unit, you may call: 603.271.3658.
The Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services provides a variety of social and long-term support to seniors ranging from home care, meals on wheels, care management, transportation assistance and assisted living to nursing home care. This group will not necessarily deal with financial exploitation directly, but will refer seniors to an appropriate resource.  They can be reached at 603-271-4680.
The National Center on Elder Abuse also provides services to the elderly to help prevent the abuse and financial exploitation. The website is filled with valuable information which can be accessed at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov.
There are a number of other resources as well. The critical thing for seniors to remember is to be careful with whom they entrust their money and property to. Seniors should not blindly give access to their nest egg to a stranger who appears to be honest. Ask for the person’s business card. Talk to other people and organizations about them. Research the person’s background on your own. You are your own best protection against financial exploitation. However, there are many resources that can help you if you have concerns.
Those who exploit the elderly are among the lowest forms of criminals. Seniors, and those who love them, should be proactive in guarding against those who seek to take advantage of some of the most vulnerable members of our society.

Edward D. Alkalay is a partner at Alkalay & Smillie PLLC and can be reached at (603)447-8994 or ed@northconwaylawyers.com. (This article conveys general information and should not be relied on for legal advice without further research and/or consultation with an attorney.)

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By: Edward D. Alkalay