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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: Preventing financial exploitation of the elderly, part II

September 15, 2009

In my previous article, I listed some resources for combating financial exploitation of the elderly. During the past week, the Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services contacted me to let me know that they investigate financial exploitation cases, in addition to the other services that I had indicated. In addition, several people asked me to provide more information about what friends and family can do to help to prevent this crime before it starts and how to spot warning signs of the crime. I have done some research on the issue and a summary of that research follows.
The good news is that it does not take any specialized knowledge or higher education to detect warning signs. It simply takes common sense. Being careful and using common sense can help stop this crime before serious damage is done.
Financial exploitation occurs when an elderly person is tricked into giving his or her money or property to another person without understanding the full ramifications. Exploitation can occur between an elderly person and a stranger, a friend or even a family member. While my last article involved government resources who combat this crime, a much more effective way of dealing with financial exploitation is preventing the crime before it occurs. As the targeted victim, friend, family member or representative, you are the first and best line of defense. Some warning signs occur when an elderly person:

(1) Makes sudden changes to a bank or brokerage account that are uncharacteristic; (2) Makes many cash withdrawals in a short period of time that are inconsistent with previous spending habits; (3) Makes large withdrawals that are inconsistent with previous spending habits; (4)
Increases credit card activity; (4) Starts uncharacteristically bouncing checks; (5) Meets with a new third person who encourages him or her to make major financial changes; (6) Changes account beneficiaries; (7) Refinances a mortgage; (8) Makes major changes to a will or a trust; (9) Changes his or her financial power of attorney; or (10) Appears disoriented or forgetful in meeting financial obligations.

Of course, there may be legitimate reasons for any of the above-listed warning signs. Nonetheless, if you notice any of these warnings signs, it is worth investigating and may very well be worth reporting to one of the resources that I listed in my previous article. It is not just law enforcement and other government organizations who need to work to prevent financial exploitation of the elderly. Friends, family members, and professional representatives (such as accountants, lawyers and financial advisors), all need to work together. The best way to combat financial exploitation of the elderly is to prevent it before it occurs.

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