Estate planning is one of the branches of the larger field of elder law, and when you are making comprehensive plans for the future you have to recognize all of the eventualities of aging. This is often times easier said than done because some of the challenges that people face when they reach an advanced age enter their lives unexpectedly.
For example, dementia is very common among people who reach the age of 85 and above, striking up to half of the oldest old. As your faculties gradually diminish those “senior moments” that were once no big deal can come more and more frequently and you may not recognize just how serious the problem has become.
This is why it is a good idea to engage in open discourse with your family members along the way so that everyone is fully aware of some of the possibilities that exist as the years pass. When you remain secretive or keep your head in the sand with regard to the possibility of diminished faculties a number of perils can befall you, and one of these is elder financial abuse.
This has become a big problem in America today, and according to MetLife Mature Market, estimates elder financial abuse costs its victims somewhere in the vicinity of $2.6 billion each year. It is difficult to come up with a truly accurate estimate because of the fact that most cases of elder financial abuse go unreported; it has been suggested that just one out of every 25 cases of elder financial abuse are reported to the authorities. This is largely due to the fact that most of the perpetrators are people who are known to the victims, who usually choose to protect the abusers by remaining silent.
Clearly, elder financial abuse is something to be aware of, and there are legal steps that one can take to prevent it. This is something that you may want to discuss with your elder law attorney the next time you schedule a consultation.