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About 52% of elder financial abuse victims say they were taken advantage of by a family member. Financial abuse of older adults may be far more common than many people realize. About 5% of people 65 and older say they’ve been the victim of financial abuse, but that percentage is probably an underestimate, a new survey suggests.

Elder Couple with Bills

A recent article in USA TODAY, titled “Retirement: Financial abuse costs victims avg. $30,000”, reports that 19% of people ages 40 to 64 say they have an older family member or friend who has been the victim of elder financial abuse. This is according to a survey of 2,248 U.S. adults age 40 and older conducted for Allianz Life. Elder financial abuse is defined as when someone takes advantage of an older person. This can include using their money improperly or without their consent or taking it for personal gain.

The original article estimates that about 52% of elder financial abuse victims report that they were taken advantage of by a family member, a friend, or their caregiver, with 22% saying it was a stranger. Others say it was the work of companies, churches, salesmen, and other individuals.

Can you believe that the average amount lost is about $30,000, with 12% report missing over $100,000? Financial abuse can lead to shame and embarrassment on the part of the victims— a reason they tend not to report it, and there is a natural reluctance to report a family member or friend, along with a disbelief that it is happening.

Please contact our office today at 239-225-7911 to schedule an appointment with Barbara M. Pizzolato if you are interested in protecting your legacy and need to create or update your estate plan.  You may also wish to attend one of our free seminars.

Reference: USA TODAY (October 15, 2014) “Retirement: Financial abuse costs victims avg. $30,000”

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