Knoxville Financial Abuse & Exploitation Attorney
Financial abuse of nursing home residents is rarely discussed in the media. Instead, most attention is focused on physical or psychological abuse. Yet nursing home residents are vulnerable to financial exploitation, especially from staff members whom residents come to trust.
If you suspect a loved one is being financially abused, contact our Knoxville financial abuse attorney at Atkins Brezina, PLLC as soon as possible. Financial abuse is easy to stop once the authorities become aware of it, and legal redress is possible.
Types of Financial Abuse
Many nursing home staff members are lowly paid and in financial distress. Some residents have money or other resources lying around which staff might be tempted to take. Financial abuse in a long-term facility can take many forms, such as:
- Stealing money or valuable items, like wedding rings
- Check fraud
- Transferring money out of a resident’s account
- Using credit or debit cards to make purchases without permission
- Opening lines of credit in the resident’s name
- Coercing a resident to sign over assets, such as a home or car
- Stealing a resident’s identity
Signs of Financial Abuse
Unfortunately, vulnerable residents rarely notice that someone has been stealing from them. Staff members might convince an elderly resident that they have misplaced money or a valuable item, or they might claim the elderly person transferred money themselves. With age, our memories begin to fade, and many residents might believe what staff is telling them. Sometimes, residents are too embarrassed to report their suspicions because they do not want their families to find out they have been swindled.
As a concerned family member, please pay attention to signs of financial abuse:
- Missing items, such as a wedding ring
- Lack of spending money and no idea where it went
- New financial accounts opened in the resident’s name
- Collection letters for unpaid debts
- High credit card debts
- Staff members who complain about debts in front of residents
- Newly signed or drafted wills or trusts
- Confusion about where money has gone
Some of these red flags might have innocent explanations, but you can’t be sure until you investigate further.
How to Respond to Suspicions of Financial Abuse
As a concerned family member, you can take steps to check your loved one’s finances. All people are entitled to one free credit report. You can help a loved one order their report and then go over it with them. Look for high credit card balances, new lines of credit, and any unpaid debts.
Report concerns to hospital administration, who should also perform an investigation. Schedule a meeting and ask to follow up. The nursing home might have surveillance video which can show a staff member stealing.
You should also contact a nursing home abuse attorney in Knoxville as soon as possible. A lawyer is often able to pinpoint helpful information and analyze accounts to find hidden transfers. If your loved one has been victimized, a lawsuit against the thief and/or the nursing home might be warranted.
Contact Atkins Brezina, PLLC Today
Financial abuse of the elderly is a serious problem inside and outside nursing homes. For assistance, please contact our legal team as soon as possible. We can meet to discuss your suspicions and develop a course of action to learn more.