In any case involving an elderly or disabled person, it’s important to identify financial abuse and to take action to correct it and hold people accountable for their actions. Taking advantage of an elderly or mentally challenged person is morally and legally wrong.
Take for example this case handled in part by Scott S. Sinrich, a partner at our firm. He, along with another attorney, represented a mentally challenged woman who transferred her interest in her home for a single dollar.
What happened to cause her to give away her home?
The woman, only 56, had been dealing with emotional, psychological and neurological health issues for many years. Her family was aware that someone needed to be there to watch over her, and she did live under the care of many family members throughout that time.
When the woman’s mother died, she received an inheritance including joint ownership of her mother’s home. However, in 2015, she performed a quitclaim deed that transferred the interest she had in the home to her nephew. It was valued at around $500,000.
Later on, the woman claimed that she thought the document was needed to prevent the home from being taken due to unpaid taxes. That was not the case.
In a case against the nephew, it was found that the woman lacked the capacity to make legal decisions. It was also found that the deeded ws obtained by the nephew by undue influence.
What should you do if you suspect the financial abuse of an elder or mentally challenged individual?
Fortunately, quick actions were able to help this woman stay in her home. Cases like this happen regularly, with elderly and mentally incapacitated people being taken advantage of by those closest to them.
If you or someone you know has been taken advantage of and you believe that it is elder abuse or financial abuse, you need to speak up as soon as possible. There are legal avenues that you may be able to take to reverse actions that have already been performed and to prevent others from taking what is not theirs. It is your right to be protected and to protect those you care about against abuse.