One of the things a person with an elderly loved one might be quite concerned about is the financial well-being of their elderly loved one. One thing that sometimes is part of such concern is worry that their loved one will end up being victimized by a fraudster or a scammer.
Data from the Federal Trade Commission indicates that scams and fraud attempts are increasingly being targeted at elderly individuals. The data regards complaints made to the agency about scams and fraud. According to the data, in 2013, scam/fraud complaints made by individuals at least 60 years of age made up over a quarter (27 percent) of all scam/fraud complaints made to the agency during the year. In contrast, in 2010, scam/fraud complaints made by individuals of this age group only made up 14 percent of the total scam/fraud complaints made to the agency during the year.
Elderly individuals of all different types can end up being victims of scams or fraud. However, there are some seniors that can be particularly vulnerable to scams/fraud and other financially-harmful things. One such group are seniors whose overall mental state is such that it compromises their ability to effectively manage their financial affairs.
There are legal mechanisms here in Michigan aimed at helping financially protect elderly individuals who have lost the ability to effectively manage their financial affairs. One such mechanism is the conservatorship system. When a family member of an elderly individual suspects that their elderly loved one may no longer be able to effectively manage their affairs and thus could be particularly financially vulnerable, they may be able to make a request to a court that a conservatorship be put in place in relation to their elderly loved one. If a court decides to grant such a request, the court will appoint a conservator to manage the elderly individual's financial affairs.
Individuals who are concerned that a mental health condition that their elderly loved one has may be making their loved one particularly vulnerable to financial harms may want to talk with an attorney about whether requesting a conservatorship might be an appropriate step for trying to protect their loved one.
Source: Nasdaq, "Elder fraud cases on the rise," May 5, 2015