How to Recognize, Avoid & Stop Theft & Exploitation of Assets
Because of the value found in assets, misuse and theft are becoming increasingly common. Perpetrators can exploit nearly anyone but it is most common for elderly citizens to be the victims of such crimes, especially those suffering from disabilities such as memory loss. Asset theft and exploitation can often be hard to identify, so it is important to be knowledgeable of what it is, how to recognize it, and how to stop it. At The Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates, we can provide you with a Gainesville probate attorney if you were the victim of asset theft or exploitation.
What is Financial Exploitation?
In the State of Florida, Chapter 825.103 of the Florida statutes defines exploitation of finances as knowingly obtaining or using, or attempting to obtain or use, an elderly person’s or disabled adult’s funds, assets, or property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive such person of the use, benefit, or possession of their assets. The exploitation must be used to benefit somebody other than the elderly person or disabled adult and must be committed by a person in a position of trust and confidence with the victim or in a business relationship. Financial exploitation occurs without the explicit knowledge or consent from the victim.
How Do Exploitation & Theft Occur?
Assets are usually stolen or misused through forms of deception, false pretenses, coercion, harassment, and threats. The best way to ensure that you or someone you love is not being exploited is to keep a close eye on all accounts and expenses and to probe them. Ensure that all investments are secure and appropriate, and that assets are well protected. Children or trusted family members are often the culprits who are stealing assets from their elderly or disabled family members. Greedy financial planners or mortgage brokers can also be predatory by seeing vulnerable adults as an opportunity for high-commissions or inappropriate mortgages. Certain annuity salespeople may also try to push risky investments on unsuspecting clients, so you must always stay alert or have someone help you when making decisions of that magnitude regarding your finances and assets.
Warning Signs of Financial Abuse
Some of the most common signs of financial and asset exploitation include:
- Sudden or unusual changes in your bank account or banking practice.
- Unauthorized withdrawals of large sums of money under your ATM card.
- Abrupt changes in your will or financial documents.
- Disappearance of valuable possessions or funds.
- Unpaid bills despite sufficient financial resources to pay them.
- Discovery of your signature being forged for financial transactions or for titles of your possessions.
- Sudden transfers of your assets to a family member without your consent.
What to Do if You Have Been a Victim of Exploitation
If you discover any warning signs of theft or exploitation of your assets or of a loved one’s assets, immediately seek the help of probate lawyers Gainesville elders and adults with disabilities can trust. Missing or reduced assets can greatly affect you and cause complications during the probate process. An attorney will have the necessary experience and financial knowledge to help you recover your lost finances and assets. In Florida, the exploitation statute has made it much easier to pursue, charge and convict predators who steal from or exploit elderly or disabled adults.
Gainesville, FL Probate Lawyers
At The Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates, we believe in protecting citizens from theft and exploitation. Our probate attorneys are highly skilled to protect your rights and look out for your best interest. Contact us today for probate lawyers in Gainesville you can rely on.