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Lawyer Reports Twice as Many Calls About Elder Financial Abuse

Posted Jun 16, 2009 1:30 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Some lawyers say they are seeing more cases of financial abuse of the elderly, and the wrongdoers are often other family members.

Sometimes children with power of attorney dip into a parent's bank accounts, or they pressure a parent to change a will—the kinds of allegations taking center stage in the prosecution of Anthony Marshall, accused of taking financial advantage of the deteriorating mental condition of his wealthy mother, Brooke Astor.

Elder law lawyer Dennis Sandoval of Riverside, Calif., often represents the elderly in lawsuits against other family members accused of pressuring or cheating the plaintiffs out of assets, the Wall Street Journal reports.

"We are getting twice as many calls about elder financial abuse as we were two years ago," before the financial crisis began, Sandoval told the newspaper.

The problems are increasing at a time when the elderly are living longer, and their children are increasingly being called on to take care of them. The Washington Post highlights some of the statistics: Two-thirds of elderly people will need some kind of long-term care in their lifetime. At the age of 65, men can expect to live another 17 years and women another 20 or more years.

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