The unfortunate reality is that the elderly often get targeted by scams and victimized by fraud. There are a few reasons for this, one of which is simply that they tend to have the assets and savings that others are seeking. This is especially true when they are considering their estate planning and dividing up their life savings.
Another reason, experts warn, is that the elderly may be suffering from cognitive issues that make them easier targets. A reduced mental capacity may cause confusion and make it easier for others to take advantage of them.
For instance, a caregiver may try to get the elderly person to sign over real estate or other valuable property that they own. A child may attempt to get the person to sign a power of attorney so that they can access their funds and make other legal and financial decisions for them. Someone may try to get an elderly individual to alter the will to leave more assets to them or to take assets away from someone else.
There are many ways that fraud can play out, and they can all be incredibly detrimental to the elderly person and the rest of their family. They may involve fake wills, forged documents, undue influence and host of other issues. And that is only considering scams that are generally proposed by those close to the elderly person, saying nothing of scams by outsiders.
As you do your estate planning, or if you are an heir who believes fraud may have influenced a parent’s estate, keep these types of issues in mind. Make sure you are well aware of your legal rights.