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Elder Abuse, Neglect & Exploitation

When Your Loved One Is Being Taken Advantage Of or Abused

Elders desire companionship and attention.  They often need care and assistance. Unfortunately, when vulnerable or disabled adults need help the most, they are sometimes neglected, abused or financially exploited by the very people who are supposed to be caring for them.  A caregiver, whether a family member or non-family member, is often necessary to give the adult care and assistance.  As the adult’s condition deteriorates, he/she becomes more physically and emotionally dependent on the caregiver. Such dependence can make an adult vulnerable to undue influence, abuse, neglect or financial exploitation.  Fortunately, there are protections and remedies.

Our firm vigorously investigates and pursues claims involving exploitation, abuse, neglect and/or undue influence of vulnerable senior citizen’s in Arizona.  If you have been wrongfully accused of such misconduct, we can aggressively try to help you defend yourself and clear your name.

Kent S. Berk, Elder Law Attorney in Scottsdale, AZ

Financial Exploitation

Elder abuse can take the form of financial exploitation or misappropriation of the adult’s income or assets.  This exploitation occurs far too often. Family, friends, and caregivers help themselves to the vulnerable adult’s money, property, or other assets–sometimes without even being named to inherit anything from the adult.

Simply put, financial exploitation is where a person in a position of trust and confidence to a vulnerable or incapacitated adult uses the adult’s property for purposes other than the adult’s benefit.

When this happens to your loved one, it is a devastating situation. Fortunately, vulnerable adults and senior citizens have special protections under Arizona law, in addition to the typical remedies that may be available for theft, misappropriation or other misconduct. People who take advantage of vulnerable or incapacitated adults risk severe penalties, including statutory damages as much as twice the monetary injury caused. They may also be forced to give up any interest in the adult’s estate or trust.
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Elder Abuse or Neglect

Sometimes vulnerable adults are physically abused or neglected.  Such lack of care and attention can be committed by family members who are supposed to be caring for the adult or even those hired to do so.

According to the definitions in Arizona’s Adult Protection Act, “abuse” is very broad and encompasses a wide-variety of mistreatment: intentionally or negligently inflicting physical injury or harm by affirmative action or omission (failing to act), unreasonable confinement and/or sexual abuse or sexual assault.  “’Neglect’” means a pattern of conduct without the person’s informed consent resulting in deprivation of food, water, medication, medical services, shelter, cooling, heating or other services necessary to maintain minimum physical or mental health.”

To find out more about Arizona’s Adult Protection Act, please visit our Elder Law in Arizona page.

Learn More About Arizona’s Adult Protection Law

When Your Loved One Simply Needs Financial or other Assistance with His/Her Affairs

In many situations, the senior citizen – the elder vulnerable or incapacitated adult – simply needs someone to manage his/her financial affairs or take care of his/her living and related arrangements.  If the vulnerable adult has not made other arrangements, such as appointing someone through a financial and/or medical power of attorney, a guardianship and/or conservatorship may be necessary.  Or perhaps the person designated in the power of attorney is not acting or is abusing that power.  In those situations, a guardianship and/or conservatorship may be helpful.

A guardian is a person appointed by the Court to oversee the health and welfare for someone who cannot manage his/her own affairs.  A conservator is appointed to manage the person’s financial affairs and assets.  Of course, in order to have a guardian or conservator appointed, certain court procedures must be followed.  For example, a petition must be lodged with the probate court.  After the petition is filed, proper notice must be given to the person allegedly in need of assistance and others and a hearing must be held.  Other requirements apply to guardianships and conservatorships.

Contact Our Experienced Elder Law Attorneys

We will do our best to try to help protect your loved one and their assets or defend you if you have been wrongfully accused of exploitation, abuse or neglect.  Or, we can assist in pursuing or defending against the appointment of a guardian or conservator. Our experienced attorneys provide tenacious representation, working to ensure that justice is given to you and your family. We work with you to meet your needs. During the process, we strive to provide the highest level of service, listening to your goals, responding to your calls promptly, and answering your questions.

If you or a loved one believes that there has been financial exploitation or you have been accused of exploitation or need assistance in a guardianship or conservatorship in Arizona, please contact us. We have helped many people successfully resolve virtually  all types of estate, probate, will, trust, and property disputes, and we may be able to do the same for you.