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Elder Law Blog


Financial exploitation

Financial or material exploitation is the illegal or improper use of an elder's funds, property, or assets. Examples include but are not limited to cashing checks without authorization or permission; forging an older person's signature; misusing or stealing an older person's money or possessions; coercing or deceiving an older person into signing a document (e.g., contracts or a will); and the improper use of conservatorship, guardianship, or power of attorney.

Georgia law defines exploitation as the illegal or improper use of a disabled adult or elder person or that person's resources through undue influence, coercion, harassment, duress, deception, false representation, false pretense, or other similar means for one's own or another's profit or advantage.

Signs and Symptoms of financial exploitation

  • Sudden changes in a bank account or banking practice, including an unexplained withdrawal of large sums of money by a person accompanying the elder
  • The inclusion of additional names on an elder's bank signature card
  • Unauthorized withdrawal of funds using an elder's ATM card
  • Abrupt changes in a will or in other financial documents
  • Unexplained disappearance of funds or valuable possessions
  • Provisions of substandard care or bills unpaid despite the availability of adequate financial resources
  • The provision of services that are not necessary
  • Discovery of an elder's signature forged for financial transactions or for the titles of the elder's possessions
  • Sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives claiming rights to an elder's affairs and possessions
  • Unexplained sudden transfer of assets to a family member or someone outside the family
  • An elder's report of financial exploitation



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