If your loved one was the target of financial exploitation, it's important to seek legal help right away.
Residents are supposed to be protected in nursing homes, but many are the victims of nursing home abuse in Georgia each year. In addition, some are the victims of financial exploitation, also called financial abuse, at the hands of staff members.
Financial abuse is the illegal or improper use of a resident's finances (money, credit lines, property, Social Security or other benefits, financial assets, or belongings). Examples include:
- Withdrawing money from a resident's bank account without permission.
- Forging a signature on checks.
- Charging too much for services.
- Charging for services never provided.
- Stealing valuable items from a resident's room.
- Convincing a resident to add beneficiaries to benefits, wills, and insurance policies.
Nursing home residents can be especially vulnerable to financial abuse. This is because they may be suffering from cognitive decline. In addition, other factors such as disability, loneliness, and social isolation can make them susceptible to exploitation. Unfortunately, financial abuse can continue for quite some time before family members realize something is wrong.
What are the signs of financial abuse?
Something may seem strange with a loved one's finances or financial situation. Signs of exploitation may include:
- Unexplained withdrawals.
- Unusual activity (for example, sudden and frequent use of an ATM card).
- Unusual activity in brokerage accounts.
- Sudden and unexpected changes to a will.
- Funds or valuables go missing.
- Unexplained transfer of assets.
- A loved one becomes upset when asked about money.
- A staff member seems to pay unusual attention to a loved one.
- Services appear on a bill but were never received.
- Social Security checks aren't deposited into a loved one's account.
- A loved one signs a power of attorney document but didn't understand what was signed.
- A loved one accuses someone of stealing from them.
A staff member may have used undue influence, deceit, threats, or even force to gain access to a resident's financial resources.
Never ignore any signs of financial abuse, even if you aren't quite sure what's happening. You know if something is wrong. You have several options in response to suspected financial exploitation:
- Talk to the nursing home administrator about your concerns.
- Gather documentation of your loved one's financial activity in recent months.
- Call Adult Protective Services at 1-866-552-4464.
- File an online report with the Department of Human Services Division of Aging Services.
- Call the Georgia Department of Community Health Healthcare Facility Regulation at 1-800-878-6442.
- Contact an experienced Georgia nursing home abuse lawyer.
How a nursing home abuse lawyer can help
Financial abuse laws are complicated, and cases can be difficult to prove. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal system to help you get justice. A lawyer can:
- Conduct an investigation of your family member's abuse.
- Review financial and other records.
- Talk to witnesses.
- Consult financial and other experts as needed.
- Represent you in all dealings with the nursing home.
- Help you report financial abuse.
- File a lawsuit if needed.
Since 2004, the attorneys at Kurle Justus, LLC have been fighting for the rights of nursing home residents who were victims of abuse and neglect. We know how to build strong cases that get results and are dedicated to getting the best possible outcome. Contact us to schedule a free consultation. Serving Decatur and all of Georgia.