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Fighting Elder Financial Abuse, Protecting Retirement Savings

A recent Huffington Post article details the plight of Americans over the age of 50, many of whom have been the victims of financial exploitation at one point or another. Even the late Mickey Rooney acknowledged his own experience with financial abuse before a Special Senate Committee on Aging. The reality is that an estimated one in two elderly Americans has been financially exploited, or knows someone who has been a victim of financial abuse. The average loss from each incident of financial exploitation is more than $120,000.

As the population of retired and aging Americans continues to grow, older citizens have increasingly turned to their own financial institutions for help. Studies show that four out of every five older Americans want their banks to help prevent financial exploitation of seniors. Since this demographic holds approximately two-thirds of all assets held by banks and other financial institutions, they have responded to this steadily increasing problem.  In fact, financial abuse is a problem for financial institutions, too. Bank losses exceed $1 billion in deposits each year as the direct result of financial exploitation of older Americans.

In response, AARP and the financial industry have joined forces to create the BankSafe Initiative, which is designed to protect seniors from financial exploitation and keep their retirement savings safe. Some financial institutions already have taken relatively simple steps to help protect their aging clients. For instance, Wells Fargo Advisors implemented a client emergency form, which allows financial advisors to contact a third party if they suspect an individual has developed dementia or difficulties handling their finances on their own. Likewise, the Oregon Banking Association, in conjunction with other local organizations, developed a training kit for bank employees to help them spot potential financial exploitation of seniors. Since implementing the training kit, bank reports of abuse have increased exponentially.

At Boller & Vaughan, we have investigated countless allegations of elder abuse, no matter what type of circumstances they entail. Allow us to look into the facts and circumstances surrounding your case, discuss your options, and help you determine the most appropriate course of action for you and your family. Contact the Wisconsin nursing home abuse attorneys of Boller & Vaughan, and learn how we can help.