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Preventing Elder Abuse

The story behind Estate Protect

Ten years ago, I was a junior lawyer practicing estate litigation.  One of my first clients came to me to help address a serious case of elder financial abuse.  Although he thought that he held a Power of Attorney for his elderly mother, he had just learned that his younger sister had forced his mother to sign a new one without his knowledge.  My client had no idea that over the course of the prior year, his sister had used it to steal almost all of their mother’s money.

Think that's bad?  It gets worse…

My client’s mother passed away shortly after I was retained.  It was then that we learned that his sister had also pressured his mother to change her will, unsurprisingly leaving everything to herself.  Over the course of the case, we learned that his mother had been suffering from a mild form of dementia and that his sister took advantage of this to bully their mother into signing documents and threatened her about telling anyone.  The details of the case were heartbreaking.  I simply did not understand how something like that could happen- and that there was no easy way to prevent it.

Sadly, I have since learned that cases like this are the norm, not the exception.  It is hard to find accurate statistics on elder abuse because only 1 in 44 cases is reported, but about 10% of seniors are victims of elder financial abuse collectively losing billions each year.  And shockingly, the majority of abuse is perpetrated by the victim's family.  It is a significant and devastating problem.  Many organizations have studied it and made recommendations, but no one was actually implementing solutions.  So we have. 

Estate Protect was created to offer real protection to seniors so that other families do not have to go through what my client's mother and family did.  Estate Protect’s services help protect seniors against the most significant forms of elder financial abuse, as well as helping to ensure that their wishes are known and carried out. To learn more, contact us.

Erin MacKenzie