You might be surprised that elder abusers aren’t necessarily worried or scared of the legal system.
In my experience, most abusers as a personality trait believe that they can get away with the abuse because they believe that other people are stupid, or that they simply won’t be caught, or that other people won’t make the effort or don’t have the time and resources to stop them.
You might also be surprised to know that elder abusers use or try to use the legal system to help them commit the abuse. Here are a few of the ways that I have seen.
-The abuser calls the police and complains that other people, the good people, are abusing, or mistreating, stealing from, or unduly influencing the elder. The abuser tries to turn the tables on the good people so that the abuser can then have the elder victim alone.
-Similarly, the abuser calls adult protective services and complains that the good people are mistreating or stealing from the elder.
-Another example, the abuser obtains an attorney who will draft a will, or trust, or power of attorney for the elder naming the abuser, and the attorney does not understand or sufficiently care about his or her ethical and legal obligations to the elder who is the attorney’s client.
-Or the abuser files a contest of the elder’s will or trust documents.
-Except in situations of immediate theft, typically the abuser works at this for a continuous period of time taking small steps forward, influencing the elder against the good people and eventually getting the assets, documents or evidence that help the abuser.
And in another example, the abuser promises the elder victim something that the elder wants, something that will make the elder happy, such as . . . “if you sign the power of attorney I will be able to take you home,” even when it’s clear that medically or for daily care the elder should stay in the nursing home.
The list goes on. These are cases that are difficult and time consuming, and can be expensive to prosecute – it takes good people to take action.
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