The request was innocent enough. Will you be able to take care of our ailing loved one? Can you oversee their twilight years and make sure they are well taken care of? Naturally, you took on the role of caretaker because you are a genuinely caring person and you wanted to make sure the person you care for maintains a relatively high quality of life. At first, everything went smoothly – bills were paid on time, medical appointments were always met and, most of all, the family was happy with the care their loved one was receiving. But, despite the quality of care you delivered, you began to sense something was wrong. The family started to question your actions and treat you with a certain degree of suspicion. Everything finally boiled over and they outright accused you of elder abuse – specifically, skimming funds from the loved one’s bank account and misusing money set aside for their care.
What Do You Do?
Unfortunately, this kind of scenario is far more common than most people would believe. Family members, private nurses and care homes often find themselves in legal trouble once accusations of financial abuse are brought to the surface. While many seniors across the country find themselves at the mercy of vicious conmen every year, so many more innocent caretakers are charged with crimes they had no part in. If you’ve found yourself in this situation, you are undoubtedly wondering what options you may have. After all, most officials take a dim view of elder abuse – whether it is physical, emotional or financial. What chance do you have at successfully fending off the charges when most people have already sentenced you in the court of popular opinion?
The Fine Print
The first thing that must be established, especially when it comes to determining financial abuse, is exactly how the money in question was to be distributed in the first place? In other words, who was in charge of the money? Was it you? Was the individual you were caring for maintaining his or her own funds? Depending on who had access to the funds or valuables, you may have little to no direct knowledge of how the individual’s finances were being used.
Even if you were directly in charge of the elderly person’s accounts or valuables, you may have been directed to use the funds in a very specific way that the accusing family may not have been aware of. Many times, individual family members have been tasked with taking care of their older family members are given extra funds by the loved one in question to make up for their efforts. If you had no idea the actions you were taking were against the family’s wishes or could pose a danger to the person in your care, it will be difficult to hold you accountable for said abuse.
Your Best Defense
Generally, having records can go a long way in solidifying your defense, but even in the absence of bank statements or a recorded journal of expenses, you have a number of legal defense options. If you are facing financial abuse charges in regards to a senior citizen, the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti can help.
We understand how stressful and potentially overwhelming these types of accusations can be. With our legal counsel at your side, you stand a more than favorable chance at clearing your good name. For more information or to schedule an appointment call (714) 707-2797.