Written by Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a New Jersey Elder Abuse Attorney
You may suspect a loved one is starting to fail or possibly elder abuse is taking place but what can you do? Anything? The answer is a definite “yes”! Certain preventive measures may be appropriate to minimize the chances that an elderly person will become a dangerous risk to himself/herself or a victim of financial and physical exploitation. Remember this, with elder abuse and financial exploitation time is not your friend and delaying your response may have devastating consequences. Here are some immediate and simple steps to take:
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After exploitation has occurred, your options are limited. Taking the above actions may help to minimize further exploitation. You may want to consider filing criminal charges or civil proceedings against the perpetrator of the exploitation. Theft is not limited to robbing a bank at gun point.
When an elderly person is a victim of domestic violence, the individual should consult New Jersey’s domestic violence laws (see page title “NJ laws on Elder Abuse” found in this site). This page goes into significant detail on the NJ laws which govern elder abuse. It may be possible to obtain a temporary restraining order or domestic violence injunction, or to commence a separate maintenance or divorce proceeding, depending upon the elderly person’s wishes. Please also see our website www.domesticviolencelawyerinnj.com for additional information on domestic violence and elder abuse. This site is written for non-lawyers and provides a wealth of free information.
File a Protective Complaint in Superior Court in Lieu of a Guardianship Action
There is a seldom used but potentially effective alternative to guardianship which can address elder financial exploitation much faster and with less focus on the mental competency of the victim. Guardianship requires proof that the abused person is incapacitated, meaning not in their right mind. A protective proceeding does not. What must be demonstrated is that the elderly person is subject to the influence of a predator (family member, “friend”, caregiver, spouse, etc.) and is being exploited and, therefore, needs protection. Filing such a legal action does not require two doctors’ reports, medical proof and the other formalities of a guardianship or conservatorship proceeding. But it does require some examples (proof) of exploitation and/or abuse that warrants a court’s protective order.
PROTECTIVE COMPLAINTS CAN BE QUITE EFFECTIVE. It gets you into court quickly, it often intimidates and immediately stops predators from further stealing. If you’re interested in discussing this option, I welcome you to call me toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An adult guardianship may be desirable or necessary for a victim who has lost capacity. New Jersey provides for a “public guardianship,” that is, court appointment of a public official or agency to serve as guardian of an incompetent person, usually when no private person or agency is available or willing to assume this responsibility. You may find that a public guardianship is the only route available to provide on going assistance if or when you are unable to maintain continued involvement or there are insufficient assets to pay for a professional guardian.A guardian can be authorized to make legal, financial and health care decisions for the ward. Depending on the terms of the guardianship, the guardian may be given decision-making power over only those areas in which the incapacitated person is unable to make responsible decisions. This is called a limited guardianship. Especially important is the appointment of a guardian of the property which gives the guardian powers over the person’s finances including banking, social security, veteran’s benefits, paying bills, borrowing or loaning money and whatever to buy or sell real estate and stock accounts. You can learn more about guardianships at our site, www.newjerseyguardianshipattorney.com. It’s a terrific resouse.
You can also visit the following page found on this site. Click HERE read more about protective actions you can take now.
Challenging Gifts Made Because of a Lack of Capacity, Financial Exploitation of an Older Individual Under New Jersey Elder Abuse Laws
Suspect elderly abuse similar to that described on this page? Not sure what to do? Then contact Fredrick P. Niemann, an experienced New Jersey elder abuse and financial exploitation attorney toll-free at
(855) 376-5291 or email him at email@example.com.
He welcomes your inquires and you will find him easy to discuss your concerns in confidence and in private.