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Defining Elder Exploitation

Elder exploitation takes place when a person in a position of trust takes advantage of a vulnerable elder to gain control of their money or property.  This can occur directly, or indirectly through a power of attorney, a trust, marriage, adoption, or inheritance. The elder need not be incapacitated. Fraud can come from multiple sources:  friends and family, new “best friends,” “thieving caregivers,” and religious con artists.  Unfortunately, family members are often the source of financial abuse of their elderly relatives.

Texas law defines exploitation as: “The illegal or improper act or process of a caretaker, family member, or other individual who has an ongoing relationship with the elderly or disabled person using the resources of an elderly or disabled person for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain without the informed consent of the elderly or disabled person.”  Texas Human Resources Code § 48.002 (a) (3).

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