Senior financial exploitation takes many forms, but it is perhaps toughest to swallow when it is perpetrated by those on whom the elderly should be able to trust the most: their children. Yet, time and again residents are taken advantage of by their own offspring. Our Illinois elder neglect lawyers know that the frequency of this familial abuse is higher than most would suspect and a testament to the widespread nature of the elder abuse problem.
A new financial exploitation lawsuit filed by an ailing senior was recently discussed in the New York Daily News. A ninety two year old woman has been forced to sue one of her sons in order to try to regain possession of the New York apartment that she owns. The woman bought the two-bedroom apartment in the sought-after East Side neighborhood of New York in the 1960s. The residence is the woman’s most important asset and is now valued at between $1 million and &1.6 million dollars.
Six years ago the woman invited one of her son’s to live with her in the apartment while his own wife underwent cancer treatments nearby. Unfortunately, three years later the wife succumbed to the cancer. However, the son continued to live in the East-Side apartment. Last year, the senior began experiencing serious health problems. She eventually ended up in a hospital. After slightly recovering she was transitioned temporarily into a nursing home. Her health continued to improve and she was released to move back to her apartment.
However, what she didn’t know was that while she was gone her son began scheming to keep the apartment for himself. He changed the locks on the unit and denied her entry. Amazingly, he even sought to get an order of protection against his mother. She was forced to move to Maryland where her other son lived. She has now filed this lawsuit seeking to regain entry into the apartment that she owns and on which she’s been paying all taxes and fees.
Making the situation even more tragic is the fact that senior’s health remains in fragile condition. She is in desperate need of close care to help her day-to-day. She intends to sell the apartment to help pay for the costs of that care. However, she is unable to do so until the suit is resolved and she regains what is rightfully hers.
Our Chicago elder abuse attorneys appreciate that many seniors who are fully capable of thinking clearly and in their own interests are taken advantaged of because others assume that they are not mentally strong. In many of these situations, the unscrupulous individual-like the son in this case-will try to argue that the senior has mental issues which preclude them from managing their own affairs. At times, this argument is just a smokescreen to allow the exploitation and mistreatment to continue. For example, the woman’s second son in this case explained that his mother has rights to manage her own affairs by noting, “It’s her decision as to what she wants to do with it [the apartment] and when. She’s capable of making those decisions, and that’s what she’s trying to do.”
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