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Attorneys need to be aware of the warning signs of elder abuse

Some 91.4 percent of attorneys questioned in a survey say that elder investment fraud and financial exploitation is a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem

There continues to be a problem of the elderly becoming victims of fraud. Approximately 20 percent of older Americans have experienced either investment fraud or financial exploitation.

Attorneys appear sympathetic to help out. Some nine out of 10 attorneys said in a survey they will take part in a campaign to address the issue.

Concern about this area is not something that only elder law specialists or trusts and estates practitioners should be aware of; attorneys in different fields may need to address these issues. Lori Stiegel, senior attorney and EIFFE Prevention Program Legal project director at the ABA’s Commission on Law and Aging, gave the example of a business lawyer advising a client about selling a company.

“A lawyer who is ignorant of EIFFE and fails to recognize its signs may unwittingly participate in victimizing the client or fail to protect the client from harm, and as a result may face professional discipline and liability for malpractice,” she said.

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Ed Silverstein

Ed Silverstein is a veteran writer and editor for magazines, websites and newspapers. A graduate of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, he has won several...

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