Senior Scam Series: The Gold-diggin...

Author: Wolfe Ossa LawCategories: Elder Law

Senior Scams are more and more prevalent in America today. Having a good Estate Plan can ensure you and your family are protected.

Bill came to WOL looking for help with Estate Planning and we accommodated his situation using our regular 6 step process. We set up a trust to safeguard over $1 million he had accumulated over his lifetime, and arranged for a Special Needs Trust for his disabled granddaughter to use.

Six months later Bill comes into our office with an attractive young woman at his side. Bill wants to change his will and leave everything to this woman, introducing her to us as his granddaughter. He sings her praises and describes her as a doting granddaughter who makes time everyday to visit him and spend time with him. We always respect the wishes of our clients and accommodate them to make sure we reach the best outcome.

After reviewing his previously prepared documents, we affirm that his existing assets have already been guarded in a trust in the name of his daughter. As such, nothing can be changed without the permission of the trustee, his daughter.

In good faith we call his daughter, who immediately begins to shout expletives after hearing who came into our office with her father. She explains the supposed “granddaughter” is actually a random girl from the neighborhood, who she describes as “at best a very distant family friend”.

After hearing all of this from Bill’s daughter, we ask for more details about the relationship he has with this woman. He reveals that she actually visits every two weeks and she keeps him company by cooking the occasional meal or grabbing a random snack for him. She is one of the few visitors he receives and gives him a break from his loneliness.

This may sound surprising, but a large majority of senior scams are committed by a trusted friend or family member. Asset sheltering prevented Bill from being seduced into emptying his pockets for a woman who he unexpectedly grew fond of, but with whom he had no legitimate connection.

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