Fighting Back Against Elder Abuse

Elder Financial Abuse | Red Flags | Ohio CPA Firm
A new law requires CPAs to report suspected elder financial abuse. Read on to learn what we are looking for.

New Law Requires CPAs To Report Suspected Elder Abuse

While financial abuse among senior citizens continues to be a problem in this country, we have to acknowledge another component that makes the overall problem that much worse – that, more often than not, the seniors who find themselves victims of financial abuse are failing to report the crimes.

The segment of the population aged 85 and older is growing. As it continues to grow, we expect to see the instances of elder financial abuse increase, which is simply unacceptable. So, to help combat the problem, a new law now requires CPAs to report suspected elder financial abuse.

What We Will Be Looking For

We believe that this new law is a step in the right direction when it comes to helping the elderly protect their finances and keep them from falling victim to these crimes. In this line of work, there are certainly opportunities to identify tell-tale signs that something isn’t right. Red flags might include the following:

  • Large gifts to one child, but not all.
  • Making several purchases for only one member of the family.
  • Making a substantial purchase that is out of character for that person.
  • A sharp decline in bank or investment balances.
  • Large withdrawals from an IRA.
  • One family member completely takes over financial matters.
  • Abrupt changes to a will or any other financial documents.

We are always on the lookout for potential red flags. This practice will not only continue, you can count on your CPA to be more vigilant than ever before. Hopefully, we can successfully reduce instances of elder financial abuse in our communities, in our states, and across our nation.

How To Report Abuse

CPAs aren’t the only ones who can and should report elder financial abuse. As friends and family of older individuals, you are truly at the front lines and have a great opportunity to notice when something isn’t right. Therefore, we encourage everybody to be on the lookout for signs that something isn’t right.

To report elder abuse, call 1.855.OHIO.APS or contact your county department of job and family services to make a report. Reports can remain anonymous and those making the report do not have to provide any evidence.

Together We Can Right Wrongs

Every year, Rea & Associates celebrates team members who have made a difference in their profession, in their communities, to their clients and those who have embraced The Rea Way. Last year, we had the honor to recognize the late Laurie Braun for the work she did to identify an instance of elder financial abuse. Laurie’s dedication to client service and quick actions helped her clients recoup a significant amount of the money they lost. If you have a few minutes, take a moment to watch this video tribute to Laurie’s commitment to client service.

By Trista Acker,CPA, CFP, NSSA (Dublin office)