Financial Elder Abuse Legislation – Part 2
In my post last week, I wrote about a type of financial fraud targeting the elderly that caught the attention of two New Jersey legislators. In two cases that were reported upon by the media, a man working with a nursing home convinced 2 seniors to sign powers of attorney appointing himself as their agent. He then allegedly cleaned out their bank accounts and their homes and placed each of them in a nursing home.
There are all types of financial fraud and scams targeting the elderly, a problem that will only worsen as the population continues to age. A bill recently introduced in Trenton is an attempt to protect against the type of fraud outlined above.
The law would prevent
- An owner, administrator, director, officer or employee of a long term care facility or
- A person affiliated with an owner, administrator, director, officer or employee of a long term care facility or
- Anyone who benefits financially from a long term care facility
from managing the affairs of a resident of a long term care facility or an individual who is in the admissions process to enter a facility, except by way of a court order appointing that person as guardian. That application also must be made on notice to the Office of Public Guardian.
The proposed law goes further to state that no such person may be appointed agent under a power of attorney for a long term facility resident or a person in the process of applying for admission to a facility. Any power of attorney with such a designated person shall be deemed to be invalid.
Interestingly, the definition of long term care facility is defined to include not only a nursing home but also, an assisted living facility, residential health care facility, comprehensive personal care home and dementia care home. This is a more expansive definition than exists in a 1997 law prohibiting personal guarantees in admissions contracts. As I wrote in a post here last month, that law only applies to nursing homes.
The proposed law goes further, however, to address two other concerns – ones I have also written about here. Next week I’ll share those with you.