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Preventing elder family financial exploitation

Elder Family Financial Exploitation, or EFFE for short, is one of the most prevalent types of elder abuse. EFFE takes place in the context of family relationships when a family member illegally, improperly, or without permission, uses or withholds an older adult’s funds, property, or assets. EFFE is all too common, but there are ways older adults and their family members can protect themselves.  Here are six protective strategies to include in your game plan.

“If only my dad had gotten his legal documents (financial power of attorney and health care directive) in place . ..his dementia was too far along and he couldn’t legally understand the consequences anymore. We ended up experiencing EFFE and a court appointed guardian." — Adult daughter of dad

Millions of older adults and their families are experiencing EFFE around the world.  Remember that EFFE is elder abuse and it’s not ok. 

Six strategies to prevent EFFE


Additional resources

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Managing someone else's money

Learn more about financial exploitation definitions, statutes, and protective services where you or an older parent lives.

Author: Marlene S. Stum, University of Minnesota Extension specialist and professor of Family Social Science.

Disclaimer: This article provides general research-informed consumer information.  It is not intended to provide legal advice or serve as a substitute for your own legal counsel. Links or references to reputable third-party resources or content are included.  We do not endorse the third-party or guarantee the accuracy of this third-party information. 

Reviewed in 2022

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