State considers ways to address financial abuse of elderly

As the population ages in Texas and nationwide, state lawmakers are examining ways to curb financial exploitation of the elderly. Proposals could emerge to address the issue in the 85th Texas Legislature’s regular session in 2017.

The House Committee on Investments and Financial Services and the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce are both charged this interim with addressing financial exploitation of the elderly, which Texas generally defines as those 65 and older. Both committees met earlier this year to discuss whether changes are needed to improve protections. Among the possible changes considered was granting discretion and protection from liability to financial institutions and securities broker-dealers for holding transactions or refusing to disburse funds when exploitation of an older client was suspected.

While recent hearings have focused on protective services and consumer protections, concerns about elder financial exploitation also extend to other areas. For example, Texas and other states have policies to help prevent financial abuse by guardians or someone to whom a senior has granted power of attorney. Texas also has established stricter criminal penalties for people who commit fraud or other types of exploitation against the elderly. For more on approaches to combating elder financial abuse at the state level, see the recent House Research Organization focus report, State Examines Ways to Curb Financial Exploitation of Older Texans.

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