Real estate closing attorneys are being advised to watch out for signs of elder financial abuse throughout real estate transactions.

Massachusetts law does not require mandatory reporting, however, because title insurance policies cover losses relating to elder financial abuse issues, closing lawyers are asked to be the first line of defense.

What are the title risks? “Most states permit rescission of a real estate deed or mortgage involving undue influence, duress, incompetency, incapacity, or lack of authority.” Such abuse is often carried out by those in a position of trust relative to the victim, such as: caretakers, family members, friends, attorneys, bank employees, pastors, and doctors or nurses.

Many financial institutions now require closing attorneys and title companies to report suspected abuse to the financial institution. My colleagues should read those lengthy closing instructions a bit more.

In light of these issues, it is critical for title issuing agents to remain vigilant with respect to authority and capacity issues, particularly as they relate to elder and dependent adult abuse concerns.

Are you concerned an elderly friend or relative is being taken advantage of? Contact Priority Law for a free consultation on elder law.

This article was originally published in the Lowell Sun and is for informational purposes only and not to be relied on as legal advice, in any manner.