As California residents grow older, they usually rely on the support and counsel of family members, friends, or professionals that they come to know and trust. Unfortunately, not every confidant has the best interests of a senior friend or relative in mind. Some people take advantage of a senior by stealing from him or her, sometimes by falsifying documents to gain access to the senior’s assets with a forged signature.

The National Institute of Aging (NIH) describes several instances of financial abuse, some of which involve stealing money from a victim. One of the ways a malicious party may take advantage of an elderly person is to forge the signature of the senior. The abuser may forge checks to withdraw money from the senior’s account or change beneficiary designations on the senior’s will or life insurance policy to acquire assets.

A person can forge a signature in a number of ways. Science Direct explains that a person may forge a signature by taking an authentic signature and tracing over it. If an abuser has access to the documents of a senior, it would not be hard to acquire a copy of a legitimate signature. A forger may also attempt to copy a signature by studying it and trying to copy it.

Forgery is not always easy to determine, but it is possible. A traced signature may be found out if the handwriting looks like an exact copy of an authentic signature. A person who tries to simulate a signature may still give off signs in the handwriting that the signature does not belong to the senior. And sometimes a forged signature is easy to spot because it does not appear much like the senior’s handwriting at all.

Seeking the advice of legal professional may provide further insight if you suspect a family member is being abused in this way. Other forms of elder abuse, such as emotional or physical problems, may alert you that a senior relative is being abused and that steps should be taken to correct it.