When you think of scams to exploit the elderly, what comes to mind? Are you thinking of those dubious, at best, emails from a Nigerian prince too? Yeah, here’s the thing. The ways that older adults – and in some cases younger adults with certain mental impairments – can be financially exploited are far more nuanced than that. Katherine Pearson, a Professor of Law at Pennsylvania State University’s Dickinson School of Law, was the only academic appointed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s task force to enhance protections for the elderly in Pennsylvania in 2014.

Among the major successes that came from the task force’s work was a database that allows the courts in Pennsylvania to know how many guardianships there are, how many cases a professional guardian is managing, and other critical data points that allow for more effective oversight. With that data, it is easier to spot problems and identify potential financial abuse of the elderly. One recommendation that has not gone into effect, that appears to be common sense but has some technical and political hurdles, is a requirement to take a criminal background check to be a professional guardian. You will have to listen to the podcast to hear about those hurdles.

You can learn more about Professor Katherine Pearson on her Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law faculty page. You can also find Professor Pearson’s published works here. You can also keep up with Professor Pearson – and her colleague, Professor Rebecca Morgan at Stetson Law – on Elder Law Prof Blog, where they both write on elder law issues.

If you enjoyed this week’s episode of The CAP⋅impact Podcast with Professor Pearson, please share it with a friend or colleague. You can also help more people find the show by subscribing to The CAP⋅impact Podcast on Apple Podcasts – or wherever you listen to podcasts – and leave the show a 5-star review.

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