OSCPA staff report
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services published a report for financial service professionals on the new requirement to report suspected elder abuse.
The requirement became effective Saturday, Sept. 29. CPAs, real estate agents, bank employees, financial planners and notary publics join a long list of professions with a similar requirement.
The law requires specific individuals who, having reasonable cause to think an older adult is being abused, neglected or exploited – or is in a condition resulting from such treatment – to immediately report the belief to the county department of job and family services. In addition to physical and behavioral signs, CPAs should be on the lookout for financial indicators such as sudden and unexplained changes in banking practices, the inclusion of additional names on an elder’s bank signature card and abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents.
Anyone in Ohio can report possible elder abuse 24/7 by calling 1-855-OHIO-APS or by contacting the nearest county department of job and family services. Physical proof or other evidence is not required. Reports are not subject to public records laws, and Ohio law protects any person who makes such a report from civil or criminal liability unless the person commits perjury during testimony or for situations where bad faith or malicious intent are involved.
CPAs should file a report if they have reasonable cause to suspect an elderly person is being abused. If mandatory reporters fail to report possible abuse, they could face fines of up to $500. There are no exceptions for professional relationships.
Employers should note the act also requires each entity that employs or is responsible for licensing or regulating mandatory reporters of abuse, neglect or exploitation of older adults ensure those individuals have access to ODJFS educational materials.
LEARN MORE: Listen Up! You Are Now a Mandatory Reporter of Elder Abuse
Join Erin C. Eurenius, Esq. CPA, senior associate attorney at Butcher Elder Law as she defines elder abuse, explains how to identify indicators, and examines current scams and forms of financial exploitation. She'll inform attendees about CPAs' legal responsibilities for reporting elder abuse and walk them through how to report.