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Can we protect seniors from financial abuse?

| Nov 20, 2020 | Elder Law |

Most seniors spend the majority of their adult lives in school and working so they can retire comfortably. Unfortunately, health deteriorates as people get older. In some cases, your loved ones may lose autonomy over finances and other key aspects of their lives. The persons in charge often abuse this power to enrich themselves at the expense of not just your loved ones but you and other heirs.

So, what can you do to ensure your loved one never suffers from financial abuse? No foolproof preventative measure exists, but some actions may help to make it difficult for financial abusers to proceed undetected.

Choose caretakers

CNBC advises seniors and their loved ones to name caretakers while seniors still have the mental and legal capacity to do so. This may involve deciding who handles specific financial aspects, such as investments or paying bills. Doing this early enough may help prevent total dependency on strangers to manage money.

Create revocable trusts

Another task seniors may take on while still able to do so is the creation of revocable trusts. Appointing a family member or other person as co-trustee may provide additional financial protection. The co-trustee may then have access to finances to handle financial obligations or audit transactions, if necessary.

Remain vigilant

Successful criminals do not set off alarm bells when they care for your loved one. They greet you politely and charm their way into your trust. No matter how much you trust an appointed guardian or how nice they may appear, keep an eye on them and your loved one’s finances.

Family members often believe that keeping the care-taking inside the family may eliminate the risk of financial abuse. This is not true. Review the activities of anyone responsible for your loved one’s finances.

 

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