“Unfortunately, elder financial abuse is a serious problem in the United States. According to The True Link Report on Elder Finance Abuse 2015, more than $36 billion is stolen each year from elders.”
Research shows that all seniors run the risk of financial manipulation. However, a recent study showed that a significant number of victims were younger seniors, college-educated and not living in isolation. They lost more to abuse than seniors who were older, alone and less educated.
tucson.com’s recent article, “Prevent Elder Financial Abuse,” explains that research shows that family members are most often abusers of seniors. It could be a widow or widower with some wealth with a relative who asks for a “loan” to help them, when they’re in financial difficulty or to start a new business. However, in many cases, the loan isn’t repaid, the business fails, or the investment is a scam. The senior often has no remedy. Many states have laws against the misuse of a position of trust with a senior that harms them. It’s known as “undue influence.”
It is vital that every elderly individual with assets name, as part of their estate planning, a trusted person to serve as durable power of attorney for finances. This agent should be accountable to others, such as the estate planning attorney, elder law attorney, or other family members periodically, to make certain that there’s transparency in the spending of assets.
Research shows that one in three people 85 or older have Alzheimer’s, and there’s no cure.
Unfortunately, many seniors who develop Alzheimer’s don’t see that they’re slipping at the onset of the disease. Some are also in denial and worry about giving up control over their money and being placed in a nursing home. There is no way to tell how we’ll age, so we must take steps to protect ourselves and others, in the event of incapacity for financial matters. One way to do this, is by naming a trusted agent as a designated power of attorney for finances.
Here are a few other tips:
- Sign an advance health care directive.
- Create a list of bank accounts, passwords, investment records, financial records and contacts.
- Give written permission to your family to speak with your lawyer, accountant and financial planner.
- Create a list of all insurance policies.
- Make a copy of your mortgage statement and any other loans, financial statements and bank accounts.
- Create a list of your physicians and prescriptions and provide written permission for your family to speak with your healthcare providers.
- Memorialize your wishes for burial or disposition of your remains.
- Hold a family meeting to go over these topics.
Reference: tucson.com (December 2, 2019) “Prevent Elder Financial Abuse”