New Tips to Prevent Financial Abuse Through Elderly Estate Planning

Posted on Dec 07, 2013

According to a new report, the final exploitation of seniors is a significant problem in today’s society. A study by MetLife Mature Market Institute and the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse put the dollar amount of losses caused by financial exploitation of seniors at $2.9 billion in 2010. A recent example cited in the report involves a live-in caretaker removing $3,360 per week from the brokerage account of a 103-year-old. The caretaker was also giving herself an annual salary of $165,000. Fortunately, those in charge of administering the estates and affairs of elderly loved ones can take certain steps and use some helpful tools to prevent abuse, including in elderly estate planning. 

Fiduciaries who are in charge of managing these assets may be the trustee of a living trust under an elderly estate plan, the agent under a financial power of attorney, a court-appointed guardian or conservator, or a government appointee for handling income, such as veterans’ benefits. As part of the report, the following are suggestions for ways to keep these assets safe if you serve as a fiduciary over the affairs of a senior:

  • Keep accurate and up-to-date records. This includes tracking all of the money that you receive and spend, and the dates on which the transactions occurred.
  • Store checkbooks and accounting records in a safe place.
  • Avoid conflicts of interest by keeping your own money separate from the funds that you are overseeing.
  • Ensure that your loved one has a valid estate plan, including all ancillary documents. Consider using an Anaheim living trust for even better safeguards of the assets of your loved one.
  • Report any suspected financial abuse right away. 

To learn more about this and other matters, contact an Anaheim trust administration attorney today at (714) 459-5481.

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James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm