Financial exploitation is far more common than most people think, especially of the elderly. There are several types of individuals more at risk for exploitation, according to a recent article from mondaq titled “How An Estate Plan Can Protect Against Financial Exploitation.” These include someone with a cognitive impairment, in poor physical health, who is isolated or has a learning disability.
Exploiters share common characteristics as well. They are often people with mental health illness, substance abusers or those who are financially dependent on the person they are exploiting.
There are warning signs of financial abuse, including:
One way to avoid financial exploitation is with an estate plan prepared in advance with an eye to protection. Instead of relying on a durable power of attorney, a funded revocable trust may provide more robust protection. A revocable trust-based plan includes safeguards like co-trustees and a requirement for independent party consent to any trustee change or amendment.
A support system is also important to protect a person if someone is attempting to exploit them. Estate planning attorneys team up with financial advisors, CPAs and other professionals to create a plan to avoid or end elder abuse. Other steps to be taken include:
Elder financial abuse is an all-too common occurrence but taking proactive steps to safeguard the vulnerable family member is a good strategy to deter or thwart anyone intent on taking advantage of a loved one.
Reference: mondaq (Sep. 23, 2022) “How An Estate Plan Can Protect Against Financial Exploitation.”