Can you imagine a trusted friend, or even one of your children, taking advantage of your finances as you age? Or, alternatively, does the thought of someone stealing from your aging mother or father sound far-fetched? Sadly, in the estate and trust profession, elder financial abuse is more common than you might think, and a large portion of the perpetrators are close to the victim. An estate trust can help.
Because many victims of financial abuse are too embarrassed or scared to come forward, the exact number of cases that occur each year is difficult to ascertain. However, the available information paints a disturbing picture of this growing trend. According to a report published by MetLife, family members, friends, and trusted caregivers make up 34 percent of those perpetrating the abuse.
If you want to prevent yourself or a loved one from financially abuse, here’s what you need to know.
What is elder financial abuse?
Financial abuse committed against the elderly comes in a wide range of guises. The elderly victim might have cognitive impairment because of an age-related illness, which can make him or her susceptible to fraud or theft. The abused might also go along willingly with the wishes of an adult child to make changes to legal documents, such as wills, even though those wishes might not be in the best interest of the victim. Because the elderly often have accumulated wealth over their lives, they are ideal targets to those who would wish to take advantage of them.
Many times the financial abuse leaves the victim destitute, forcing them to go back to work, or worse, leaving them without the care they need to survive.
How can I prevent it?
While there is no guaranteed method of thwarting would be abusers, some courses of action can make theft and fraud more of a challenge. For instance, setting up a trust with several people to oversee its management can make it difficult to make unauthorized payments against the rules laid out in an estate plan. To determine whether a revocable or irrevocable trust is best for your situation and goals, talk to your estate trust attorney today.
Think that someone is taking advantage of you or a loved one? Your attorney can help with that, too. The best thing that you can do for your situation is to speak up. Reach out to someone you can trust to discuss what is going on. If you feel you or your loved one is in danger, don’t hesitate to contact the authorities.
Ready to discuss your estate trust options?
Now that you know what elder financial abuse is and a few strategies to prevent it, take some time to go over your estate trust to make sure that you have the right protections in place. The earlier you start estate planning, the better your chances will be to prevent this terrible trend from affecting you. Call Casal & Moreno today.