PROTECT YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS FROM FINANCIAL ELDER ABUSE
Although it may not be the most pleasant topic, discussing finances with aging family members is crucial. Even if everything is fine now, your family may need assistance managing their money in the future to keep up with expenses and bills.
Unfortunately, the reality is that people do become more vulnerable as they age. Scam artists could target their money and close family members have been found to go after cash if they believe it is easy to attain.
Below are a few ways you can help shield your family:
Consider a power of attorney – A power of attorney is a legal document which appoints another person to handle your affairs if you are unable to do so yourself. For instance, if your grandparents or aging parents are afraid that they will reach a point where they can no longer handle their own finances properly, someone will need to do it for them. A power of attorney is a legal way to transfer power and place their financial decision-making into the hands of another person.
Be certain that the person signing the power of attorney is trustworthy and responsible. They will be in charge of not only their own finances, but someone else’s finances as well.
Communication is key – It is very important to understand what the elder members’ needs are in order to ensure that their assets are managed properly. Be sure to get clarification, if possible, on what they want done with their money.
It may also be wise to get other relevant family members involved to establish a plan together. Ensuring that all family members are on the same page can prevent disputes later on. Once the initial plan is created, it is important to keep the aging family member in the loop as time goes by.
Keep an eye out for scams – Even healthy aging family members are at risk for elder scams. One of the most popular targets for criminals who believe they can take advantage of vulnerable individuals are the elderly.
Be sure to watch how they spend their money. Recommend that they do not give anything to strangers who may call, write, email, or text requesting help or demanding payment for a supposed debt.
You can also help by reminding aging family members to not provide any personal information to a stranger including their date of birth, PIN numbers, Social Security number, account numbers, or bank account login information.
Do you suspect fraud? – In the event that you believe that an elderly family member has been the victim of fraud, call us at (256) 237-2113 immediately so that we can take action to protect their accounts. There should also be a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission and you should notify your local police department. We are always here to answer any questions you may have.