As we age, it’s essential to consider how we can protect our finances and assets from being exploited by those who may take advantage of our vulnerability.
Sadly, financial elder abuse is becoming increasingly common, and it can take many forms, from fraudulent telemarketing schemes to caregivers stealing from their charges.
One of the best ways to safeguard against financial elder abuse is to create an estate plan that outlines your wishes and sets up a system of checks and balances to ensure that your assets are used according to your intentions.
Here are a few ways an estate plan can help prevent financial elder abuse:
Create a Living Trust: A living trust is a legal document that allows you to transfer ownership of your assets to a trust that is managed by a trustee. By creating a living trust, you can ensure that your assets are managed properly during your incapacity, and that they’re distributed according to your wishes upon your passing.
Designate a Trustworthy Trustee: When you create an estate plan, you’ll need to choose a trustee to manage your assets during your incapacity, as well as after you pass away. This person should be someone you trust implicitly, as they will be responsible for ensuring that your trust assets are used for your care during your incapacity, as you would have wanted, and that your remaining assets are distributed according to your wishes after your passing. If you don’t choose a trustee or choose someone who is untrustworthy, your assets could end up in the wrong hands.
Establish a Durable Power of attorney: A durable power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone you trust to make financial decisions for assets not funded to your trust, if you become incapacitated. Appointing someone you trust as your agent, is the first step to take to ensure that your finances are managed properly if you’re unable to do so yourself.
Stay informed: Finally, it’s important to stay informed about the signs of financial elder abuse. If you suspect that someone is taking advantage of you or a loved one, you should report it immediately. By staying informed, you can take steps to protect yourself and prevent financial elder abuse from happening in the first place.
If you would like a free consultation for yourself or your loved ones about whether their estate plan includes protections from financial elder abuse, call us at (916) 231-0688 or email us email@example.com.