How can I protect my elderly family member from financial abuse?

On Behalf of | Sep 24, 2021 | Financial Elder Abuse

Your elderly family member uses their savings to provide for their needs, which is why you may be worried that someone will take advantage of their situation and steal from them. Unfortunately, financial abuse is common, and anyone can take your loved one’s money if they are not careful. Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem, and you can take some measures to protect your loved one from this injustice.

Credit cards and joint bank accounts

Your loved one can lose track of their money if they have most of it in cash. Abusers can take the money from their wallets, or worse, threaten your loved one into giving it to them. Because of this, your family member should only use a credit card from now on. Not only will it be easier for them to track their expenses, but they would also be able to report any theft to their bank. You could also open a joint bank account with them to help them manage their financial affairs and keep up with the transactions and withdrawals they make.

Estate conservators or power of attorney

Even with a credit card, abusers can still threaten or cheat the elderly into transferring them some money. If what you want for your family member is full protection, you should consider appointing them an estate conservator. The duties of your loved one’s estate conservator would be to:

  • Manage their finances
  • Locate and control their assets
  • Collect their income
  • Make a budget to show what they can afford
  • Pay their bills
  • Responsibly invest their money
  • Inform the court about the management of their assets

You must keep in mind that conservatorships are for people who can’t make responsible financial decisions anymore. If your loved one is still capable of this, they can opt to sign a power of attorney instead.

Revocable and irrevocable trusts

Your family member can also protect their assets by putting them in a trust. By setting a trust, they will be able to name beneficiaries to the trust, called trustees, who can manage and control the assets within the trust. In a revocable trust, your loved one will still have control of their assets and can change or revoke the trust if they want to. In an irrevocable trust, your family member will need the trustees’ consent to handle the assets within the trust. Both trusts are efficient, but the right trust for your loved one will depend on the scope of protection they need.

Preventing financial abuse

No one deserves to be a victim of financial abuse. However, your loved one could suffer from this injustice if they don’t take the necessary steps to prevent it. If they can still make good decisions, you should talk to them about the possibilities of protection. They can only make the best decision to protect their assets by knowing all the available options.