What Kind of Estate Plan Protects from Financial Exploitation?

elder in wheelchair

Elder financial abuse may occur when a trusted individual (i.e., at-home caregiver, family member, etc). takes advantage of an elder’s vulnerability and decides to illegally use or otherwise unfairly benefit from their hard-earned money, property, and other monetary resources. Unfortunately, such abuse is quite prevalent, with approximately 42 out of 1,000 New Yorkers being affected at least once in their lifetime. Rest assured, there are actions you may take to protect your elder from such financial exploitation, namely by helping them establish a comprehensive estate plan. Continue reading to learn what kind of estate plan helps protect against financial exploitation and how an experienced Putnam County estate planning attorney at the Law Office of Andres D. Gil, PLLC can help you execute such documents.

What are the most common signs of elder financial abuse?

Before all else, you must confirm that your elder has not been already made the victim of financial abuse. The most common signs that you must look out for include the following:

  • You notice that your elder has signed a check or financial document that is inconsistent with their usual signature.
  • You notice that your elder has made numerous, large withdrawals from their accounts that are inconsistent with their usual banking habits.
  • You notice that your elder is unable to answer simple questions about why they made certain bank transactions, what happened to their missing funds, etc.
  • You notice that your elder has recently made unusual changes in their deeds, property titles, bank account beneficiaries, estate plan beneficiaries, etc.

What is the most useful kind of estate plan that protects from financial exploitation?

Even if you do not suspect that your elder is currently the victim of financial exploitation, you must work to ensure that this does not happen down the road. This is especially important if your elder ever reaches a point where they are, unfortunately, mentally incapacitated and overall unable to handle their financial matters independently.

For this, the most useful estate plan that you may establish for your elder entails a revocable trust and a durable power of attorney. What’s more, you may step up and volunteer yourself to be your elder’s trustee and agent. In these roles, you may protect your elder from financial exploitation in the following ways:

  • As the trustee of your elder’s revocable trust, you may:
    • Safeguard your elder’s assets from being taken by any other party (i.e., bankruptcies, civil lawsuits, etc).
    • Manage your elder’s assets that they place into the trust.
    • Distribute your elder’s assets upon their passing following their disclosed instructions.
  • As the agent of your elder’s durable power of attorney, you may:
    • Protect your elder from being tricked by individuals impersonating tax or credit collectors.
    • Make financial decisions on your elder’s behalf (i.e., selling property, writing checks, etc).
    • Handle your elder’s financial matters following the capabilities they authorized.

You must not stand idly by if you believe that you or a loved one is being financially exploited. Rather, you must retain the services of a skilled Putnam County estate planning attorney. Contact the Law Office of Andres D. Gil, PLLC today.

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