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How can I protect someone from financial abuse?

On Behalf of | Oct 27, 2020 | Elder Law

As your senior loved ones get older, it is natural to have concerns about their health and well-being. You may also be concerned about their finances, especially if they are experiencing symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Unfortunately, older adults are often more likely to fall victim to financial abuse, by friends, caregivers, or even their own family. Consumer Reports explains a few ways you can safeguard aging loved ones and ensure their finances remain protected.

Act as a money manager

If your elderly relatives have a lot of financial accounts, such as savings and checking accounts, IRAs, or credit cards, keeping track of them all can be complicated. You can assist them by looking for ways to combine separate accounts when possible. You can also help by organizing financial records, or creating an easy-to-understand spreadsheet that lists accounts, debits, and credits.

Set up a power of attorney

A power of attorney give a person authority over another’s finances. It is usually granted when a person’s decision-making capacity is impacted by illness or injury. You can act on behalf of your loved one, or help them find a suitable representative. The person should be trustworthy, financially responsible, and well-organized. You can also help your relative choose more than one person so no one holds too much authority.

Have an honest discussion about finances

Even if the senior is not ready to name a power of attorney, just having a conversation about finances can be helpful. About once or twice a month, check in with your family member about things like bill pay, savings, and other issues. Do not offer any judgement, which might make them reluctant to discuss matters with you in the future. Being kind and compassionate ensures they will turn to you when in need of help.