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How estate planning can guard against financial elder abuse

We often discuss the importance of setting up trusts or writing a will early on in life in order to have all your ducks in a row, so to speak. But oftentimes there are individuals that hit their 70s and 80s without any sort of estate plan or long-term care plan in place. In these situations, there is often an adult child or a friend who starts trying to figure out a way to help the aging adult.

The hope is that the individuals who care for the elderly person will be able to become a guardian for their parent or friend and be able to help them out with decisions that relate to their medical care and their financial well-being. Unfortunately, there are some individuals that take advantage of this position of power and use it to their benefit.

Recently, a 62-year-old woman in another state was sentenced to jail time after she apparently stole money from an 82-year-old man. She was the man’s caretaker for quite a long time and she oversaw the man’s rental properties.

According to a news report, the woman skimmed rental checks and overcharged for services and items during a three-year span of time. She also wrote unauthorized checks to herself. Thankfully one of the man’s tenants was able to look at his financial statements and noticed an issue. He told the man to report the financial abuse.

While we all hope that this kind of financial elder abuse rarely happens, the elderly are often easy targets for those who want to take advantage of their situation. Family members who are helping their loved ones set up their estate plan may want to work with an attorney to make sure that anyone involved in helping their loved one with his or her medical and financial needs is a person they can trust.

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