The financial resources of an elderly loved one are often limited. Even so, another family member or someone who claims to be a friend might still attempt to take advantage of an aging Delaware resident’s kindness or compromised mental state for personal financial gain. Elder law does provide ways to help protect his or her assets and income from those who would prey on a vulnerable individual.

First, creating an estate plan could help keep financial predators at bay. Every Delaware adult needs at least a will, a health care power of attorney and a financial power of attorney. It might also provide extra protection to have a living trust, which holds all of an individual’s assets during life. The right choice of a person to serve as executor, attorney-in-fact and/or trustee could provide an elderly loved one with financial protection. These roles need to be filled with someone — or different people — who can be trusted to manage an individual’s affairs with his or her best interests in mind.

A concerned family member might also be added to any financial accounts in order to watch for any unusual activity. Withdrawing large amounts of money would be a red flag that something is not right. Keep an eye on the individual’s estate plan for any seemingly sudden changes in beneficiaries — especially if beloved family members are being removed from the plan and new beneficiaries are added. 

These are just some of the steps to take in order to protect an elderly loved one from being taken advantage of financially. An elder law attorney might be able to offer additional suggestions and help create an estate plan that provides the most protection possible. Aging family members more than likely spent a good portion of their lives accumulating what they now have, and it should be protected so that it can be used to help them be comfortable and happy during their retirement years. No one should have the right or ability to take that away.

Source: fool.com, “Protect Your Elderly Loved Ones From Financial Abuse“, Mark Cussen, Feb. 15, 2017