Should financial advisors report possible elder law issues?

Families, aging individuals and lawyers often discuss issues related to the well-being and safe treatment of elders. But what responsibility does the investment industry have for supporting elder law issues? Investment companies and advisors in Delaware and across North America may have a role to play in supporting and protecting their clients from fraud or other abuses.

Elder financial abuse is a serious elder law issue in Delaware and throughout the United States, one which investment firms often see firsthand. Financial exploitation can come from as far away as another country or as close to home as a cohabiting relative. Elders are particularly vulnerable to these crimes as they plan the future of their estates and while also potentially facing issues such as dementia.

Recent interest in this issue comes in part from a growing elderly population, as baby boomers prepare their estates and the country prepares for a massive intergenerational transfer of wealth. Financial advisors are often among the first to see the signs of an aging person being taken advantage of, but depending on the issue at hand, they may be unable to stop the situation. In many cases, guidelines and mandatory reporting rules are nonexistent.

There is a great deal of controversy over whether financial advisors should play a role in protecting elders from financial exploitation. Some believe the autonomy of the individual is important to maintain, while others advocate for conduct protocol in dealing with vulnerable clients. Lawyers are often a good resource to understand the options in order to protect a loved one or seek recourse in elder law issues.

Source:, “Elder financial abuse a pressing issue“, Michael McKiernan, Accessed on March 19, 2018



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