As your loved ones age, they may become more vulnerable to abuse from people they trust. Financial abuse is one form of mistreatment that can violate privacy, damage reputations and threaten financial security.
Protecting your loved one’s against this type of abuse requires education and support.
Teach your aging family members about what financial abuse looks like and sounds like. Encourage them to never provide personal or financial information to another person who lacks authorization to obtain such data. Tell them not to sign suspicious documents or loan money to people who claim to collect debts on behalf of someone else.
Encourage your family members to advocate for their financial security. Tell them to ask for identification from anyone asking for their money. Teach them how to periodically check their bank accounts or other financial assets to verify that everything looks right. This practice can often catch fraudulent activity before it threatens financial security.
Protecting elderly loved ones from financial fraud can be a family effort. Group discussions can help everyone reach a satisfactory agreement about who will take charge for financial affairs when the person in question can no longer make independent decisions. According to Consumer Reports, having more than one power of attorney is one way for families to better protect their loved ones from fraud. Then, both parties can act together or separately on decisions and keep each other accountable for responsible and honest practices.
Staying involved in the financial affairs of your aging loved ones can help you catch suspicious activity early on. You can also help align financial decisions with beneficiary distributions to protect the integrity of any estate planning efforts.