As you get older, you will invariably have a new set of concerns, and this is simply part of the human condition. You should be aware of the challenges that are looming so you can take the appropriate preventative measures.
Elder financial abuse is a major problem that a lot of people never think about. It was brought to light back in 2009 when the MetLife Mature Market Institute released a groundbreaking study. Researchers stated that abuse cases cost victims a total of $2.6 billion annually.
They also found that three-fourths of the instances of abuse go unreported, so it is hard to accurately assess the losses. In 2020, Comparitech conducted their own study, and they determined that there are almost 8 million cases of financial fraud each year at a cost of $148 billion.
Why Are Elders Targeted?
There are various different reasons why senior citizens are financially abused with such frequency. One of them is the fact that scam artists of all kinds view them as people with good credit and significant resources.
They know that many elders have some level of cognitive impairment, and they use this to their advantage. Another factor is loneliness because widows and widowers that no longer work can feel isolated, and they long for human contact. As a result, they are more amenable to interacting with strangers.
These are all contributing factors, but about 90 percent of the cases of elder financial fraud are crimes of opportunity. They are perpetrated by family members, paid caregivers, and so-called friends and neighbors that have access to resources.
Family members actually commit 57.9 percent of the fraudulent acts, and in most cases, they are not reported because the elder wants to protect them. In addition to this motivation, they do not want to lose the assistance that is being provided by caregivers.
What can you do to protect yourself from elder financial abuse? The first step is to simply take it seriously and understand the fact that you could be victimized. You should definitely use top-notch internet security and identity theft protection services.
Every person in every family is not perfect, and you should certainly evaluate the propensities of your family members. If you are sure you can trust your children, you can convene a family meeting, and a plan can be created to keep your resources secure.
There is nothing wrong with having a conversation with someone you have just met, but if a person is trying to get too personal too fact, that is definitely a red flag.
On the legal front, you should prepare yourself for possible incapacity. About 13 percent of seniors contract Alzheimer’s disease, and the percentage gets higher as you get older. More than 30 percent of those that are 85 years of age and older have the disease.
You can execute a durable power of attorney for property to empower a handpicked decision-maker to act on your behalf if it becomes necessary. If you have a living trust, you can name a disability trustee to act as the administrator in the event of your capacity.
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The dates are posted on our seminar schedule page, and when you identify the session you would like to attend, follow the instructions to register so we can reserve your spot.
Need Help Now?
If you already know that you should work with a lawyer to put a plan in place, there is no time like the present. You can schedule a consultation at our estate planning offices in Glastonbury or Westport, CT by calling us at 860-548-1000, or you can use our contact form to send us a message.
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