How to Protect Against Senior Citizen Financial Abuse
If you or a family member are increasingly dependent on others due to illness, disability or cognitive impairments, there are some simple but important steps you can take to reduce the chance of financial abuse. The most important step is to have a trusted family member or friend involved in the finances- visiting often, reviewing statements and generally exercising oversight. In this way, someone can notice large checks, unusual ATM withdrawals and missing valuables. It is a good idea to have such a person help with paying bills. The person can make sure the senior isn’t paying bills that he or she should not (and can also make sure that legitimate bills do not slip through the cracks).
A number of credit cards are now available that allow another person to monitor the activity of the cardholder, and to limit both the amount spent and the types of expenditures. One of these is the True Link card. It is also a good idea to limit outside solicitations. You can do this through the National Do Not Call registry (at www.donotcall.gov or 888-382-1222), a service such as Nomorobo that blocks robo-calls, and the Direct Marketing Associations website, which lets you limit the catalogues and credit card offers you receive in the mail (at www.dmachoice.org).
You may also want to talk to your lawyer about creating a power of attorney document and a revocable trust. These can offer protection against financial abuse while providing a number of other benefits as well.
Ms. MacDonald’s practice is limited to Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Administration. Ms. MacDonald maintains her practice in the Santa Clarita Valley at 25115 Avenue Stanford, Suite A-209, Valencia. She can be reached at 661-294-6464.
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