Your retirement years, ideally, should be spent free of concern about your financial health or potential threats against your assets. Elder abuse is a particularly difficult problem for seniors who have worked hard and created a relatively comfortable nest egg. Many are vulnerable to fraud and other financial abuse at the hands of those intended to protect the very assets they often pilfer. Estate planning helps to protect seniors against such elder abuse.
Seniors Face Many Threats
Senior citizens often face declining health and mobility as they grow older. When mobility and energy are decreased, the need for additional assistance often increases. Many seniors also suffer from health problems, which can make them vulnerable to caretakers – at a facility or in the home. Other threats might come from those with legal access to banking accounts and other assets, such as estate attorneys, accountants, bankers, and designated caregivers.
Elder abuse also can come from unsolicited investment offers, appeals for help for the needy, and downright fraudulent activity, such as identity theft. In many worst-case scenarios, an elder with health issues is rendered incapable of interacting with others and is wholly vulnerable to abuse. When health issues render a senior nearly invalid, the temptation to abuse his or her estate can become overwhelming if estate planning tools are not already in place to protect against the abuse.
Elder Abuse Occurs in Many Ways
When seniors have an estate with just about any sizable amount of cash and assets, it can become a target for elder abuse. That abuse often occurs from known sources, such as trusted financial advisors who pilfer funds, caretakers who illegally access accounts, or even family members who see a chance to get easy money from someone they think they can keep in the dark about any wrongdoing. The more dependent the senior is upon others, the greater the potential for financial abuse. Yet seniors should be able to count on their loved ones and trusted advisors to assist without getting ripped off. Estate planning is a fantastic tool for preventing elder abuse.
How Estate Planning Can Prevent Abuse
Estate planning minimizes potential abuse by very carefully determining who can access which assets and under which conditions. One of the most common forms of estate planning is drafting a will, which determines where and how much of any remaining estate assets are distributed when the senior determines the time is right. Many other tools, though, can help keep estates intact and protected against abuse – including elder abuse.
Designating an accountant and attorney, as well as those who can access and make particular decisions impacting a senior’s estate, also helps to protect against elder abuse. The idea is to ensure all assets are accounted for and inventoried to ensure all expenditures made are legitimate and in line with the senior’s wishes. When elder abuse occurs, the culprit typically looks to enrich himself. Using the right estate tools will ensure that does not happen.
Get an Estate Planning Consultation Today
Whether you are a senior looking to protect your estate and its assets, a young couple looking to grow and protect an estate, or someone with a family member or other loved one in need of estate protection, many great tools exist to get the job done.
Yana Feldman & Associates PLLC has practiced estate law for more than 15 years and has a team of caring and knowledgeable professionals who listen to and respond to each client’s particular needs.
Please feel free to contact us to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help to protect your estate and its assets.