Estate Planning Protects Against Elder Abuse

Posted On July 18, 2023

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.

Protect your loved ones from elder abuse and secure their assets by consulting with a skilled New York estate planning attorney. At New York Legacy Lawyers, our experienced attorneys can assist you in creating thorough estate plans that safeguard your family’s wealth, ensure the proper distribution of assets, and provide crucial legal documentation to prevent elder abuse. Call us at (718) 713-8080 to schedule a consultation and gain peace of mind knowing that your family’s well-being is in capable hands.

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.

Elder Law and Estate Planning

Elder law and estate planning have distinct roles that are equally vital. The primary distinction lies in their respective focuses: elder law aims to safeguard your assets during your lifetime, while estate planning concentrates on the disposition of your assets after your passing.

Elder law planning prioritizes the well-being of seniors, aiming to ensure their longevity, health, and financial security. It entails proactive measures to anticipate future medical requirements, particularly long-term care. Elder law attorneys can assist in devising a strategy to finance future care while preserving a portion of your assets. They can also help you qualify for Medicaid or other benefits that cover long-term care expenses. Furthermore, elder law safeguards against elder abuse or exploitation during aging or incapacitation. Lastly, it encompasses assistance with guardianship and conservatorship arrangements, if necessary.

In contrast, estate planning is relevant for individuals of all ages. Estate planning attorneys assist in determining the fate of your assets upon your demise. They utilize wills and trusts to ensure the fulfillment of your desires once you’re no longer present. Your estate plan can also encompass designating guardians for your minor children or making provisions for your pets. Additionally, estate planners provide assistance in avoiding probate proceedings and reducing estate taxes.

Given that circumstances change over time, it is important to regularly review and update estate plans. Changes such as marriages, divorces, births, deaths, and financial situations may require adjustments to your estate plan.

Discover the invaluable support and guidance a New York estate planning attorney can offer in the realms of elder law and estate planning. At New York Legacy Lawyers, our experienced attorneys are well-versed in the intricate landscape of legal matters affecting seniors, ranging from safeguarding assets and Medicaid planning to addressing long-term care and guardianship concerns. Take proactive steps to protect your legacy and secure your family’s future by scheduling a consultation with our dedicated attorneys today.

Threat Types of Abuse Prevention Methods
Caretakers Illegal access to accounts, physical abuse, emotional abuse Designate trusted individuals for account access, regular monitoring and reporting, establish clear boundaries and expectations
Trusted Advisors Pilfering funds, mismanagement of assets Conduct background checks and due diligence, regular audits and oversight
Family Members Exploitation of vulnerability, financial manipulation, fraud and identity theft Establish a comprehensive estate plan, designate specific powers of attorney, educate seniors about common scams and risks

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.