Bernice Napach, a senior writer at ThinkAdvisor, recently wrote about “How Seniors and Their Adult Children Can Prevent Elder Financial Abuse.” She writes that it is estimated that one in five seniors are a victim of financial abuse of about $37 billion a year. But, most senior adults have not talked with their children about how they manage their resources. ‘When you don’t have the conversation, seniors are more vulnerable,’ said Desari Mueller, a consultant for Wells Fargo Advisors.
Most seniors and their children believe that a stranger will take advantage of an elder. The sad truth is that two-thirds is by family, friends or trusted contacts according to a Jewish Council for the Aging study.
Wells Fargo Media suggests eight items seniors should complete for their later years:
- Organize documents and passwords
- Discuss with the family who will manage affairs
- Discuss inheritance plans with family
- Have a will
- Have an advance health care directive
- Have a power of attorney for health care
- Have a power of attorney for financial matters
- Tell the family how much money there is
A further set of protections:
- Direct deposit so others can’t cash checks
- Annual credit report checks
- Automatic bill pay so other aren’t writing checks
- Refuse to sign documents unless others have reviewed them
- “Trusted Contact” on file at financial firm/bank
- Checks or credit cards locked in cabinets
- Alerts of large transactions sent to others
- Copies of financial statements sent to others
The local church is positioned help seniors be good stewards of their resources and prevent elder financial abuse. Now is a good time to plan an awareness event for seniors and their families.