Financial exploitation can rob you of the assets you worked so hard to acquire. It may leave you feeling vulnerable, anxious and hopeless.
When you have a power of attorney you entrust to represent you financially, you need a superior level of trust in his or her ability to have integrity. Knowing some strategies for preventing POA fraud may help you implement protections before it is too late.
Do your research
Relying on just anyone to handle your financial affairs is a very risky move. According to Consumer Reports, some startling facts about financial abuse against elders includes the following:
- Financial abuse is the most common form of elder abuse
- Most often, perpetrators are family members or someone known to the victim
- Only 1 in 44 elders report financial fraud
So, when making a POA selection, do not choose someone simply because you know them. Do your research. Look for indications that the person you consider has shown financial responsibility. Look for characteristics including integrity, honesty and reliability.
The way you write provisions for legal documents, giving permission for a POA to handle your affairs, can dictate the amount of control you relinquish. As such, spend adequate time deciding the process whereby you will allow someone else to make your financial decisions. For example, you may set a requirement for an independent second agent to review the transferal or payment of sums of money that exceed a specified amount. You can also forbid your POA from gifting money.
An attorney can help you identify the most effective strategies for managing your money as you age. You can rely on professional legal guidance as you delegate responsibilities to your power of attorney. This can provide the peace of mind that the person you select will make honorable decisions on your behalf.