Given the growing number of seniors, the prevalence of diminished capacity associated with aging, and the concentration of wealth among elderly Baby Boomers, we're likely to see a serious surge in the number of cases involving undue influence in the coming years. This kind of elder abuse can disastrously affect your aging parents' and other senior relatives' estate planning. Be aware, educated, and empowered in knowing what risks are for your elderly loved ones—and for your future inheritance.
Should you become incapacitated without any planning in place, your family should apply to the court for guardianship. In most cases, the court appoints a family member as guardian, but this isn't always the case. If you have no living family members, or those you do have are unwilling to serve or deemed unsuitable by the court, a professional guardian would be appointed. Here's how you can protect yourself in the event of your incapacity using proactive estate planning.
The Netflix movie I Care a Lot provides a dark, violent, and somewhat comedic take on the real-life and not-at-all funny dangers of the legal (and sometimes corrupt) guardianship system. This two-part series discusses how the movie depicts such abuses, how this can happen in real life, and what you can do to prevent something similar from happening to you or your loved ones using proactive estate planning and our Family Wealth Planning process. Learn more here!
Amid COVID-19, in addition to providing aid for individuals and businesses, the CARES Act increases accessibility to funds and loans from certain retirement plans and accounts. Despite the various new options available under the CARES Act, it is critically important that you carefully consider whether distributions should be taken from any accounts. The tax implications of these options vary, and they should be acted upon only after careful consideration base on your personal goals and capacity.
Financial abuse of the elderly is on the rise and it is an unfortunate fact that predators emerge during times of upheaval to take advantage of people. That means the COVID-19 pandemic can leave your parents vulnerable in more ways than one. Even when things go back to normal, this chronic problem of financial exploitation will still be a risk so it is very important to take extra steps and educate your parents about the possible risks it may bring to their wealth and your future inheritance.
Being left in the hands of unscrupulous guardians appointed by the court can be the most frightening aspect for you in the event you become incapacitated, given that you may have a loving and caring family members, but are unable to take care of you. Putting up a plan in place that clearly states all your wishes and consent prevents such from happening and ensures that the individual of your choice can make legal decisions on your behalf according to how you wanted them to be.
Not having proper planning vehicles in place leaves not just you but also your senior loved ones vulnerable to exploitation and court-ordered guardianship should they become incapacitated caused by illness or injury. With no government agency tasked with preventing abuse by professional guardians, it’s up to you to protect yourself and your loved ones through proactive estate planning. Read here to know more.
It can be hard for elderly relatives to take care of themselves and sometimes are taken advantage of. Elderly need help with daily functions and finances so they are likely to befriend someone that is trying to help them without realizing they are being financially abused. Here are some red flags of financial abuse that you should be on the lookout for if you are caring for an elderly loved one.