December 2014 Archives

Estate Planning and Elder Abuse

One type of elder abuse is in the area of financial planning - specifically estate planning. This can include wills, trusts, power of attorney documents, life insurance beneficiaries and other important parts of an elderly person's estate. Any or all of these could be at risk if a manipulative individual succeeds at exerting "undue influence" over a vulnerable person.

Common Financial Scams of the Elderly

Telemarketing Fraud: According to the US Dept. of Justice, telemarketing fraud accounts for $40 billion in fake transactions per year - 80% of the victims are 50 and older! These scams are perpetrated by phone calls promising lottery winnings, discount sales of bogus goods and services, 'free trips,' investment opportunities, and other deals that are literally 'too good to be true.'

How to avoid power of attorney elder abuse

Often elderly individuals need assistance managing their affairs, specifically financial matters. This can be accomplished by a "power of attorney" document, which gives one person (the agent) the written legal authorization to act for another (the principal). Clearly this requires choosing an agent who will make all decisions and take all actions with loyalty and the utmost good faith.

Elder Abuse - Power of Attorney Scams

The ABA defines a power of attorney as "a written document in which a competent adult individual (the "principal") appoints another competent adult individual (the "attorney-in-fact" [or "agent"]) to act on the principal's behalf. In general, an attorney-in-fact [agent] may perform any legal function or task which the principal has a legal right to do for him/herself."