How does estate planning help protect vulnerable adults from financial exploitation?

older man talking to another person

Many cultures and communities hold their elders in high regard, doing everything possible to show respect and honor these individuals. However, some may take advantage of older adults and those who are more vulnerable by financially exploiting them to take advantage of them. As such, meeting with Pennsylvania estate planning attorneys to explore your estate planning options to protect yourself in the event you become incapacitated is critical. The following blog explores what you should know about financial exploitation so you can best protect yourself.

Who is at risk for financial exploitation?

Unfortunately, some adults are more vulnerable to being taken advantage of. Understanding the warning signs can help you better prepare your estate plan to protect these at-risk individuals. The following are examples of adults who could be taken advantage of by others:

  • Those with a learning disability
  • Those who are isolated from family and friends
  • Those who have physical ailments
  • Those with cognitive impairments

Many times, this exploration is perpetrated by someone close to the victim, like a friend, family member, or caregiver, because they have close access to the victim and their personal information. When someone financially exploits an older individual, it can cause a myriad of issues, as the victim’s savings can be depleted, leaving them unable to pay for medical care.

Common examples of financial exploitation that impact vulnerable adults include theft of money, fraudulent investment scams, and someone in a fiduciary position taking advantage of the adult by providing incorrect or untruthful information and advice.

How can I minimize the risks?

If you are worried about being financially exploited in your old age, taking the necessary steps to protect yourself is critical. The most important thing you can do is create an estate plan to help ensure your financial wishes are honored and your hard-earned funds are cared for.

Generally, one of the most beneficial estate planning documents you can create to help protect you in the event you become vulnerable is a revocable living trust. This document helps protect older adults, as the assets are held in the trust and, therefore, are technically not under your ownership.

You can also create a power of attorney, as it allows you to decide who will make financial and legal decisions for you in the event you become incapacitated and are unable to do so yourself. This ensures you can choose someone you trust to make these choices.

If I’m ready to create an estate plan, what should I do?

If you are ready to begin planning your estate, it’s in your best interest to connect with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to take care of these matters. Taking the time to prepare your estate plan under the guidance of a lawyer gives you the best opportunity to ensure your estate plan accurately represents your wishes.

At Friedman Schuman, we understand how complex and overwhelming these matters can be, which is why our team is ready to assist you through this process. Connect with a member of our dedicated firm today to discuss your unique circumstances.

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