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Estate Planning Can Prevent Elder Abuse

Holding Hands with Elderly PatientIn “Estate Planning: Unpleasant surprises and the neglected, “ Lake County News outlines some of the ways that dishonest people can take advantage of the elderly, including:

  • Gaining an elderly person’s trust and taking over  that person’s finances
  • Convincing an elderly person to make the fraudster a death beneficiary
  • Marrying the elderly person in order to have a legal covering as they steal

In 2015, Healthline reported on marrying seniors for their money as a growing kind of elder abuse, noting that this kind of fraud was committed against both men and women. These so-called “Sweetheart Scams” can involve marriage or just a romantic involvement where the fraudster gets the elderly person to buy them things and give them money.

And then there are times when no one is perpetrating fraud; just simple neglect can cause roadblocks when important papers are lost and no one, least of all an elderly person who is incapacitated, knows how to find them.

However, there are ways to prevent both elder abuse and neglect. We ourselves can combat elder abuse by engaging in estate planning and choosing someone we trust to administer our financial affairs before we reach a point where we can no longer do so. And we can prevent elder abuse by staying involved with older relatives.  This can be difficult if we live far away but it is worth it. Even when we don’t live far away, we can get caught up in our own lives and not make time for older relatives. You don’t want to wait until someone else comes along and commits fraud to decide it is time to check up on elderly relatives. It is a good investment of your time to keep up with elderly relatives so they don’t fall prey to fraud and so you can maintain a connection with them.