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Financial abuse a serious elder law problem

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2019 | Elder Law

Planning for end-of-life needs is an important part of estate planning that many people in Lake Charles take quite seriously. Living wills and powers of attorney are common tools for this job. While most people do their best to make the most appropriate choices for their powers of attorney, things do not always turn out as they would hope. Friends and family members taking advantage of their powers of attorney privileges is unfortunately not an uncommon problem in elder law.

Many people use powers of attorney to round out their estate plans, giving specific individuals the legal right to make medical or financial decisions on their behalf. While this is incredibly useful should a person become incapacitated or need help managing their finances, selecting the wrong individual can be costly. A 2013 MetLife survey found that financial abuse of the elderly comes out to about $2.9 billion. This type of financial abuse often involves the person with the power of attorney privileges syphoning off funds for his or her own use, often leaving the loved one without the financial means for self-support. 

Choosing the right person to make financial decisions is essential. When considering whether to give someone a power of attorney, individuals should ask themselves whether the other person is truly trustworthy. Giving a power of attorney to someone simply because the individual is the eldest child or oldest friend is not necessarily a good system to go by. Individuals with a history of financial troubles or lapses in responsibility might also be a poor choice.

While the statistics on financial abuse in the elder law realm might seem scary, it is not a reason to delay putting important protections in place. If a person in Lake Charles becomes incapacitated and they do not have things like powers of attorney or living wills, then their finances and medical well-being could be up in the air. However, moving forward with caution when making important decisions is usually well-advised.