As we age, we sometimes lose our ability to make sound, informed judgments. Some of this can occur due to tragic diseases, like Alzheimer’s, while some of it occurs due to ordinary forgetfulness. When we have serious difficulty managing money, it can become time to enlist family help. Trusts are a good way to help manage your senior loved one’s money, protect them from scams and assist them in maintaining their wealth.
How Can You Protect Your Senior Loved Ones from Financial Problems?
- Start by talking to your loved one about their finances. What are their passwords and usernames? Where do they have bank accounts and credit cards? Do they have a financial planner or investment advisor? Get all of the important information and contact information into a single location so that you can easily access them in the event of an emergency or needing to take over.
- Explore getting a financial power of attorney document created. This is a document that can be revoked or changed at any time, but it does allow you flexibility in case you need to step in to manage your loved one’s finances. It’s also important to convey that you are not trying to be in control, but merely assist with things if necessary. Your power of attorney abilities will be strictly limited to exactly what is contained within the document, so it is not carte blanche to make any financial decision.
- Creating a revocable living trust is an excellent way to control some or all of your loved one’s assets, which can offer additional financial protection and reduce the risk of them being taken advantage of. This gives you the ability to make decisions when your loved one no longer has the ability to do so.
- Always educate the seniors in your life on how to avoid scams. Technology makes it easier than ever to be taken advantage of, and many scammers specifically target older, more vulnerable people who are more likely to have a lack of knowledge. Teach them about the most common scams, like gift card scams
- If you do assume financial responsibility for a parent or relative’s finances, you must avoid mixing your assets together. You also must always act in their best interests.
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