Estate Planning The Ultimate Protection Against Financial Exploitation

Author

Rocky Mountain Elder Law

Posted on

Oct 04, 2022

Book/Edition

Colorado - Denver Metro

Exploitation of older people is sadly common and financial exploitation is very damaging to its victims. According to the National Council on Ageing it costs victims as much as $36.5 billion per year. It can also be difficult to tackle because financial elder abuse is often done by those the victim trusts.

However, one of the most powerful ways to fight against it and pre-empt it is thorough estate planning. Many people think about estate planning as something that only matters after you are dead, but in fact, it can also be useful to safeguard you while you’re still alive.

A Will

  • What it is: A Will lays out what you want to happen with regards to property and assets after you die. If you don’t have one, your wishes might not be honored. Your will covers those assets that are titled in your name at your death and for which there is not already a designated beneficiary. Some assets are not affected by your will, and they include: bank accounts, retirement plans such as a 401(k) or IRA, life insurance, or any other asset for which there is already a named beneficiary. However, a Will only come into play once you’ve passed away, so the Powers of Attorney (below) are the most important documents while you’re still alive.
  • How it helps against exploitation: During the process of writing a will, we uncover who owns what and can ensure that the right assets go to the right people when you die. This reduces the opportunity for confusion and financial abuse down the line and no assets get forgotten.

Durable Financial Power of Attorney

  • What it is: A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows someone else (an agent) to act on your (the principal’s) behalf. A financial Power of Attorney pertains solely to managing your financial affairs. This could include paying your taxes, managing your bank accounts and property, or paying your bills. A durable Power of Attorney contains a durable clause that maintains the Power of Attorney after you become incapacitated. In Colorado, the Uniform Durable Power of Attorney Act (UPOA), presumes that unless stated, a power of attorney is durable in nature and will continue if the principal becomes incapacitated.
  • How it helps against exploitation: A Power of Attorney means that only a trusted person can look after your financial accounts, manage legal matters, and even business interests. Having a Power of Attorney in place means that the right people can make decisions on your behalf, and there is less risk of someone trying to take advantage of you.

Being the agent for a Power of Attorney is a serious matter, with legal implications for the agent. Part of this responsibility is ensuring that the principal of the Power of Attorney is well looked-after. Unfortunately, sometimes people do abuse the power of the Power of Attorney and so choosing the right person is critical.

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Local Services By This Author

Rocky Mountain Elder Law

Probate 651 Garrison Street, Lakewood, Colorado, 80215

Rocky Mountain Elder Law is passionate about protection and justice for vulnerable people. Attorney Kate Silburn specializes in helping older and disabled people who may be at risk of, or who have experienced, some kind of exploitation.She uses all the tools at her disposal to fight for them, including estate planning, probate, probate litigation, and guardianships and conservatorships.Kates credentials of a Masters of Divinity and Juris Doctor, as well as her role as a hospice chaplain, give her unique insight into the challenges facing older people at the end of their lives. She has seen what happens when the right protections are not in place and is dedicated to advocating for vulnerable people.Rocky Mountain Elder Law LLC serves Colorado's Front Range and is available to support families in the Denver Metro area.Giving families peace of mind by protecting their legacy

Rocky Mountain Elder Law

Elder Law 651 Garrison Street, Lakewood, Colorado, 80215

Rocky Mountain Elder Law is passionate about protection and justice for vulnerable people. Attorney Kate Silburn specializes in helping older and disabled people who may be at risk of, or who have experienced, some kind of exploitation. She uses all the tools at her disposal to fight for them, including estate planning, probate, probate litigation, and guardianships and conservatorships. Kate's credentials of a Masters of Divinity and Juris Doctor, as well as her role as a hospice chaplain, give her unique insight into the challenges facing older people at the end of their lives. She has seen what happens when the right protections are not in place and is dedicated to advocating for vulnerable people. Rocky Mountain Elder Law LLC serves Colorado's Front Range and is available to support families in the Denver Metro area. "Giving families peace of mind by protecting their legacy".