It’s estimated that elderly men and women lost upwards of $50 billion each year to financial fraud. According to Stanford University and the Finra Investor Education Foundation, exact numbers are hard to tally because about 4 in 10 seniors never report these crimes.
Perhaps more troubling is the number of fraud cases where a family member is the thief. In Maine alone, Legal Services for the Elderly found that 6 out of 10 cases involved a family member stealing money from an elderly man or woman. Adult Protection Services found just over half of all cases involved theft by a family member. Most times, it’s an elderly person’s adult child who steals from a parent.
Picking a Family Member May Not Be the Best Idea
It’s tempting to let your parent pick yourself or another sibling as the financial power of attorney, but it’s not always the smartest move. Even if you aren’t going to steal your parent’s money, your siblings may start to question every penny you spend. It can lead to a lot of family squabbles.
If you do take on that role or have a sibling who does, you should ask for regular meetings to look at accounts and see where money is going. Make sure the bills are all being paid and that money is not being spent frivolously. Involve your parent in the meetings to make sure everyone knows where things stand.
Getting a Second Opinion From a Professional Accountant
Talk to a professional accountant for advice. Even if your mom or dad doesn’t want to rely solely on this person as POA, you or the other financial POA will want an experts input on some financial matters. You can also have this professional on hand for family discussions to explain a budget or how money should be invested or used to pay down debt.
With a financial adviser in place, your parent’s finances are protected. If something happens and your mom or dad can’t pay bills and understand how best to control his or her finances, the POA can step in. That gives the family peace of mind.
Senior care services are another beneficial way to keep an elderly parent safe. When your parent cannot handle daily activities of living without help, a caregiver can help out with meals, transportation, mobility, and light housework. Learn more by calling a senior care agency now.