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Heritage Tree LogoHow Does Estate Planning Protect from Financial Exploitation?

elder in wheelchair

It is an unfortunate statistic that financial abuse is the third most common type of elder abuse that is reported in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. More specifically, in the fiscal year 2020 to 2021 alone, there were a reported 1,857 cases. This is all to say that you must make a conscious effort to protect yourself from such devious acts that may take away the assets you wish to preserve for your designated beneficiaries. Continue reading to learn how estate planning might protect you from financial exploitation and how one of the experienced Butler County estate planning & probate attorneys at Heritage Elder Law & Estate Planning, LLC can similarly shield you from such abusive actions.

What are examples of elder financial abuse?

If you are a person who is over the age of 65, then you may be considered a part of the elderly community. With this, the elderly community is viewed as one of the most vulnerable communities for acts of financial abuse. Examples of such abuse may include, but may not be limited to, the following:

  • An at-home caregiver may steal cash that you have stored in your household.
  • A family member whom you have trusted may ask you to sign checks and documents so that they may withdraw money from your accounts.
  • A family member whom you have trusted may pressure you into leaving your entire estate to them in your last will and testament.
  • An individual may impersonate a tax or debt collector so that you may initiate a wire transfer to make a “mandatory” payment.

In what ways does estate planning protect from financial exploitation?

To protect yourself from financial exploitation, the two primitive estate planning documents that you must have in your portfolio are a revocable living trust and a durable power of attorney.

For one, a revocable living trust allows you (i.e., the grantor) to transfer your property into the trust, thereby having it fall under the ownership of the trust. And since this property is technically no longer assigned under your name, it may make it difficult for unauthorized individuals to access this property. Instead, it may be protected by a trusted individual (i.e., a trustee) and accessed, controlled, and modified by you throughout the rest of your lifetime.

Secondly, a durable power of attorney allows you (i.e., the grantor) to appoint a trusted individual (i.e., an agent) to make your financial decisions should you ever become incapacitated or otherwise unable to do so yourself. Evidently, this may protect you from individuals who are out to exploit your incapacity. This is because your agent may now be the one to pay your bills, file your taxes, manage your bank accounts, sign your financial documents, and more.

You must not stand idly by if you believe that you are being financially exploited. Rather, you must retain the services of one of the skilled Butler County estate planning & probate attorneys. Contact Heritage Elder Law & Estate Planning, LLC today.

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