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How To Protect Your Elderly Parents’ Assets

Struggling with their finances can be an early sign of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Despite this, many seniors still manage their finances completely on their own. 

Handling their own finances in later life can expose your elderly parents to financial abuse, which is a fast-growing form of elder abuse. If you think your parents are at risk of this, speak to an elder financial abuse attorney

Older people who have early-stage dementia are especially vulnerable to fraudulent activity. Learn the signs that your elderly parent is having a problem managing their own money and work out what steps you can take to keep their assets safe for them, even if they’re in your care

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There is a range of simple and more complex steps that you can take when your parents are in the early stages of memory loss to help you to protect them financially. 

  1. Talk to your parent on a regular basis, and as soon as possible about their wishes for the future. Talk to them about how you can help them protect their assets and their money. 
  2. Block scammers from calling their phones. Add your parents’ home and mobile phone numbers to any registries that prevent unsolicited phone calls to reduce the risk of scam calls. 
  3. Get a free credit report. Each of the three main consumer credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, will give you a credit report for free every 12 months if you ask. Get these reports and check them carefully for any issues. 
  4. Set up automatic payments. Sit down with your parents and change their utility bills, mortgage payments, and credit payments to be paid automatically so they can’t be forgotten by mistake. 
  5. Agree on a spending limit on credit or debit card purchases. If you notice them overspending, you could give them preloaded bank cards, rather than normal debit ot credit cards. 
  6. Learn more about their estate. Ask them about their current estate and what their future goals are. What financial decisions have they made and why? This can help you to make sure there aren’t any assets out there that are unaccounted for that could make them vulnerable. 
  7. Discuss simplifying their financial portfolio. Get the help of a financial planner, and talk through a few ways that your parents could simplify their portfolio and set aside some money for their future care. 
  8. Designate a power of attorney. A POA can act on a person’s behalf both legally and financially when they can’t do so themselves. It can help dementia patients to avoid court actions that could remove control of their assets. Get this document from an elder law attorney and send it to any company, organization, or facility that your parents use so that you can community with them on their behalf. 
  9. Establish a living trust and choose a trustee. This gives guidance on how your parents’ estate should be managed. The trustee will follow this guide if a parent with dementia is no longer able to do this for themselves.

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