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"How to get Medi-Cal coverage for your nursing home care... without selling your home or leaving your family without a dime... Surprising ways to pay for your assisted living and long term care costs."

Elder Law Today Newsletter | May, 2018


Preventing Financial Elder Abuse

Personal Relationships:

One red flag that we have seen showing possible elder abuse is exhibited by family members who are overly zealous about preserving the money that is being spent for the older person’s care. We have seen family members who are “caring” for an older person, refuse to spend sufficient funds for the older person’ care. This attitude may actually endanger the older person’s health and welfare. These family members may be more concerned about preserving their possible “inheritance” than they are in caring for the older relative, and they may be guilty of financial elder abuse. These are the same family members who will say that this is the older person’s money, that the older person has earned it over their lifetime, and that the family members don’t really care if they “get” anything.

Another red flag for elder abuse that we have seen is the sudden advent of relatives or old friends, who have not been seen for years, who are now expressing great concern and interest in “helping” the older person. Another “red flag” for possible elder financial abuse are caretakers who show an unusual interest in the older person’s finances. In these cases, it may be appropriate for the older person to engage the services of a geriatric care manager or professional fiduciary, who can manage the older person’s finances. The older person’s attorney-in-fact under their financial durable power of attorney may be called upon to engage these services if the older person has lost capacity. An elder law attorney and Medi-Cal attorney can help you with the appropriate language and design in the creation of your financial durable power of attorney and other estate planning documents, which may be needed for your care and for Medi-Cal qualification. As always, you should have your estate planning documents prepared sooner than later, and while you still can.

Financial and Estate Planning:

One of the best ways to prevent financial elder abuse, is to make sure that you know what your financial assets are at all times. You should be in contact with your financial advisor on a regular basis to determine whether there have been any changes to your accounts. Do not be afraid of calling him or her to ask questions. Find out if your required minimum distributions from your qualified accounts, like IRA’s, are being made properly. Ask if you have any outstanding life insurance or long term care insurance. Have a discussion regarding your financial needs and income, and whether your accounts and investments should be reviewed or reallocated.

Check your bank balances on a regular basis. You should know what your monthly bills are, and how much money you have in your accounts at all times. You can arrange with your bank to view your accounts on line. If you need help paying your bills or managing your accounts, you can ask a trusted friend or family member. There are also professional fiduciaries who can assist you in paying your bills.

Never have your estate planning documents, such as your revocable living trust and financial durable power of attorney, updated by non-attorneys or document preparers. There is much involved in estate planning, and you may be creating more problems for yourself and your family by not having an attorney help you.

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