Power of Attorney and Boomers
By Jon Hull[caption id="attachment_1166" align="alignnone" width="320"] Power of Attorney and Boomers[/caption]
The power of attorney document and designation are critical after you have put your affairs in order and are now creating an estate plan. Up until recently it has worked as planned and still does for many families.
But, it is also the weakest link in protecting what you have put together to protect yourself and your family. Specifically, our Boomers are being duped by predators, their own children, and a host of professionals, then led down the path of financial abuse. As we age longer due to healthy lifestyle choices and the advanced medical community that can keep us alive longer, we inevitably start to lose mental functions until we are diagnosed with some form of a dementia. For many, these mental loses create fear and desperation about what might be happen to them. This is a time in life when the unscrupulous enter their lives. That boyfriend they had for companionship, or estranged adult child who comes back around, or caretaker, or new friend from next door, club, church, anywhere. They see financial vulnerability and seek to befriend before acting out their scheme of greed.
The truth is, the power of attorney can be revoked at any time by the person who created it for themselves, and those who are vulnerable and desperate are easy prey for these criminals. Once befriended, it is easy for them to start creating doubt about most anything, especially doubt about their own family. It is easy to tell them just what they want to hear like, “Your son/daughter should never have taken your car, you’re just fine.” “They should have never put you in this care facility, you’re just fine.” “You know their just after your money don’t you?” “They live somewhere else, I’m the one who loves you.”
Am I drawing a clear enough picture for you? Once they have created enough doubt, fear and desperation, it is easy to talk them in to revoking and then reassigning power of attorney to themselves. The senior may not even know what they are signing. Bam! Done deal and perfectly legal because the elderly person has the right to change what they have put in place, right? Common sense would tell us this is ridiculous, but it is happening everywhere right now. It happened to our family member. We wrote a book about it.
Common sense would also tell us that the government and lawyers should be fighting back against this crime spree. That they would put a legal mechanism in place that would recognize and act if a power of attorney has been re-designated to someone outside of their estate plan. But sadly, they do nothing but allow family members to try and fight through an antiquated justice system. All the while, the criminal reaffirms, “See, they just wanted your money, like I told you.”
If you have an aging parent, protect them. If they live somewhere else, protect them. If you suspect shenanigans, it is probably worse than you suspect. If you suspect abuse, contact Adult Protective Services. If you are asked to hold power of attorney for someone, especially a Boomer, know that times have changed and you must be extra vigilant for the wolves sneaking around the back door.Jon Hull is Co-Author of the book, A Legacy Undone. He writes about items to keep you safe and to protect your money and family. You can read more articles at www.ALegacyUndone.com