As we age, it is a sad truth that we draw the attention of people looking to take advantage. Older Americans are heavily targeted by individuals and groups looking to defraud them of the assets they’ve accumulated over a lifetime. An elderly person who is not in full control of their financial situation could find themselves destitute in a matter of months.

Financial abuse of the elderly is common

Seniors should always be on the lookout for signs that they are being exploited. Estate planning helps people gain a full understanding of their present and future financial situation. Armed with that understanding, a person is less likely to fall victim to people looking to steal from them. By having an estate plan and meeting with an attorney twice yearly to discuss it, older Americans and their families can detect fraud more quickly and put a stop to it before it’s too late.

Trustees and estate administrators are held to a high standard of care for the beneficiaries they serve. The fiduciary duty created by a trust requires that the trustee always act in the best interests of the principal. The failure to do so exposes the trustee to serious legal problems. One of the many benefits of a trust is that a person’s assets are secured by a professional, legal relationship. They are an excellent tool for protecting assets from many potential threats, including the threat of financial fraud. With the addition of a co-trustee, elderly individuals are largely protected from trust abuse.

In some cases, the aging process will leave a person unable to manage their own financial decisions. There are estate planning tools available to help secure a vulnerable person’s position when the time comes. Work with an estate planning professional to ensure that fraud will not wipe out your loved one’s assets.