Consumer Reports recently highlighted the Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans new “Managing Someone Else’s Money” brochure series. The series of brochures includes one about how to get power of attorney for the older senior. The second brochure is meant for those who are the court appointed guardians. And the third and fourth brochure was written for government fiduciaries.
The brochure for help for agents under a power of attorney outlines what it means to be a fiduciary.
Some highlights of their recommendations:
Put their well being above the financial interests of the people who stand to interrupt their property and money. If the person is unable to say what they want, try to find out what they would have wanted. Do this by recalling past actions, decisions, and actions.
For example, do not by a car with their money if you would be using it mostly for your own needs. Do not hire a relative to do repair to the older person’s home if it is not the least expensive and best option. If in any case, it appears to benefit your family more than the older person, it’s a conflict of interest.
Do not deposit their money into someone else’s account. Avoid joint accounts. Be sure to keep title to the older individual’s property and money in their name.
Be sure that all transactions are documented. Include receipts and expenditures. Avoid paying in cash, do not use their ATM card to withdraw cash and do not write checks out to cash.
It is also important to keep watch for any changes in a senior’s behavior, accounts, or phone calls/emails/mail they may receive.
Money or property appears to be missing
Spending or savings patterns have changed
Bank statements or bills suddenly aren’t arriving
Older person is making new or unusual gifts
Senior changes beneficiaries
Someone new is handling their money
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