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Protecting your aging parents from financial abuse

It can be heartbreaking to see your parents become less independent as they age. They raised you and taught you everything you know, but now they are beginning to rely on you. Sadly, this is a normal part of life for many Missouri residents, but it is possible to protect your loved ones' interests while preserving their dignity.

Numerous factors can result in your parents being unable to make financial decisions on their own, which could both affect their quality of life and impact their estate's value, especially if scammers target them.

Age-related incapacitation

As your parents age, you will need to consider the possibility of a cognitive impairment, such as dementia or Alzheimer's disease, which could affect their ability to make informed financial decisions. A stroke, heart attack or accident could also be incapacitating. You would want to know your parents' wishes regarding the type of medical care they want to receive, including life support decisions, so you do not have the burden of making a difficult decision on your own if your parents are unable to do so.

Scams that target the elderly

Unfortunately, scammers are all too aware of the vulnerabilities commonly affecting seniors. They know that their mental abilities may decline and that they might not be savvy with technology and sophisticated fraud schemes. A scammer may trick your parents into giving money to fraudulent IRS scammers or computer hackers. A caregiver they trust could coerce them into signing over access to their accounts or making him or her the sole beneficiary of their will.

You may wish to speak with your parents about a power of attorney, which would give them the ability to specify their wishes in case they are unable to do so in the future. A power of attorney would let you make financial decisions on their behalf, so you know their needs are being addressed, and they are not likely to suffer abuse from scammers.

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