Today, we want to FOCUS on one of the major RISKS of not being “in the KNOW” when it comes to your PARENTS’ ESTATE planning MATTERS: the undue INFLUENCE of bad ACTORS.
It’s an unfortunate fact that predators emerge during times of upheaval to take advantage of people. That means the COVID-19 pandemic can leave your parents vulnerable in more ways than one. But even when things go back to normal, this chronic problem of financial exploitation will still be a risk.
We see it happen far too often. Maybe your elderly parents live several hours away, in another state or country, and someone in their community gets close to them. Or maybe they have a close relationship with a financial advisor who isn’t really looking out for their (or your) best interests. This person could even be another family member, friend, business partner, hired caregiver, professional advisor, or even someone they’ve just met.
Sometimes, when bad actors become involved with your parents’ lives and assets, it can lead not only to a loss of money, but even a loss of personal freedom. It's important for you and your family to be aware, educated, and empowered in knowing what risks are possible for your parents, and for your future inheritance.
Look out for the following actions we have seen from influencers:
1. Preventing important communication between family members;
2. Withholding documents from other family members;
3. Encouraging financial gifts or economic benefits to recently-met connections (usually in the same network as your parents’ “new friend”);
4. Naming recently-met connections as attorney-in-fact (under a financial power of attorney), or as a joint owner on financial accounts, real estate, and other assets;
5. Giving financial advice that may not be in your or your parents’ best interests, but rather in the interests of the advisor.
We recommend you start talking with your parents now about how they want their affairs to be handled. Also, you should immediately investigate any situation where you suspect your loved ones are being taken advantage of. There have been too many cases of financial abuse or inappropriate influence where family members are too late to stop the bad actor.
Ideally, you know the value of your parents’ tangible assets (i.e.,home, car, business, stocks) and intangible assets (i.e., generational stories, personal relationships, theological legacies). Additionally, you should be working with an advisor to help you understand how family dynamics and the law will impact you, and everything that matters to you and your parents, when they’re gone.
If you’d like our assistance in considering your parents’ affairs, and how you can be in a position to support them when they need you, contact us. We, as your Personal Family Lawyer®, can help.
This article is a service of Krugler Law, Personal Family Lawyer®. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That's why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session,™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.