The headlines do not even begin to describe the full extent of America’s elder abuse problem. The National Council on Aging estimates that one out of 10 adults over the age of 60 have been the victim of some form of abuse. What is especially concerning is that the elderly are just as susceptible to abuse from a stranger as they are from family members. Elder abuse can cost older individuals their entire savings and result in physical and emotional wounds that may be difficult – or impossible – to repair.
Preventing Elder Abuse Through Estate Planning
There may be nothing that can be done that can completely eliminate the risk that one might fall victim to elder abuse later in life. However, crafting an estate plan with the assistance of an attorney may provide you with some measure of protection against falling victim to physical, emotional, or financial abuse. By retaining a knowledgeable lawyer to help you in preparing your plan and associated documents, you may be able to avoid situations and circumstances that might leave you and your assets vulnerable to exploitation.
First, through an estate plan you get to determine who will be in charge of your affairs if you become incapacitated or pass away. Without powers of attorney or a will or trust designating who you want to handle the important decisions about your affairs, a court is left to attempt to determine who among your family members (typically) is best suited for these tasks. This situation can leave you at the mercy of untrustworthy or ill-suited individuals.
Second, through an estate plan you may be able to place valuable property and real estate into a trust or otherwise control how it is administered during a a period of incapacity or after your passing. With your wishes and intentions made known or your property already in the name of a trust, relatives or “friends” who may wish to otherwise take advantage of you may have less incentive do so since your assets are not as easily transferable.
Third, in crafting your estate plan you and your attorney will review assets that may not pass through probate, such as insurance policies and retirement accounts. In reviewing these assets, special attention will be paid to who you designate to be the beneficiary of these accounts and whom the company may speak to regarding your account. This can help reduce the likelihood that an unscrupulous character will be successful in submitting a fraudulent claim to obtain benefits or payment.
Last, a comprehensive estate plan will help you prepare for long-term care if you become unable to live independently. This can include making arrangements with a nursing facility or home healthcare company of your choice and determining how you will pay for the costs of such care. Not only can this give you and your family peace of mind, but it can also prevent someone from taking advantage of you and your assets as you age.
Learn More by Talking With Dawes Legal, LLC
Planning for an uncertain future in order to protect your property and your well-being does not have to be daunting. With the help of an experienced estate planning law firm in Columbus like Dawes Legal, LLC, your estate plan can be created in a reasonable amount of time. You may be surprised to learn how easy it can be to protect yourself and the property you have worked hard to accumulate from the abusive or exploitative actions of others. Call Dawes Legal, LLC at (614) 733-9999 today to schedule your consultation with us.