Bernice Napach, a senior writer at ThinkAdvisor, recently wrote about “How Seniors and Their Adult Children Can Prevent Elder Financial Abuse.”   She writes that it is estimated that one in five seniors are a victim of financial abuse of about $37 billion a year.  But, most senior adults have not talked with their children about how they manage their resources.  ‘When you don’t have the conversation, seniors are more vulnerable,’ said Desari Mueller, a consultant for Wells Fargo Advisors.

Most seniors and their children believe that a stranger will take advantage of an elder. The sad truth is that two-thirds is by family, friends or trusted contacts according to a Jewish Council for the Aging study.

Wells Fargo Media suggests eight items seniors should complete for their later years:

  1. Organize documents and passwords
  2. Discuss with the family who will manage affairs
  3. Discuss inheritance plans with family
  4. Have a will
  5. Have an advance health care directive
  6. Have a power of attorney for health care
  7. Have a power of attorney for financial matters
  8. Tell the family how much money there is

A further set of protections:

  1. Direct deposit so others can’t cash checks
  2. Annual credit report checks
  3. Automatic bill pay so other aren’t writing checks
  4. Refuse to sign documents unless others have reviewed them
  5. “Trusted Contact” on file at financial firm/bank
  6. Checks or credit cards locked in cabinets
  7. Alerts of large transactions sent to others
  8. Copies of financial statements sent to others

The local church is positioned help seniors be good stewards of their resources and prevent elder financial abuse. Now is a good time to plan an awareness event for seniors and their families.