When it comes to elder fraud, my dad Carmelo got off easy – a few thousand dollars in gas station charge. Every 2 or 3 days, there was another charge for $99.87, $98.23, etc. etc. The credit card company NEVER did anything.
Even when I called the credit card company, they gave me a hard time, saying, “well you don’t have power of attorney.” It was only when I threatened with calling the Florida Financial Control Board (I made that up) that the bank froze dad’s credit card.
Other relatives weren’t so lucky.
Cousin Albert lost his money to a paid caregiver who abetted his addiction, married him, and rewrote his will.
Uncle Tommy started day-trading futures and commodities under the watchful eye of a commission-hungry broker, and lost half his savings.
Don’t think a signed Power of Attorney solves this. Many POAs are written with “in case of incapacitation” clauses. Lawyers love drawing these up, because they know you have to hire them again to prove incapacitation, take your dementia-addled parent to court and hire expert witnesses.
Meanwhile, 99% of parents never give up financial control before they are beyond-a-doubt incapacitated.
This is a stupid system. And it won’t likely change in our lifetimes.
Here are 3 solutions to the stupid system:
This is a new tool to plan for a day when we are not making good decisions. Dementia is more likely than being put on life-support. Dementia also has different stages, and this directive allows us to plan for each stage.
Hire a bill-paying service
An independent party, such as SilverBills
, can make sure the bills are paid. They also check for fraudulent activity with a sharper eye than your credit card company. People can sign up for this independently – they don’t need anyone else to be in the loop. Also useful for long-distance caregivers of elderly parents.
Fend off friends from Nigeria
monitors bank and investment accounts for unusual activity, and also monitors the “dark web” to see if your identity has been stolen.
These innovations are becoming mainstream. Please check them out, and include these in your conversations and your own financial management.
PS. If you love someone who lives with dementia, I highly recommend buying Kyrie Carpenter’s paperback book “Healing Dementia