Elder Law: How to Protect Your Loved Ones as They Age

As parents get older and enter into their seniors years, their adult children become acutely and somewhat painfully aware that the people who cared for and protected them for the most of their lives now require tender care and loving protection themselves. Sadly, the particular challenges related to old age – such as physical infirmity, emotional frailty, or dependence on others to name just a few – can make the elders easy targets for abuse – be it physical, financial, or otherwise. Additionally, as people in the U.S. live longer, more money and resources must be dedicated to health care services and elder care. This often requires a senior and their family to carefully plan the financial resources they have with such long-term expenses in view.

If you are a child of aging parents, you are no doubt concerned about their current and future well-being. You may often wonder about the ways in which you can best protect them from the challenges of the old age. In this article, we will mention a number of practical suggestion that will help you secure your parents’ happiness and let you enjoy peace of mind.

Use Proven Estate Planning Tools

Estate planning is, perhaps, most readily associated with Wills, testaments, and other legal devices designed to protect a person’s legacy once they have passed away. However, a solid estate plan contains a blueprint for a number of unexpected circumstances related to old age that may happen in a person’s senior years. It includes essential legal tools that will help you – or another family member – act decisively on behalf of your loved one and their interests in situations where they’re no longer able to decide for themselves.

Two such vital documents include a durable power of attorney and health care proxy. A durable power of attorney will allow you, or another trusted person, to take care of your elderly relative’s finances if they ever aren’t able to do so themselves. A health care proxy, on the other hand, bestows upon a designated individual the authority to take life-and-death decision on the elderly person’s behalf.

Protect Your Parents From Elder Financial Abuse

It is estimated that every year in the U.S., a staggering $37 billion is stolen from the American elderly through various scams or misuse and misappropriation of their funds. Elder financial abuse is, therefore, a serious danger that you need to protect your senior parent or family member at all cost. Some of the most notorious ways the elderly are tricked out of their money are:

  • Lottery scams
  • Telemarketing scams
  • Phishing scams
  • Identity theft
  • Medicare fraud
  • Grandparent scam

In order to effectively protect your parent from such scams and predatory individuals, you should ideally have regular conversations with them about their finances and review their accounts for any suspicious activity. If they’re hesitant to share their financial details with you, you should warn them against the most common frauds. Additionally, explain to them that they can always count on you and your advisor before making any financial decisions. It may also be practical to advise your parents to close unused accounts and, if they feel comfortable with technology, use an electronic device with an app designed to track their finances.

Help Your Elderly Loved Ones Plan for Long-term Care

The costs of home care and assistance can easily add up to about $40,000 a year. Even if your elderly parent’s financial situation is stable now, the medical expenses and the costs of long-term care can quickly add up and drain their resources faster than anticipated. Therefore, you should help your parent create a financial plan for their senior years taking into account unexpected medical expenses or long-term care. You can also seek assistance from a professional financial adviser who will help you and your elderly parent put their assets into best use during their senior years.

Facing an Estate Planning Issue? Contact Luis E. Barreto

If you need advice with regards to some aspect of estate planning and elderly law, or if your senior loved one fell victim to elderly abuse, do not hesitate to get in touch with Luis E. Barreto & Associates, P.A. We provide effective legal solutions for the elderly along with a compassionate and respectful approach to their needs. Contact us today to discover why thousands of residents of Miami, FL have entrusted us with their sensitive estate planning problems.

Written by Luis E. Barreto

Luis E. Barreto

Luis is a probate and guardianship litigator with over 23 years of experience in the field. Determination of heirs, will contests, breaches of fiduciary duty, removal of personal representatives, guardians and trustees are just some of the types of litigation he addresses. In addition, he administers non-contested estates and guardianships.