(Washington, DC, Wednesday, November 16, 2016) - More than 90 million Americans care for a loved one living with a disability, disease or experiencing reduced financial capability as a result of aging. With many Americans spending time with elderly family during the holidays, it is a good opportunity to talk with your loved ones about finances and understand red flags of elder financial abuse.
Financial caregivers, such as those with a power of attorney, trustee or a federal benefits fiduciary, play an important role in ensuring that all finances are managed wisely, helping their loved ones maintain the best quality of life possible. In recognition of National Family Caregiver Month in November, the American Bankers Association is helping financial caregivers better understand their role as they care for their loved ones.
ABA Foundation, through its Safe Banking for Seniors program, offers the following tips to help individuals understand their role as financial caregivers:
- Recognize danger signs. Seniors have become major targets for financial abuse and fraud. Make sure to stay alert to signs of scams or identity theft that may put your loved oneâ€™s assets in peril.
- Learn the rights and restrictions that apply to your role. Financial caregivers, such as those with a power of attorney, trustees, and federal benefits fiduciaries, are fiduciaries with a duty to act and make decisions on their loved oneâ€™s behalf.
- Manage money and other assets wisely. Especially if the beneficiary has a fixed income or limited finances, it is extremely important that caregivers minimize unnecessary costs and budget accordingly to ensure that all money is properly allocated.
- Keep careful records. When acting as a financial agent, proper documentation is not only encouraged but required. Make sure you keep well-organized financial records.
- Stay informed. Monitor changes in financial status of the beneficiary and take appropriate action, as needed. Also, be sure to stay up to date on changes in the laws affecting seniors.
- Seek professional advice. Consult a banker or other professional advisors when youâ€™re not sure what to do.
To learn more information about National Family Caregiver Month and your role as a financial caregiver, visit caregiveraction.org. For more information on ABAâ€™s Safe Banking for Seniors program, visit aba.com/seniors.