Last month a man from Sarasota Florida was arrested for swindling $600,000.00 from an elderly woman who had taken him in as her roommate years earlier. Anita Seidel met the man and trusted him to live with her. She even signed a power of attorney form granting him the authority to write checks from her bank accounts because she had Alzheimer’s and believed he would protect her interests.
The man used Anita’s money to purchase a 2007 Lamborghini convertible when Anita was placed in a nursing home. He also took money from her accounts and transferred it to his own and wrote checks to others from her account.
Sadly, this scenario is played out more often than people realize.
Protecting Yourself or a Loved One
An alternative to giving a power of attorney to a “friend” or “acquientnance” is to pay for a professional trustee. Hiring an insured professional trustee or guardian to manage financial affairs may be more expensive than having a friend or neighbor do it, but the insurance and the oversight required of a professional are well worth the expense. You can protect your loved ones and protect their assets by offering to pay for a professional trustee on their behalf.
Stay in Touch with Older Relatives
The best way to protect our parents and older friends is to stay involved and communicate with them about where their money is and who has access to it. The man Anita trusted to take care of her finances did take care of her home and made her meals when she became too ill to do it for herself, but he was easily tempted by the allure of her bank accounts. If anyone had noticed his spending habits once Anita was placed in the nursing home, there would have been red flags and someone might have been able to stop him sooner.
Get Legal Help
Experienced Elder Law Attorney Elga Goodman understands the challenges involved in protecting aging relatives and help you find resources and make a plan to help the people you love. Contact us today at today at 973-841-5111.
Posted in: Elder Law