Apr 10, 2016
By Rick Law, estate planning Attorney and Certified Elder Law Attorney. Rick Law and his daughter Attorney Diana Law are part of the multi-generational firm of the Estate Planning Center at Law Elder Law in Aurora, IL.
In many financial exploitation cases: the exploiter is often someone in a position of trust and authority who abuses this power for financial gain. While some cases involve strangers who exploit the vulnerable, the majority of cases involve people who are uniquely positioned to take advantage of the disabled person, such as fiduciaries, family members, and trusted members of society.
In many of the cases where a power of attorney or other document was created after the person signing over the power or changing a will was clearly incapacitated due to dementia; it’s not a case of the lawyer being a crook. For example, somebody says: “My grandmother wants a will, and she wants to make me agent of power of attorney. Can you prepare the documents?”
Amazingly, the lawyer just prepares the documents, having never seen or met the grandmother who is actually the client under the law. Most of the time, the lawyer charges the typical fee, not a kickback from what was stolen using the power of attorney. The lawyer wasn’t involved in the finance exploitation, but lawyers must be vigilant to avoid becoming unwitting co-conspirators to elder abuse.
Your lawyer needs to be sure who the client is. They need to talk with their clients in private.
When a person brings an elderly relative to a lawyer’s office and wants paperwork drawn up so that the person can have power of attorney over the elderly relative, your lawyer has a duty to talk to the elderly adult—who is the actual client—and should do so in private. If there are concerns about the mental capacity of the client, then a doctor should be brought in to make an independent judgment on capacity.
Your lawyer should be suspicious of anything that doesn’t quite smell right or sit right, and should follow up on it.
Too many families needlessly lose everything they have. Don’t let that be you. If you need help building a fortress around your estate to protect it from creditors, predators, and the cost of chronic disease, give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free. We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family. Call now, because when you’re out of money, you’re out of options!
Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.
Rick has been named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney for the past 8 years in a row by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future. Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care. Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!
“You don’t have to leave your family a lot of money. You really don’t have to leave them anything.
Just don’t leave them a mess.
Law Hesselbaum has made sure we won’t leave our family with a mess.”
M. C., Client of Law Hesselbaum and Law Elder Law