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Tips for Choosing a Financial Caregiver

According to the National Council on Aging, almost 90% of the financial abuse committed against older Americans is done by someone they know. More than ever, it is imperative for seniors to select a trustworthy person to properly manage their finances and personal affairs.

Fraudsters often prey on seniors experiencing cognitive decline, limited mobility and other disabilities that require them to rely more heavily on others for help. Appointing someone you trust to handle your financial matters aids tremendously in the fight against these crimes.

In recognition of November as National Family Caregiver Month, Boone Bank & Trust Co. offers seven tips to help choose the right financial caregiver and prevent financial abuse:

  1. When delegating financial decisions, make sure it’s someone you trust. If you are unable to facilitate financial transactions, carefully choose a trustworthy person to act as your agent in all financial matters.
  2. Know who is in your home. Conduct a thorough background check on all individuals you hire for personal care or home care services. Check references and credentials before you let them into your personal space.
  3. Never sign something you don’t understand. Consult with a financial adviser or attorney before signing any document that appears suspicious or unclear.
  4. Understand the terms of assigning a Power of Attorney. Granting someone POA gives them the authority to act and make decisions on your behalf, including managing and having access to your bank and other financial accounts if such powers are stated in the POA. Make sure you fully understand and agree to the powers listed in the OPA before appointing someone as your agent.
  5. Always trust your instincts. Exploiters and abusers are very skilled. They can be very charming and forceful in their efforts to exploit you. Don’t be fooled – if something doesn’t feel right, it may not be. So tell someone of your concerns. This could be a trusted family member, a lawyer or your local banker.
  6. Safeguard your personal information. Shred old bills, junk mail, bank statements and other personal documents you no longer need. Leaving unwanted personal documents around the house could lead to the misuse of your information. Store keepsake documents in a locked cabinet or in a safe deposit box at your local bank.
  7. Keep personal items out of plain sight. Lock up checkbooks, credit cards and other monetary instruments to prevent unauthorized use.
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