by Rick Law, Law Elder Law founder and managing partner. Law Elder Law provides wills and trusts, probate, guardianship, senior estate planning and much more for seniors and their families in DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Will and other counties in Illinois.
One example of financial exploitation and emotional abuse that stands out is when adult children who have drug or alcohol problems move into their parent’s home. The children often end up living off of the parent and then they become verbally abusive to obtain money for the purchase of drugs or alcohol.
In some cases, they will get their parent to sign documents giving them power of attorney, thus providing easy access to money for drugs and alcohol.
Charles Golbert, deputy public Guardian and supervisor of the Adult Guardian Subdivision with the Cook County (Illinois) Public Guardian’s Office, agrees that powers of attorney documents can be problematic.
“They’re just too easy to fill in and forge or have somebody who doesn’t have capacity to sign,” he says. “People are entitled to rely on the documents as long as there is nothing facially problematic about them. They’re very dangerous for that reason as well. In fact, I tell people powers of attorney are kind of the scariest documents that I know. I’d say they’re the single most abused document we see in our financial exploitation practice.”
It is very important to have a doctor examine a dementia patient if there might be any issue with capacity. One of the challenges with some forms of dementia is that it is very hard for a layperson to determine capacity, and even giving a Mini Mental Status Exam (MMSE) can still lead to a false conclusion that people have capacity but, in reality, don’t understand the consequences of their acts.
I’ve seen it many times before… the lawyer is asked, “Why did you go ahead with this power of attorney paperwork when we have documentation that shows that the individual had dementia?” The lawyer will always respond, “Well, they appeared to be absolutely fine when I sat down and met with them.”
If your loved one has memory problems and you’re afraid of the consequences that may bring, give our office a call today 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.
Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.
Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney 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!