As cases of financial elder abuse increase, more financial firms are requiring elderly customers to submit forms with emergency contact information. California financial elder abuse attorneys say that financial advisors and brokers can be in a unique position to detect financial abuse or fraud, as well as issues of cognitive impairment in elderly clients.
The purpose of these emergency contact forms is to give financial advisors a trusted person that they can contact if they suspect something is amiss with an elderly client. Although this emergency contact person cannot make transactions on their loved one’s behalf, it is a way for financial advisors to alert a trusted person in the case of wellbeing or mental capacity issues, or endangerment, self-neglect, or financial exploitation. LPL, Ameriprise Financial, and Wells Fargo all have these forms, and MetLife says that they are working on a version as well.
This emergency contact authorization form was a topic of conversation at an Insured Retirement Institute Older Investors Summit with industry players and government regulators. As only 8% of senior citizens who have been victimized by financial fraud say that they have discussed their finances with another person, those in the financial industry emphasized the need to do a better job of engaging in those conversations.
Financial advisors can be in a unique position to observe and recognize signs of financial elder abuse. If they suspect financial abuse or fraud, financial advisors can report suspicious activity to the Department of Treasury’s FinCEN network, or even a local adult protective services agency. However, there is not a clear-cut protocol on who to contact if an advisor suspects cognitive impairment, which is where these emergency contact forms could be useful.
California financial elder abuse attorneys say that the emergency contact form can be a good place to start, but that senior citizens and their families should take other steps to protect themselves from financial elder abuse. They can do this by granting a trusted person read-only access to their online bank statements, naming one trusted person to act as an agent under a financial power of attorney, and involving all trustworthy family members in financial conversations.
Evans Law Firm, Inc. handles financial elder abuse cases, as well as other elder abuse and financial fraud lawsuits. If you or a loved one has been a victim of financial elder abuse, please contact Evans Law Firm, Inc. at 415-441-8669 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.