Most seniors have worked a lifetime to acquire the retirement savings and assets they will need to live comfortably during their elder years. Unfortunately, many scammers and criminals seek out vulnerable elderly adults to take advantage of. Are you worried your senior parents or loved ones may be susceptible to losing their assets? Read on to learn more about common factors that endanger seniors’ assets and how you can protect your elderly parents from them.
Lapsed Life Insurance Policy
Many seniors find it challenging to maintain paying high life insurance premiums. When a life insurance policy lapses, it means the policyholder has not kept up with payments, the cash value in the policy has been depleted resulting in the policy being canceled and the beneficiaries losing the death benefit. As a result, the policy holder loses years of premium payments and their dependents get left with nothing. Because of this, some policyholders opt for a policy surrender, which is when a policyholder agrees to forego the death benefit of a policy for a cash surrender value which is the return of some portion of the premiums they paid. Even though this may sound like a good idea, the cash surrender value is often much less than what the policyholder paid into the policy. Sadly, many senior policyholders do not know that a life settlement is an excellent opportunity for seniors who can no longer make payments on their life insurance policy. A life settlement is when a life insurance policyholder sells their policy for more than a cash surrender but less than a death benefit. Life settlements offer a way for seniors to pay off debt or to recover from a financial loss. Although beneficiaries will not see a death benefit, life settlements provide individuals with a means of ensuring financial independence and security. Not sure if your parents qualify? Get a free estimate with MRE Finance and find out the value of the policy.
Elder Fraud and Financial Abuse
Did you know over 70% of America’s wealth belongs to individuals 50 years of age and older? As a result, many seniors find themselves targeted for fraudulent schemes or elderly financial abuse. Elder financial abuse is rampant in the United States, as the collective annual loss for senior victims of elder financial abuse amounts to roughly 3 billion dollars. You may be wondering; how could anyone want to target an elderly individual for theft? Unfortunately, elder fraud and financial abuse are pretty common due to a variety of reasons:
– The victim may be exploited by someone they trust and rely on, such as a caregiver or romantic interest.
– Some elder fraud scammers lie about their position and may coerce the victim into sharing personal information. For example, the scammer may lie about being a tech support agent and convince the victim to grant them access to personal information stored on a personal computer or electronic device.
Many perpetrators try to take advantage of debilitated individuals they think will not have the ability to recognize the scam or believe the individual will not live long enough to take legal action if the scammer is caught.
Elderly fraud scammers often lie about their position, identity, or intentions to access victims’ personal information, credit cards, or bank account. This can take many forms:
- Romance scam
- Charity scheme
- Grandparent scam
- Tech support scam
- Lottery fraud
- IRS scheme
When it comes to your elderly parent, there are a few signs that they could be the victim of elderly financial abuse:
- Are they isolated?
- Do they have any physical limitations that make them rely on others?
- Are they uncomfortable handling financial matters, including bills?
- Do they rely on others for using the computer or electronic devices?
- Are there any unusual or sudden changes in their spending habits?
- Have they lost a large sum of money recently with no explanation?
While there is no guarantee you can protect your parents from a scam, it is essential to take steps to prevent elder fraud or financial abuse from occurring. Be sure your parents understand the risks of sharing their personal information with others. Have your parents already fallen victim to a scam? The financial consequences of such an experience can be pretty damaging. A life settlement is a way of recovering those funds. Find out more by clicking here.
Various illnesses can significantly impact a senior’s ability to take care of themselves. When it comes to asset protection, perhaps the most difficult condition is dementia or memory loss and other cognitive skills. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s, which accounts for 80% of all dementia cases. Alzheimer’s worsens over time and is the sixth leading cause of death in America. Although signs and symptoms of dementia can vary, some of the most common signs are:
- Problems with short term memory
- Reduced concentration
- Increased confusion
- Withdrawal or apathy
- Changes in moods, behaviors, such as unexplained outburst of anger or sadness
- Difficulty finding the right words
- Changes in spatial awareness may lead to accidents or getting lost
- Severe difficulty with change or disruptions
While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are steps your family can take to prevent any other losses, including financial. Although there are certain risk factors that we cannot control, such as genetics, some can be reduced or eliminated with preventive care. Eating a healthy diet, refraining from smoking, exercising regularly and cognitive stimulation are all measures proven to either reduce or eliminate the effects of dementia. Should your senior parents show signs of dementia, be sure to sit down with them and discuss the future with them. Share any concerns you have and ask them to take preventive measures that could protect their assets, such as making you a power of attorney. This will allow you to manage and protect their assets should they lose the cognitive ability to do so themselves. Another consideration is affording long-term and memory care. Should your parents develop Alzheimer’s, dementia, or any other debilitating disease, are they prepared for the cost of their care? One way many seniors have covered long-term care costs is through a
The best way to protect your parents’ assets is to discuss your concerns with them and help them to create a plan so they are safe and comfortable. Create a clear line of communication and simplify your parents’ assets as much as possible.