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Avoiding fraud against seniors with durable powers of attorney

It is one of the great ironies of life that by the time a person needs help, they may be too far gone to ask for it. Such is the case for one of the most vulnerable groups of people in Philadelphia, and indeed in the country. The elderly are at high risk for financial fraud, but granting durable powers of attorney may be the solution.

A Philadelphia man reported recently that his elderly mother approached him about a small loan to cover some checks that she bounced. He was surprised that she had allowed this to happen, she having worked in the business sector for more than four decades. When he questioned her about her finances, she was uncooperative.

It turned out the man's mother had been targeted by a scam artist pretending to be romantically inclined towards her. Time and time again, the con man asked her for money, and she provided it to him. All in all, she was tricked out of possibly as much as $40,000. After realizing what had happened, the poor woman granted her son power of attorney over her financial affairs.

Defrauding seniors is a fast-growing business in the United States. Scams take many forms, including romantic appeals to lonely individuals. Creating a living will or giving power of attorney to a trusted relative are two good strategies available to help keep an older person's assets secure.

Though it may be a difficult choice to make, arranging for a durable powers of attorney to be given to a trusted loved one may be a wise financial move. Making life decisions while still of sound mind can help an individual avoid potential pitfalls later in life. Discussing options and seeking advice from a legal firm that deals with estate law in Philadelphia is a very good first step.

Source: 6ABC.com, "Art of Aging: Financial fraud", Tamala Edwards, Oct. 20, 2016

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