Tuesday, June 13, 2017
The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that nearly 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 60 experience abuse. Research also suggests that half of individuals over the age of eighty-five suffer from some sort of cognitive impairment. An important part of financial and estate planning is considering worst-case scenarios when it comes to intellectual capacity. Planners must work with clients to establish checks and balances for their assets in case of mental degradation. Jonathan Fitzgerald, director of wealth and fiduciary planning at Wilmington Trust, has a few suggestions to help planners and their clients. First, start early. While the onset of a mental impairment may still allow enough time to plan, it is not an ideal beginning point. Second, define “capacity.” This is left to the judgement of the client, but the final definition of what “capacity” entails should be clearly understood and recorded. Finally, set up revocable trusts. Many trusts include clauses that are invoked upon the incapacity of the settlor/beneficiary.
See David H. Lenok, Seven Tips for Protecting Clients from Elder Abuse, Wealth Management.com, June 9, 2017.