Friday, May 6, 2016
Michael J. Polk (Belser & Belser, PA) recently published an article entitled, Quick And Dirty Tips To Prevent Power of Attorney Abuse, South Carolina Lawyer Magazine 18-23 (May 2016). Provided below is an excerpt from the article.
However, this article concentrates on abuse of durable powers of attorney. Although we as attorneys have little control over many of the tools of exploitation, we do have a hand in the preparation of many durable powers of attorney. The durable power of attorney has gained popularity as a low cost alternative to conservatorships. A study released by AARP in 2000 found that 45 percent of Americans age 50 or older reported having executed a durable power attorney. Elder financial abuse accounts for 20 percent of all elder abuse. For every one reported case, it is estimated that four or five cases go unreported. Why target the elderly? To quote Willie Sutton when asked why he robbed banks, “because that’s where the money is.” Researchers expect that financial abuse will grow as older Americans own a larger share of U.S. wealth. Persons over 50 now own approximately 70 percent of U.S. wealth.