Thursday, March 5, 2020
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has released their Personal Financial Planning (PFP) Trends survey this week and it sheds light on planning for cognitive decline is not following the trend of increased awareness. 28% of CPA planners say their clients plan to deal with diminished mental capacity in retirement on a reactionary basis, and 20% are ignoring the issue altogether, according to the survey. Unfortunately, nearly half - 48% - of all CPA financial planners reported they had a client exhibit signs of dementia or diminished capacity for the first time in the past year alone.
92% of CPA planners that do address client cognition ensure that powers of attorney and health-care proxies are in place, while 66% arranged for themselves to contact their client’s other professionals and relatives. “Managing cognitive decline is difficult for the client, their family and the CPA financial planner,” said Susan Tillery, chair of the AICPA’s PFP Executive Committee. “At times such as this, it is essential to be proactive by having a plan in place to deal with the financial demands of long-term care and other medical expenses associated with diminished capacity."
Financial abuse and fraud is an apparent plague for older clients, with phone or internet scams, the inability to say no and identity theft as the most common. The emotional toll of being scammed was larger than the financial toll for their clients according to the CPAs. “Everyone is vulnerable to financial abuse and exploitation. However, the elderly are highly susceptible because companionship is an enticing allure for them. This can be due to the disintegration of the traditional nuclear family, death of spouse or friends, and the isolation that accompanies declining health,” Tillery said.
See Tracey Longo, Nearly Half of CPA Advisors See Dementia in Some Clients, Financial Advisor, March 4, 2020.
Special thanks to Joel C. Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.