By Rick Banas, Vice President of Strategic Marketing at BMA Management
Unfortunately, the family member did not discover the advisory notice until it was much too late. What should have been easy was going to be complicated, time-consuming and expensive.
The notice from back in 2005 advised the couple of a simple step that could be taken to avoid having to go through probate when one or both of the owners of the property passed away. The process could be completed in minutes. The cost was $6.
The recipient of the notice was in his late 70s and experiencing memory loss. Whatever the reason, he never took the step necessary to avoid probate. Rather, the notice was simply stapled to the back of an old invoice and filed with other papers pertaining to the property that he and his wife owned.
Since he passed away without ever having completed the necessary paperwork, going through probate in two states was now required. The cost would be several thousand dollars.
I was reminded about this situation as I read Humerto Cruz’s column in Sunday’s edition of the Chicago Tribune about a study commissioned by Investors Protection Trust. The results of the national survey of older adults and adult children were released on June 15.
Among the findings that caught my attention was that 97% of those 65 and older are confident in their ability to handle their personal finances while four out of ten children of parents 65 or older are “very” or “somewhat” concerned that their parents “have already become or will become less able to handle their personal finances over time.”
The survey also found that nearly one in five adult children who said that they are in touch with their parents’ doctor indicated that the health care provider has mentioned concerns about “your parents mental comprehension.”
Yet, only five percent of the same group of adult children reported that health care providers ever mentioned any concerns about your parents handling of money. Only two percent of those over 65 who participated in the survey reported that a health care provider has ever asked about “how you are handling money issues and problems.”
“Of particular concern,” noted Cruz, is that “seniors with mild cognitive impairment can perform most daily functions but have trouble with other tasks such as following their medicine regiment or managing their finances.”
The situation opens the door to both unintentional mistakes and financial abuse.
More information about the Investor Protection Trust’s Survey can be found by clicking here.
An informational brochure on how to protect yourself and older adult family members from senior financial exploitation is yours by clicking here.
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