Few things cause more anxiety than finances. Everyone, from all age groups and backgrounds, experiences anxiety and uncertainty when it comes to financial decisions and welfare. In fact, according to a Bankrate article, “52 percent of U.S. adults said money has a negative impact on their mental health, including causing stress.” And this doesn’t necessarily include individuals facing other financial complications such as major life changes (i.e. moving from home to a nursing facility), potential scams, or the declining ability to manage one’s own finances thereby trusting a family member to make smart financial decisions.
All of this is to say, it is smart to equip yourself with knowledge that might just help prevent financial abuse. Here are 3 tips for preventing financial abuse from California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR).
Practice Preventive Banking
This is an easy step that you can do right now to help prevent financial abuse. Preventative banking involves some pretty simple steps and cautions that anyone with your best interest at heart will not fight.
First, set up direct deposit. If you know that your bills are automatically paid on time, it is easier to spot when a call asking for banking information to pay a bill is fraudulent. Secondly, it is recommended that PINs and ATM information, as well as your Social Security Number and checks be kept safe and private. Lastly, CANHR recommends that you never sign a blank check to anyone, and that you work with your bank to set up fraud alerts.
Be Cautious When Signing Powers of Attorney
Signing over power of attorney can be an intimidating task. It is important to make sure your power of attorney is someone you trust, who knows your goals and wishes, and will communicate with you. Financial power can easily be abused, one way to safeguard yourself is to meet with an attorney before signing a power of attorney, especially when it involves finances.
Be Aware Of Or Avoid E-Signatures
E-signatures are an easy way to gain access to an individuals financials, legally entrap someone in an agreement they don’t understand, or even steal someone’s identity. It is healthy to exercise caution with e-signatures and even avoid them completely by requesting hard copies of all documents anyone is asking you to sign. It is also not a bad idea to consult with someone you trust, or even an attorney before signing any documents.
Though it may be a sign of a loss of independence, making a plan for how financials will be handled as you age is an important part of preventing abuse and ensuring comfort. Learn more financial security tips from the CANHR factsheet.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of abuse or neglect, call Gharibian Law (877-460-1187) today for a FREE consultation and the best legal representation.