As we age, our mental acuity may fade due to physical impairments, side
effects of medications, or early signs of dementia. Most people want to
retain their independence, especially when it comes to their finances,
but at some point they may become vulnerable to theft from caregivers,
scams, or other unscrupulous people. Elder financial abuse is estimated
to affect about two million Americans every year with losses in the
billions of dollars.
You may have arrangements in place for what happens to your assets upon
your death and may have even addressed your potential incapacity with a
living trust document or durable powers of attorney. While these are
typically important pieces of estate planning, the decision to turn
over your finances to someone else is often difficult and too often
comes during a medical emergency.
At Vintage we’ve designed a new service to simplify your finances, preserve your financial independence as long as possible, yet have the transition to your trusted designee go easily and according to your wishes. In setting up this service you can designate an individual that would take over your finances, often a son, daughter or grandchild that may be the successor trustee of your trust. We can help outline your wishes and open the communication with them so that they understand their role and when they may be needed.
We’ll assist in creating a custom document where you’ll outline your financial objectives and give us guidelines on when to investigate suspicious activity in your accounts. We’ll monitor your account activity from month to month and, if unusual transactions occur, we’ll check with you to ensure there’s no problem. If you were unaware of the transactions, we'll even help investigate. And if you don’t seem able to handle your finances, you will have already instructed us who to contact to step in.
Your custom document can also include language to express a desire to pay a child-caregiver if necessary, or to have copies of your statements delivered to other beneficiaries if your trustee takes over your finances.
In short, our Senior Security Services takes your financial planning and security to a whole new level.
Why don’t other financial advisors offer this service?
Most financial advisors are salespeople that sell financial products and are paid a commission. At Vintage, we are paid only by our client. As a result, highly customized, helpful solutions, not commissions, are what drive us to provide a higher level of service.
Doesn’t my living trust do this?
Your living trust may be a critical piece of your estate plan but your attorney isn’t in a position to monitor your finances. Often a living trust will spell out the procedures to have you declared incompetent so that a successor trustee can take over, but this often involves medical professionals and/or the court system. Our hope is to avoid that by sharing concerns we may have with your designee and/or your doctor so that they may discuss it with you before more-serious problems arise.
Can you monitor my checking account?
We prefer to consolidate your checking account with your brokerage account. These accounts offer check writing, debit cards, online access, online bill paying and they are interest bearing. Your Social Security, pension, and other regular income checks can be direct deposited to the account and we’ll check to make sure you receive them each month. This can simplify your finances and also allows an easy transition to your designee.
Will you put me on a budget?
No. It’s your money and your decision on how to spend it. As with all of our clients, we’ll point out if you are overspending and are likely to run out of money. Our role is to help see your financial goals through even if you can’t handle your day-to-day finances.
What if my financial goals change?
The document is your instruction to us and you’ll just need to make changes to it. If we feel someone else is dictating the changes or the new direction is irrational, we’ll share our concerns with your designee.
Can you prevent financial abuse?
In many cases of elder financial abuse, a thieving caregiver or scam artist begins with smaller dollar amounts and then increases the amounts if they go undetected. Our hope is to be able to catch the theft before it becomes substantial, but we don’t have any way of completely preventing it.