Financial exploitation of the elderly is a growing concern in American society, especially since a large number of people from the ‘baby boomer’ generation are beginning to reach retirement age. Many exploiters may see the elderly as attractive targets because they believe older people have a weaker state of mind and would be less likely to try to stop the exploitation. One action an elderly person in Florida may take to prevent financial exploitation is through estate planning.
A 2012 nationwide study, which surveyed 756 state regulators, medical professionals, financial planners and social workers showed that the elderly may be particularly vulnerable to financial exploitation. Approximately 65 percent of these professionals regularly encounter financial exploitation of the elderly, according to the results of the survey. Also 78 percent of the professionals interviewed believed that the elderly in America are especially vulnerable to investment fraud or other types of financial exploitation.
Some experts point out that the findings of the survey are not precise, since many times financial exploitation is underreported. However, they do believe that the survey provided anecdotal evidence that financial exploitation is a problem for a large number of elderly individuals. They also note that financial exploitation happens to elderly individuals of all types of economic background ranging from those with substantial assets to those with modest means.
These recent findings are all the more reason for the elderly in Florida and elsewhere to not procrastinate on their estate planning. The sooner one plans his or her estate the sooner the elderly person will be protected from potential financial exploitation. However, it is important to properly draft estate planning documents in order to ensure they will be legally enforceable and in accordance with the individual’s wishes.