October 28, 2020 Elder Law

There is No Such Thing as Bullet Proof, Just Bullet Resistant: Measures for Minimizing the Potential for Fiduciary Financial Exploitation

By Slade V. Dukes, Rebecca C. Morgan, and Randolph Thomas

After the recent publication of a short article for the ABA Criminal Justice section, Financial Exploitation by Agents under Powers of Attorney: It Is a Crime!, that examined financial exploitation by an agent under a power of attorney, we were asked to write this short piece for Voice of Experience, focusing on financial exploitation committed by fiduciaries, such as an agent under a power of attorney. Although much of this article focuses on powers of attorney, it bears mentioning that part of the planning documents attorneys may prepare will include a nomination of guardian. The suggestions we offer later in this article are focused on the agent under a power of attorney, but many can be applied when considering the individual to be nominated as the guardian. Ultimately, our bottom line is that financial exploitation is a crime, regardless of the perpetrator’s title or relationship to the victim. It is our goal for this short piece to offer some thoughts and suggestions for attorneys to proactively minimize the client’s chances of becoming a victim of financial exploitation by the fiduciary.

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