Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Seniors, put your money in trust!

From the Getting Going column in today's Wall Street Journal:
Financial swindles are one of the fastest-growing forms of elder abuse. . . .

Yet it's not dodgy financial experts or crooked caregivers who are the biggest threat. It's family. Children, siblings, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and even spouses are the people most likely to rob the elderly, according to elder-law advocates and attorneys. The data that exist -- albeit in a spotty manner -- suggest that financial crimes rank as the third-most prevalent abuse of the elderly.
At the branch level, Terry Savage reports, banks are trying to combat such abuse.
BITS, the business strategy and technology division of the Financial Services Roundtable, has created a "fraud prevention tool kit" designed to help banks educate their employees to protect their senior customers.

"Banks are now focusing on elder-scams," Catherine A. Allen, BITS CEO, says. "While financial institutions are not legally responsible for monitoring potential exploitation of customers, this is an area in which banks can make a positive contribution to the well-being of vulnerable customers."
Seniors who are prime targets for family financial abuse are also prime candidates for revocable trusts overseen by responsible corporate trustees. Any ideas on how better to meet this need?

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