Preventing Elder Abuse via Estate Planning


While abuse comes in many forms, elders are prone to serious problem of financial abuse. Estate planning is a process that can create a comprehensive plan for the elders to plan their assets and finances. If you are an elder, you can even decide whom your assets must go to upon or demise.

You can also leave someone in charge of your assets to make medical decision on your behalf in the event when you cannot do so anymore mentally or physically. Estate planning can prevent elder abuse by three ways

  • Appointing a personal power of attorney
  • Creating a trust
  • Setting up a healthcare documents and healthcare directive

It is certainly a frightening thought to be exploited financially in the twilight years of your life. Especially if you become dependent on other’s care due to an illness or injury. For this particular reason you need to familiarize yourself with ways you can use a trust-based estate planning. This will give you an advantage to prevent yourself or a loved one from elder abuse.

Creating a Trust

One of the common mistakes you need to avoid is not drafting a clear and objective estate plan. Just like car insurance, you need to support your estate plan. In non-traditional families that involve multiple new spouses, ex-spouses adopted children, and stepchildren, the estate plan is bound to get complex. And you need to be clear about each detail to avoid internal conflict among family members later on.

Trust refers to a legal document that can help determine or nominate a person to whom your assets will go to in case of your demise. The assets you can include in your trust are bank accounts, jewelry, and property.

This trust will help protect you from any form of elder abuse. Once you create a trust you will be in complete control and have the right to decide who will inherit your assets.

You will also be able to nominate someone to decide what will happen to your assets in case of death or when you are no longer capable to communicate or speak due to incapacitation. This means no one will be able to manipulate you by taking advantage of your financial assets.

Appointing Yourself a Power of Attorney

It might make sense to keep your estate plan secret but you should talk it out with your attorney. In most cases, not telling or discussing an estate plan to anyone creates problems for family members. So, let your close friends and family members know about the distribution of your assets and personal health. It is the best way to prevent a series of misunderstandings and emotional turmoil.

The term power of attorney refers to a person who will have the legal authorization to act on your behalf to carry out your financial wishes. This can be in case of your mental or physical incapacitation or death.

Appointing yourself a power of attorney requires careful choosing of someone you can really trust. This will ensure that the person in charge will truthfully handle the entire financial affair and carry out all your instructions and wishing word by word.

Setting up a Healthcare Document/Directive

Many people in Queens, NY are not aware of their estate planning options. Remember that estate planning boils down to individual needs. So, approach living trust, living will, last will, and power of attorney as per your needs. For instance, make sure to choose the power of attorney that you think should represent you in the financial and legal capacity.

When you legally appoint someone to make your healthcare decisions on your behalf in the later years of your life, this is known as setting up a healthcare directive. In case you suffer from disease such as dementia or Alzheimer’s or go into coma, then the appointed person will be able to make all day to day and critical healthcare decisions on your behalf.

A healthcare derivative or document can prevent you from elder abuse because someone will be able to fight for your wellbeing and your rights on your behalf. This document will also contain details about your financial wishes and will be a written proof of who you wish your assets to pass on to.


When you keep an open line of discussion with your attorney about your estate plan, it allows you to make suitable adjustments over time easily. Also, not having a contingency plan is a common mistake in estate planning. But like updates, your attorney will recommend you to put in place a contingency plan for the sake of your beneficiaries.

Elder abuse is a real issue and you must learn about it to prevent yourself or a loved one against some people’s selfish acts of emotionally, physically or financially abusing you. Any of the above-mentioned estate planning strategies will not only ensure your wellbeing but also ensure that the people who truly care about you and the ones you really cherish get to inherit your assets once you are gone.

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