Financial exploitation occurs for a number of reasons; sometimes the motive is insidious; but often it is a lack of education about the responsibilities of managing an elder’s finances. A power of attorney (POA) document allows an individual (Agent) to manage a person’s (Principal) finances. The Agent has legal responsibilities called fiduciary duties. Those responsibilities are that the Agent must act in the Principal’s best interest. The Agent has to pay bills, taxes, etc. on time. The Principal’s money must be separate from the Agents; keeping all titles, bills, and expenses in the Principal’s name. Joint bank accounts are not allowed. The Agent must keep complete records of all income and expenses.
Preventing financial exploitation is a community effort. Considering a POA? Meet with an attorney. If you have Power of Attorney, know your responsibilities. If you suspect that someone is being exploited, speak up. To report potential adult abuse call (585) 268-9319. For more information visit Allegany County’s Department of Social Services or call (585) 268-9316.
Allegany County Department of Social Services is a member of Partners for Prevention in Allegany County (PPAC).
Remember Prevention Works!