Don't Become the Victim in a News Article
PROTECT YOUR ASSETS WITH ESTATE PLANNING
Recently, a headline from Minnesota caught our attention: “Daughter-in-law accused of stealing mother-in-law’s assets faces 12 felonies.”
We don’t get many clients who are concerned about their children or other family members stealing from them. But, in many cases, these types of situations arise unexpectedly and, sometimes, unintentionally.
In the case of the Minnesota woman, her son and daughter-in-law transferred her real property to themselves and wrote checks out of her bank account for their own desires while failing to make her long-term care payments. Presumably, in order to do all this, they likely had been given power of attorney.
When choosing an agent to represent you as your power of attorney, it is crucial to choose someone responsible who you trust fully with your finances and assets. Like in the Minnesota case, there are avenues to prosecute financial exploitation of vulnerable adults but they don’t solve the problem as it is occurring. A responsible agent will help prevent problems from arising in the first place.
Sometimes even responsible people can be tempted when they run into hard times. There are other ways to make sure your assets are safe from exploitation. You could choose co-power of attorney agents to serve jointly or create a trust with explicit instructions regarding the usage of trust assets. Some people put their children’s names or close friends on bank accounts, hoping to avoid probate, but this could result in accounts being drained due to irresponsibility or financial difficulty.
Every family and every situation is different. This is why we believe there is no “one size fits all” approach to estate planning. By filling out our estate planning questionnaire and sitting down with our attorney for an initial consultation, you can be sure you’re getting exactly what you need to protect your assets for your unique situation.