A report from The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, detailed in a CFPB press release, “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Report Finds Hundreds Of Counties Nationwide Fighting Elder Financial Abuse With Community Efforts,” finds that hundreds of counties around the nation are creating community-based protection partnerships between social service agencies, financial institutions that serve seniors and law enforcement. When their efforts are coordinated, these partnerships can be effective in preventing, detecting and responding to elder financial abuse.
The CFPB recently released a resource guide and best practices to assist communities across the country to create their own protection partnerships to fight elder financial abuse. CFPB Director Richard Cordray said the new guide and recommendations can help more community stakeholders build these very helpful networks to pool information, expertise, and resources for addressing this growing crisis.
To address the rapidly growing problem of elder financial exploitation, communities across the country are working to bring together local stakeholders and resources to build protection partnerships. These protection partnerships—also called “networks”—can make it easier for different community stakeholders to detect and respond to elder financial abuse through case review and consultation, community education and professional training or advocacy.
The CFPB’s report takes a closer look at how protection partnerships work in several communities and their effectiveness in responding to elder financial abuse. It found that these voluntary community-based partnerships can increase reporting of suspected financial exploitation cases, improve partner skills and ability to combat financial exploitation, and provide consumer and professional education.
The CFPB’s recommendations include creating protection partnerships that involve law enforcement and financial institutions. The agency noted that professionals and volunteers working with or serving older adults should join to form protection partnerships in communities where they don’t currently exist. The participation of financial institutions and law enforcement is critical to improve response to cases.
A second and equally important recommendation for community stakeholders is to create protection partnerships in ethnically diverse or rural areas. These types of communities are often underserved and require expert services that include translation services and training on cultural competencies. A suggestion is offered to serve these populations: the creation of regional partnerships that will maximize efficiencies when resources are limited.
There are, however, some estate planning tools you can use to minimize your risk of falling prey to financial abuse in later years. Most are best done in conjunction with the creation of your estate plan and the help of an experienced estate planning and elder law attorney.
Planning ahead of time and communicating your plan to those who will need to implement it is always the best way to go. It’s one of the reasons why we at Family Estate Planning Law Group strongly encourage our clients to hold a Family Care Meeting. This meeting gives clients the opportunity (together with their financial and estate planning team) to outline their estate plan, any long-term care preferences or planning and concerns or planning against possible future elder financial abuse.
For more information on the Family Care Meeting or other elder law topics, explore our websiteand contact us to schedule your consultation today!
Reference: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (August 23, 2016) “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Report Finds Hundreds of Counties Nationwide Fighting Elder Financial Abuse with Community Efforts”