While financial institutions of all types routinely err in accepting defective powers of attorney and handing over money, leading to elder fraud, individual banks and trade organizations are trying to correct this.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the self- regulatory organization of brokers such as Wells Fargo Advisors and Fidelity. Calls to its Securities Helpline for Seniors (844-57-HELPS) have highlighted the problem.
FINRA now proposes that whenever an account is opened or updated or “there is reason to believe that there has been a change” in the customer’s situation, the name and contact information for a trusted adult who is not on the account and does not hold a Power of Attorney be requested.
If actual or attempted financial exploitation is reasonably suspected, the person named would be contacted within two business days or, if that is not possible or if that person themselves is believed to be involved, an immediate family member would be contacted.
Money could be frozen for up to 15 business days. www.finra.org/industry/notices/15-37.
This proposal points out the importance of naming someone outside the family, who may no longer be around or who themselves may be suspects, and of considering naming someone with a legal obligation to report elder fraud. Your CFA, Certified Financial Planner, elder law attorney or geriatric care manager might be your watchdog.
Estate Planning attorney, Terry Garrett, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is active in the Texas and Austin Bar Associations. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.
She assists families of people with special needs, people planning for the retirement years and people administering estates.