How a living trust can protect you as you age.

Fight back against elder abuse with a living trust!

As the population ages, more and more people in this country become vulnerable to elder abuse and financial exploitation every day. No one is immune from becoming a victim of abuse as evidenced by celebrities like Stan Lee.

When Stan Lee, the creator of numerous Marvel super heroes died last November at the age of 95, he left behind an estate of about 50 million and a string of court filings detailing allegations of elder abuse and financial exploitation. But these types of allegations aren't limited to millionaires. There are reports of people being exploited for a monthly social security check. The sad truth is you don't have to have millions to find yourself a victim of elder abuse and exploitation.

However, elder abuse is not inevitable as you age. There are steps you can take now to protect yourself.

What could have Stan Lee done to protect his own future? He could have set up a living trust with incapacity provisions. For example, had Stan Lee created a living trust with provisions for the management of his money and his care in the event of his future incapacity, it is likely he could have protected himself and his money as he aged. Instead, he found himself in court.  Stan Lee had to endure court hearings as well as questions from the press that would embarrass many people. 

In contrast to Stan Lee's experience, people with a living trust can decide their own future as they age. A living trust permits the creator, called "grantor" or "settlor," of the trust to choose his or her own incapacity arrangements. You can choose who will manage your money and how much you will be paid from your assets. You can also decide how and by whom you will be found to be incapacitated in the future.

For example, you may be concerned someone will try to declare you incapacitated to gain control of your money even if you are still able to make your own decisions.  To prevent this from happening, you can direct in your trust which physician or physicians will examine you to determine whether you are incapacitated. You can choose a physician you trust to examine you and make the correct decision about your incapacity. You can also direct in your trust that you want to stay in your own home and have caregivers as opposed to being moved to a nursing home. A will cannot do these things because a will is not in effect until you are dead. A living trust goes into effect immediately. By planning for incapacity now, you can reduce the risk you will become a victim of elder abuse later. 

If you live in North or South Carolina and would like to find out more about protecting yourself from financial exploitation and elder abuse as you age, contact our office at 704.887.5242 for a confidential consultation.


Nancy Roberts
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