By Garrett Spangler, J.D., LL.M., Senior Wealth Strategist
The day may come when we can no longer manage our finances. Elder financial exploitation has been on the rise as people are living longer and increasingly likely to encounter some level of cognitive decline while remaining physically able-bodied. There are several steps you can take to make any necessary transition a smooth one when the time comes to get help with your finances.
- Start planning early. Begin having a conversation with a family member or a friend that you would like to assist you. The day may never come when you need help with your finances, but making decisions while you can still understand and identify the best person is important for you and your family.
- Spend time reviewing your financial information with your designee. This may include making a list of your financial institutions, your account numbers, any relevant contact information, the location of legal documents, passwords for digital devices, and instructions for how to access this information from secure locations will be important information they’ll need to manage your finances on your behalf.
- Consider additional ways to simplify your finances. Are income streams set up for direct deposit? Is online bill pay in place for recurring expenses? Have you subscribed to alerts for any inconsistent bills? Getting things in order now will make any transition in the future much more seamless.
- Consider creating and placing a power of attorney on file with your financial institutions. While you may still manage your finances, the agent named as the financial power of attorney will be someone you trust so adding them to an account before it is necessary can allow them to receive copies of financial statements or check to ensure they will have access to your finances if an emergency arises. Getting a power of attorney in place now will save considerable time and effort in the future.
- Share your wishes with your family. It is a good idea to let your loved ones know who you have selected to provide help with your finances when needed. It will reduce the chance any disagreements could arise within the family over who would best be suited for the role and what your wishes may have been.
Taking steps to plan for your financial future is important. While most financial planning involves saving and spending goals, it is also important to have a plan in place to address the need for someone else to manage your finances should it become necessary. Be sure to reach out to your estate planning attorney and financial advisor to discuss the options for putting together a plan today.
About the Author – Garrett C. Spangler, J.D., LL.M.
Garrett Spangler is a Senior Wealth Strategist who also leads the Planning Committee. In his role, Garrett works with clients on a variety of planning areas such as trust and estate planning, wealth preservation, income taxes, and liability exposure. Prior to joining Bryn Mawr Capital Management, Garrett practiced trust and estate, tax, and corporate law with law firms in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. Garrett earned his law degree (J.D.) and Master’s in Taxation (LL.M.) from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law and his bachelor’s degree from Penn State University’s Smeal College of Business.
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