Today’s guest blogger is Sandra McKinnon, Human Sciences Specialist in family finance serving southwest Iowa.
Are you managing money or property for a loved one who is unable to pay bills or make financial decisions? According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 40% of those over 60 years old have a power of attorney. That amounts to over 26 million people in the U.S. with this responsibility.
Being legally designated as power of attorney is one of 4 different types of financial caregivers, also known as a fiduciary. You must be trustworthy, honest and act in good faith.
Other types of fiduciaries include: a court-appointed guardian of property (known as a conservator); a government fiduciary (such as a Social Security representative payee); and a trustee under a revocable living trust. Each of these is a separate responsibility.
Each has duties, powers and responsibilities. In general, there are 4 basic legal duties of a fiduciary:
- Act only in best interest of your family member or friend
- Manage their money and property carefully
- Keep their money and property separate from your own
- Keep good records and report as required
Another role of a financial caregiver is to watch out for financial exploitation and be on guard for consumer scams. If you suspect exploitation of an older adult, call the Eldercare Locator 1-800-677-1116 or visit www.eldercare.acl.gov. They will assist you in finding the state or local agency that investigate.
For more information, visit https://www.consumerfinance.gov/consumer-tools/managing-someone-elses-money/ or seek guidance of an appropriate legal professional.