The Legal Corner by Sam A. Moak: The Advantage of Strong Financial and Estate Planning Advisors

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The information in this column is not intended as legal advice but to provide a general understanding of the law.  Any readers with a legal problem, including those whose questions are addressed here, should consult an attorney for advice on their particular circumstances.

Financial abuse and fraud targeting older individuals cost anywhere from $2.6 billion to $36.5 billion annually, as estimated by the National Council on Aging.  This is a sad reflection of our society. 

To protect yourself from financial exploitation, it is best to create a comprehensive estate and financial plan that will ensure your protection during your lifetime and the well-being of your loved ones and supported causes in the future.

Building these plans involves a dedicated team comprising professionals like estate planning attorneys, financial advisors, accountants, insurance agents, and even spiritual advisors.

These plans benefit anyone who wants to provide for their loved ones or support a cause even after they’re gone and is not only for the wealthy.

What can a Financial and Estate Planning Team do for you?

1. Keep a close watch on your accounts

Your financial advisor has the ability to closely monitor your accounts for any suspicious activities. If they notice anything unusual, they will notify you right away. Additionally, the firms can temporarily hold funds if they suspect any form of financial exploitation is taking place.

2. Properly execute your documents

Your attorney is the person you can trust to ensure that your wishes are properly documented and legally binding. They will work closely with you to accurately capture your intentions and create a solid plan. If you have concerns about someone potentially taking advantage of your trust, your attorney can recommend additional measures to protect you. Your attorney can also help define specific roles in your estate plan to ensure that your trustee follows your instructions faithfully.

3. Safeguard your plans against undue influence

Throughout your financial and estate planning journey, various changes may arise. It’s crucial to ensure that any modifications made to your estate planning documents or beneficiary designations are not influenced by someone taking advantage of you. If you are unable to make decisions independently, we prioritize protecting the integrity of your documents. Your best interests and intentions will always be the priority.

4. Maintain historical knowledge of your finances

Since you meet with your certified public accountant or tax preparer for a long time at least once a year, they have a good understanding of your financial situation. This puts them in a favorable position to identify any potential issues in your spending habits before they escalate into significant problems. Their expertise and regular check-ins can help you stay on top of your finances.

5. Stress-free bookkeeping services

As people age, they often prefer not to deal with the hassle of managing their checkbook or handling bill payments, especially if their spouse used to take care of these tasks. To address this concern and prevent potential financial abuse, there are reliable advisors who offer bookkeeping services. This will ensure that your bills are paid on time and that someone is closely monitoring your income and expenses. This helps ensure that your financial obligations are met based on your needs and priorities, rather than someone else’s personal desires.

Our dedicated estate planning team is committed to safeguarding your interests and protecting you in every way possible. With our expertise and personalized approach, we can implement various safeguards tailored to your specific needs and concerns.

Don’t hesitate to schedule a meeting with us to learn more about the comprehensive protection we can provide as you age gracefully. Your well-being is our top priority.

Sam A. Moak is an attorney with the Huntsville law firm of Moak & Moak, P.C.  He is licensed to practice in all fields of law by the Supreme Court of Texas, is a Member of the State Bar College, and is a member of the Real Estate, Probate and Trust Law Section of the State Bar of Texas.