Prepare Powers of Attorney to Prevent Elder Abuse

Will a simple power of attorney prevent elder abuse? Your loved ones can become a silent victim of elder abuse. In many cases, a relative can fall into the clutches of scammers and fraudsters. Family members, caregivers, neighbors or contractors can take advantage of loved ones.

To answer my question, you need to understand the victim and their family. Carol Goar, in a January 4, 2013 Toronto Star article entitled “Protecting parents from financial abuse,” offers sound advice.  Goar is quite correct in understanding families have difficulties talking about financial issues.

Parents tell me they have problems talking with their children about money. Children can have a sense of entitlement when it comes to a parent’s money. This can make the parent victim to abuse. Strained and short conversations follow.

Every Family Is Different

Siblings often don’t get along. Some parents I advise are afraid of starting financial discussions with their children. Some children live beyond their means, have bad marriages or financial setbacks. They often require a parental bailout.

Some children cannot deal with addictions to drugs, drinking and disasters.

Successful children are often unsympathetic to those who never left the family home. They resent those who constantly seek a parent’s attention and money.

Can you prevent a parent from using their money to win their children’s love?  Who decides when parent’s lavish gifts are a sign of abuse? The child who needs or benefits is clearly conflicted.

Powers of Attorney: How Can Families Protect Parents?

Families will always have secrets. Lonely and isolated relatives become repeat targets for those practicing abuse. Perpetrators will keep going back until the well runs dry. Abusers can coerce victims to keep quiet or risk worse treatment.

Powers of attorney for property can be useful tools to help victims.  Your relative or parent may be unable to stand up against the abuser. In such cases, the attorney can step up to confront the abuser. However, this means the attorney must monitor or be aware of the problems.

Some parents may object to children acting as their attorneys. They naturally resent the intervention from children.

Parents can place restrictions in the power of attorney document to address their concerns.

Dangers of DIY Powers of Attorney

In the past, I have advised clients to take advantage of the free power of attorney forms on government websites. Because of identity theft, I no longer recommend this.

Most financial institutions, like banks, will no longer accept a POA at face value. POA documents are not standardized. A legal deparment must examine each POA. After careful scrutiny, the institution may not recognize a power of attorney.

There are so many options and dangers involved with powers of attorney. The elderly need proper advice to protect themselves and their money.

Abusers can use the powers of attorney against the grantor parent.

More about avoiding the dangers of powers of attorney in another post.

If you have a problem with powers of attorney, contact me now by calling 1.877.679.4557 (toll free).

You can read another post and my free guide POA guide:

About Edward Olkovich

Edward Olkovich (BA, LLB, TEP, C.S.) is a nationally recognized author and estate expert. He is a Toronto estate lawyer and Certified Specialist in Estates and Trusts. Edward has practiced law since 1978 and is the author of seven books. Visit his website,, for more free valuable information.

2013 © This information is not financial, legal, tax advice or a substitute for professional advice. Always consult with a professional before taking any action.