Estate planning is a process that the whole family can participate in, however, sensitive details should remain confidential. If the wrong people get involved, the risks of fraud rise substantially.
If your parents experience estate planning fraud, the consequences could jeopardize their assets. Consequences including loss of trust and serious financial hardship can take a toll on your parent’s well-being and quality of life.
Sure, there may be other members of your family who have also encouraged your parents to begin planning their estate. However, pay attention to the underlying intentions of persons eager to participate. According to Money Crashers, coercion, threats and unreasonable demands for money all qualify as financial abuse. If people in your family have used coercion to relentlessly badger your parents to make financial decisions that do not align with their final wishes, this fraudulent behavior can rob your parents of control.
Equally as concerning is the mismanagement of financial resources. Family members undertaking responsibilities for monitoring, distributing, organizing and protecting financial accounts should have the highest standard of integrity. If you notice misuse or mismanagement, both outcomes are other forms of estate planning fraud.
Because estate planning deals so closely with personal assets and private financial information, you should encourage your parents to think carefully about who they wish to involve. If they have been the victims of fraudulent behavior, they may need to hire an attorney. A legal professional may have the resources to help your parents identify their next steps so they can hopefully prevent fraudulent activity from continuing. Careful monitoring on a regular basis can help you spot discrepancies so you can hopefully prevent fraud from happening at all.