There may come a time when your elderly parent or vulnerable relative needs some additional help with his or her affairs. To ensure that your loved one is best protected, it is crucial to keep an eye on the early warning signs that indicate there might be a problem. Below, our top rated Dallas estate planning attorneys highlight five of key warning signs that suggest your aging parent may need some assistance with legal or financial affairs.
- General Lack of Awareness About Finances
One of the earliest warning signs that a senior citizen needs help with his or her overall affairs is a general loss of financial awareness. How exactly this manifests itself will vary widely based on the individual in question. As soon as you notice any adverse change in your aging parent’s general financial acuity, you need to follow up on the issue. Figure out exactly what is going on with his or her finances. If your loved one is struggling to understand or manage his or her finances for the first time in decades, that could be the sign of a bigger problem.
- Unopened Mail/Bills
A good way to check up on how your aging loved one is managing his or her affairs is to look for unopened mail or any unopened bills. Of course, general unopened junk mail is not really an issue. However, if important mail is starting to pile up — especially if it never used to be that way — that may be an early warning sign that your parents needs some help.
- Creditors Starting to Make Calls
When people start missing payments, an onslaught of calls from aggressive creditors will not be far behind. According to a study from the AARP, older Americans (65+) are taking on new credit card debt at the fastest rate of any demographic group. If your loved one is getting calls because he or she is falling behind on bills, you need to take action. There are many cases in which seniors who get in trouble actually have the financial resources to pay their bills, but they are simply losing track and forgetting to make the payments.
- Being Victimized by a Scam
Unfortunately, elder financial fraud is a serious problem. According to the most recent data from the National Council on Aging (NCOA), senior citizens lose up to $36.5 billion per year as a result of financial abuse. If you notice any signs that your aging parent or vulnerable loved one has been targeted by a disreputable company, an untrustworthy person, or an outright scammer, you need to move quickly to protect their interests.
- Struggles with Tasks of Daily Living
‘Activities of Daily Living’ (ADLs) is a healthcare industry term that is used to refer to the general, often mundane tasks that we all do to care for ourselves and organize our lives. ADLs include everything from cleaning and maintaining the house to shopping and preparing meals. If your loved one is starting to have trouble with certain ADLs, it is good time to sit down with them and discuss his or her financial affairs, legal affairs, and what changes might be needed to help them manage day-to-day life.
Get Help from a Dallas, TX Estate Planning Lawyer
At Bennett, Weston, LaJone & Turner, P.C., our Texas estate planning lawyers have the skills and experience to help you protect your elderly parent. To set up a fully confidential consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us at (214) 691-1776 or toll-free at (888) 991-1776. From our office in Dallas, we serve communities throughout the region.