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Pronounced estate planning focus: elderly financial abuse

A recent national bank survey of America's elderly and that demographic's estate planning readiness reveals that a clear majority of older individuals view finances as a private affair.

That is a mistake in many instances, given the outsized vulnerability of that group in money matters. American seniors have a figurative bulls-eye on their backs for scammers seeking to financially exploit them.

That is of course much harder to do when mom or dad - or another senior member of a family - has visited important financial topics with other family members and solicited the advice of an experienced estate administration attorney. Third-party knowledge of matters relevant to assets, accounts, distributions, core planning documents and so forth serves as a key deterrent to fraud. So, too, does an implemented estate plan that addresses all material concerns.

The above-cited CNBC article concedes that legions of Americans - young would-be planners as well as older individuals - have a problem getting sensibly started with implementing a sound strategy and crafting the tailored documents necessary for achieving it.

Here is that report's essential advice, in a nutshell: take baby steps.

That is, avoid being overwhelmed by the entirety of the exercise by identifying main tasks/goals and focusing on them one at a time. Your legal counsel can help you identify what is important, along with the follow through that is needed to secure firm results and peace of mind.

The CNBC piece underscores the point that, while some estate plans indeed entail complex strategies and a host of interrelated legal instruments to promote a planner's aims, many don't. It is often the case that the bottom-line objectives in a given estate plan can be fully promoted through the creation of just a few focused documents. Those often include a will, a health care directive and powers of attorney that give trusted parties the ability to make decision in the event of incapacity.

Established estate administration attorneys routinely work with clients to fully promote their planning goals and help keep documentation relevant and fully updated.

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