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As our parents age, their vulnerability to exploitation can unfortunately increase, particularly in states like Florida, where there is a notably large senior population. Protecting aging parents from exploitation requires a proactive and informed approach. It involves understanding the common types of exploitation they may face, such as financial scams, property theft, and emotional manipulation. By staying informed about the most current scams targeting older adults, setting up solid financial protections, and maintaining open lines of communication, we can significantly reduce the risks our parents might face. Equally important is ensuring they have access to reputable legal and financial advice and fostering a supportive community network. 

How to Protect Your Aging Parents in Florida

Protecting aging parents from financial exploitation requires a multi-faceted approach, especially given the various ways that exploitation can occur. Here are some strategies specific to the state of Florida as well:

  • Legal Documentation: Ensure your parents have all necessary legal documents, including a durable power of attorney (allowing someone they trust to make decisions on their behalf), a healthcare proxy, a living will, and a regular will. These documents can help protect your parents’ interests if they cannot decide for themselves.
  • Financial Monitoring: Help your parents monitor their financial accounts for unusual activity, such as setting up alerts for large transactions or changes in account information. If your parents are comfortable, they can grant you or another trusted family member a way to view their accounts to help monitor activity without giving control over the funds.
  • Limit Access: If there are concerns about impulse control or susceptibility to scams, consider creating a more restrictive financial environment. This could include limiting the amount of funds in checking accounts or setting lower withdrawal limits.
  • Education and Awareness: Educate your parents about common scams targeting seniors in Florida, including phone scams, email phishing, lottery scams, and home repair scams. Remind them never to provide personal information or money to unknown individuals and to consult with a trusted family member or friend before making significant financial decisions.
  • Report Suspicions: Familiarize yourself with the procedures for reporting elder abuse and financial exploitation in Florida. If you suspect that your parents are being exploited, contact the Florida Department of Elder Affairs or the Adult Protective Services in your area. To report fraud or financial exploitation, contact your local law enforcement office or the Florida Division of Financial Institutions consumer helpline at 1-800-342-2762. Reporting is confidential and can help initiate an investigation.
  • Regular Check-ins: Maintain regular communication with your parents to check their well-being and discuss any concerns they may have. Regular visits can also help you spot potential signs of exploitation, such as sudden changes in their financial situation, new “friends” who seem overly interested in your parents’ finances, or unexplained withdrawals or charges.
  • Community Resources: Utilize local resources such as senior centers, community legal services, and elder affairs programs. These can provide additional support and education for both you and your parents.

Contact a Tampa Area Elder Law Attorney

By taking all of these steps, you can help protect your aging parents from financial exploitation and ensure their safety and well-being. It is also highly advisable to involve an attorney or financial advisor who can offer advice and help monitor for signs of exploitation. They can also provide guidance tailored to your parent’s specific circumstances. Verras Law has experienced estate planning and elder law attorneys who can help you protect your parents’ assets in Florida. Contact our office today.