How to handle the finances after the death of a loved one.
In September 2016, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation issued a Consumer Alert titled “Managing Finances After the Death of a Loved One.” The alert makes a number of helpful recommendations to take following the death of a family member or loved one including:
- Gathering important documents such as wills, Social Security cards, insurance plans and brokerage account statements.
- Notifying banks, brokerage firms, etc. of the death.
- Notifying credit reporting agencies to prevent new credit lines being opened in the deceased’s name.
- Taking care of household bills.
- Guarding yourself from scammers who prey upon the families of recently deceased persons.
Take Preventative Measures
Just as important, we believe it can be crucial to help elderly family members manage their finances before death in the later years of their lives. In our securities practice, we have repeatedly seen elderly persons who have been abused by unscrupulous stockbrokers and financial advisors in the later years of their lives.
The pattern is very familiar. Elderly parents retire to Florida, thousands of miles away from their adult children. One of the parents passes away, leaving the remaining parent alone, often in deteriorating mental and physical condition. The remaining parent becomes extremely lonely.
At this point, a stockbroker, financial advisor, or insurance salesman swoops in to become the elderly person’s “friend.” Many times, the broker visits and speaks to the elderly person much more often than the person’s own family members.
The elderly person accepts the broker’s advice without question and trusts the broker implicitly. The broker abuses the situation by recommending investments that generate high fees, regardless of whether they are in the best interests of the client.
After the elderly person passes away, the adult children discover that Mom or Dad had nowhere near the money everyone believed they had. This is because the money was lost in poor investments, or in the worst cases, was stolen by crooked financial advisors.
If you have an elderly parent, we recommend that you pay attention to their relationship with their brokers or financial advisors. Ask to meet them. Look for warning signs.
If you believe your elderly parent has been victimized, feel free to contact our lawyers in West Palm Beach for a free consultation. Please contact us online or call 561-659-7878 or Toll Free 877-915-4040.