Where are your important documents?

We recently read an article on preventing financial abuse of the elderly, which was pretty much a summary of a report on abuse published by “AIG Retirement Services”. This was an American report and provided many statistics about the occurrences of financial abuse.

We will not go into those statistics here, but there was one part of the article which struck us as containing a lot of common sense, and something that may be all too often overlooked.

Almost too simple that it is easily missed or forgotten – you have done the laudable and sensible thing and prepared a financial power of attorney, sometimes many years ago, but where is the document?

The writer held a power of attorney from his father for many years, but it was never used. Had the writer been called on to use it, would it have been found?

From our experience certificates of title are misplaced more often than you would expect. It comes to light when the family home is being sold with final settlement rapidly approaching and the title cannot be found.

There is no reason to believe that the same would not occur with powers of attorney.

It is likely that when you need the power of attorney, you will need it quickly.

So, the simple lesson here is to put a note in your diary every year or two years to check and look at your important documents. This way you will know where they are and be able to locate them quickly. Even if they are in your solicitor’s strong room, at least you know that and you know where to get them quickly or even urgently.

Looking at these documents on a relatively frequent basis will also enable you to determine whether they are up to date or need to be changed.

Act now, recover later

Quite often elder clients have a viable claim but the perpetrator has no assets with which to satisfy any successful claim made. It is sometimes

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