The primary reason elder financial abuse is allowed to happen is the lack of transparency in our current systems and processes. Upon appointing a power of attorney or trustee, encouragement or even a requirement should be made to have an outside accounting firm either perform the bookkeeping or oversee the bookkeeping. Furthermore, in this age of cloud technology it is not too much to ask that the books and records be hosted on a platform where all beneficiaries and professional team members have access to view the financial activity. Advisors, attorneys, and accountants need to see themselves as in service to the elderly client, not the trustee or beneficiaries – split loyalties can cause moral and ethical dilemmas. Those professional should be making the recommendation for transparency right out of the shoot before any impropriety, when the trustee is eager to show that their intentions are pure. If the professional is called upon to fulfill the role of trustee, there is even more reason for all to be transparent as it reduces suspicion by the family and increases accountability. In fact, it can be a positive differentiating factor for those professionals that are positioning themselves to be providers of that service. Just submitting quarterly reports is not an acceptable level of transparency today – there are better options in the marketplace for those intent upon doing the right thing – those books and records should hosted and regularly reviewed by an outside firm!

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