Over 22 million older Americans have named someone to make financial decisions on their behalf in a power of attorney, and these guides provide critical information for financial caregivers on how to act in a person’s best interest and successfully manage money and property in Virginia.
“Millions of caregivers have the responsibility of making someone else’s financial decisions, which can be an overwhelming process with a mix of state and federal laws and procedures to navigate,” said Attorney General Mark R. Herring. “In the next 15 years, the number of Americans over 65 years of age is going to double. Now is the time for families and friends to start having these discussions and these guides can help get the conversation started. These guides will give financial caregivers the critical tools and information they need to perform their duties and protect their loved ones from financial exploitation. We need to protect our seniors and I hope these guides will encourage well-intentioned, caring individuals to become financial caregivers for loved ones in need, and give them the confidence, tools, and guidance to do it successfully. Thank you to CFPB Director Richard Cordray for educating folks on this important issue and for choosing Virginia as the very first state for the rollout.”
“The first line of defense to protect aging Americans and keep them financially secure is to arm their financial caregivers with information they need,” said CFPB Director Richard Corday. “The new versions of our ‘Managing Someone Else’s Money’ guides make it easier for millions of Americans managing money or property for a loved one to learn about unique rules in their states and find help close to home.”
“This guide will be an invaluable asset to the thousands of caregivers across our Commonwealth. Moreover, it will help them avoid potentially costly mistakes and prevent misdeeds that unfortunately occur too often, threatening the financial status of so many of our seniors,” said Commissioner Jim Rothrock of the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS).
Caregivers have a variety of circumstances that lead them to take on the responsibility of managing financial decisions for another person. A caregiver could be a spouse, son, or daughter managing finances through a power of attorney for an older Virginian who has Alzheimer’s. In other situations, a caregiver could be a court-appointed conservator for someone with mental illness or a developmental disability. With a significant prevalence of dementia, stroke and other cognitive impairments among older Americans, a large portion of Virginia’s financial caregivers are acting on behalf of older Virginians.
The guides provide financial caregivers with critical information on how to get started, how to prevent scams and financial exploitation, and how to fulfill their duties. The guides also explain the role of a fiduciary, how to act in the person’s best interest, maintain good records, and manage money and property carefully. All of the information is tailored to performing these duties within the laws and guidelines set forth in Virginia.
Since the circumstances of financial caregivers vary greatly, four tailored versions are available at the links below:
- Agents under power of attorney
- Court-appointed conservators
- Trustees under revocable living trusts
- Government benefits fiduciaries
Attorney General Herring and the CFPB’s Office for Older Americans are eager to help all stakeholder groups get the word out about the guides. Please reach out to CFPB’s Naomi Karp at Naomi.firstname.lastname@example.org if you or your organization is interested in distributing guides to your community, members, or parishioners. Hard copies will be made available here free of charge.
This key partnership with Director Cordray and CFPB’s Office for Older Americans is part of Attorney General Herring’s commitment to addressing issues that affect older Virginians. He has also revitalized and expanded the Commonwealth’s Triad program which is facilitated by the OAG. Triad is a partnership between older Virginians and law enforcement to prevent crime and reduce fear of victimization by increasing awareness of scams and fraud targeting seniors. With over 200 active chapters, Virginia’s Triad is has the highest number of local groups and is the only Triad in the country with a statewide coordinated office at the Executive Level of government.
For more information on Attorney General Herring’s initiatives for older Virginians, please visit our website:www.oag.state.va.us.