We have seen our clients and friends need to assist older family members with their financial affairs. If you have not been asked to assist yet, you are likely to be put in this role in the future. To help someone in this “financial caregiver” role, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has published four guides titled “Managing Someone Else’s Money” to assist those in this role.
Each guide is tailored to individuals in a specific role, and will be a valuable resource for anyone in the role now or in the future.
- people named agents under a power of attorney,
- those appointed by a court as a guardian or conservator,
- trustees in charge of living trusts, and
- those appointed by a government agency to manage Social Security or veteran’s benefits.
[highlight]Each of the guides has three purposes:[/highlight]
- to walk caregivers through their duties,
- to tell them how to watch for scams and financial exploitation (and what to do if a family member becomes a victim), and
- to let caregivers know where they can turn for additional help.
We will discuss each guide in separate posts over the next several weeks.
The second guide is for “[highlight]Help for court-appointed guardians of property and conservators[/highlight]”. Like many people, you may never have been a guardian of someone else’s property before. That’s why they created these informational pamphlets.
This guide will help you understand what you can and cannot do in your role as a guardian. In that role, you are a fiduciary. For this guide, a fiduciary is anyone named to manage money or property for someone else. You will find brief tips to help you avoid problems and resources for finding more information.
This guide is for family and friends serving as a guardian of property, not for professionals or organizations. The guide does not give you legal advice. State laws vary, so you may have additional duties. [highlight]Talk to a competent Trust & Estate lawyer if you have questions about your duties.[/highlight]
The guide includes the following example when one may find themselves in this role.
Your family member or friend may not be able to make decisions on his own about his money and property. For this guide, let’s call him Martin. After a hearing, the court has named you guardian of property for Martin. You now have the duty and power to make decisions on Martin’s behalf about some or all of his money and property. The court has given you a lot of responsibility as Martin’s guardian of property.
If you want to learn about how to become a guardian of property, this guide is not designed for you. Talk to a lawyer or read other guides from your state bar association or others.
The first guide which dealt with powers of attorney can be found here: [ilink url=”http://www.rootsofwealth.com/managing-someones-else-money-series” style=”note”]Power of Attorney[/ilink]
To download the guide, click on the agua button below:
[button link=”http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201310_cfpb_lay_fiduciary_guides_guardians.pdf” color=”aqua”]Court Appointed Guardians of Property[/button]
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