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Handling an Elder's Mismanaged Property

by Chris Cooper, Financial Planning Expert
February 26, 2015

Question: What steps can I take if I find my father’s property is being mismanaged?

Answer: When you speak of property, I will assume that you are speaking about all the things your father owns, such as houses, cars, bank accounts, investment accounts, businesses, and all.  First, see if you can discuss what you see and are concerned about with your father.  If he not able to do so, then this is a symptom of something greater, such as dementia or mental illness.  If your father generally took care of his own property and affairs, including the hiring of others to help him such as gardeners, accountants, investment professionals, house keepers, and the like, and now those workers do not seem to be doing their  jobs, then you need to speak with an attorney who is familiar with guardianships and conservatorships, as your father may be a danger to himself or others, or is not able to manage his own affairs, and he may be a victim of elder abuse, exploitation, or self-neglect.  Further, some of these professionals or a neighbor, friend, or other acquaintance may be committing crimes against your father, which means you need to call in the police and Adult Protective Services in his county of residence. 

But first of all, try to discuss what you see with your father, as it is his property that you are concerned about, and not just your inheritance.

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Chris Cooper is the owner and founder of Chris Cooper & Company, Inc., a fee-only financial planning firm for elderly persons and the owner and founder of ElderCare Advocates, Inc. a private geriatric care management and long term care consulting firm. As a California Licensed Professional Fiduciary, Chris can serve as  Conservator of the Person and Estate under court appointment,  as Agent under a Durable Power of Attorney for Financial matters and Health Care matters.

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