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The Role of a Financial Caregiver

Caregiver and elderly man reading paperwork

Financial caregivers play an important role in helping loved ones maintain the best quality of life possible. That includes ensuring all finances – from routine to complex – are managed wisely.

To do so, here are some tips for financial caregivers, as well as the different roles a financial caregiver can hold.

Tips for Financial Caregivers

Learn the rights and restrictions that apply to your role. Financial caregivers are fiduciaries with a duty to act and make decisions on their loved one’s behalf. Learn the legal implementations of your assigned authority to better facilitate your role.

Manage money and other assets wisely. Financial caregivers are in charge of any daily, unexpected and future expenses their loved one may incur. Due to fixed income or limited finances, it is extremely important that caregivers eliminate unnecessary costs and budget accordingly to ensure all money is properly allocated.

Recognize danger signs. Seniors are major targets for financial abuse and fraud. Make sure to stay alert for signs of scams or identity theft that may put your loved one’s assets in jeopardy.

Keep careful records. When acting as a financial agent, proper documentation is required. Keep well-organized financial records, including up-to-date lists of assets and debts, and a streamline of all financial transactions.

Stay informed. Be aware of changes in financial ability and take appropriate action. Stay current on changes to laws affecting seniors and implement accordingly.

Types of Financial Caregivers

Understanding your role as power of attorney 
POA is designated by an individual and gives you authority to act and make decisions on their behalf, including managing and having access to their bank and other financial accounts. Authority continues if they become incapacitated, and ends when power is revoked or they pass away.

Understanding your role as trustee
Authority is given once you are named trustee or co-trustee of a revocable living trust. As a trustee, your authority applies to only property noted in the trust, authorizing you to protect, manage, and distribute the assets as directed in the trust document. Authority continues after the death of the trust creator or grantor.

Understanding your role as federal benefits fiduciary 
A federal benefits fiduciary is appointed to accept and delegate federal government benefit payments, such as Social Security and Veterans Affairs benefits, in the beneficiary’s best interest. Funds for the beneficiary are received through an account set up solely for this purpose. As a representative payee for Social Security benefits or a VA fiduciary for VA benefits, you are required to keep detailed records of all transactions related to the beneficiary and file annual reports detailing how benefits were used.

You want the best for your loved one and their finances. If you’re a financial caregiver and you need help on what to do next, we’re here to provide professional advice. Have a conversation with a banker or call us today at 513-576-0600.

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