Financial Elder Abuse the Focus of Senior Safe Act

“Financial service providers will now be encouraged to report suspected financial abuse through the promise of immunity, thanks to a new federal law signed by President Trump on May 24, 2018.”

Congress has decided to try the carrot instead of a stick regarding financial service providers and financial elder abuse, as reported byWealthManagement.comin the article “The New Senior Safe Act Encourages Reporting Financial Abuse.” The legislation removes several provisions that were in the Dodd-Frank Act, based on the thinking that certain measures in the act made it harder for financial service providers to act on behalf of their clients.

Within the new law is the Senior Safe Act, cleverly branded as the S$A, which began as a bill from Maine Sen. Susan Collins. She created the S$A based on Maine’s elder abuse protections. The concept is surprisingly simple: banks and financial advisors are often the first ones to spot elderly clients making uncharacteristic transactions, from large account withdrawals to wiring funds to people who are not family members in distant parts of the globe.

During the last decade, consumer advocates, state legislators, senior advocates (including AARP) and numerous financial professionals have attempted to make reporting of financial elder abuse an accepted best practice. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2016 identified more than 25 states and the District of Columbia that mandated reporting of suspected financial exploitation of the elderly.

A core component of the law links training employees to immunity for both the person reporting the suspected abuse and their institution, including credit unions, investment advisories, broker/dealers, insurance companies and agencies and transfer agents. These are all clearly defined in the S$A.

The institutions need to train their employees, while keeping in mind the privacy issues that arise, recognizing the need that the privacy and integrity of their customer’s needs to be respected.

There is one wrinkle that should be noted by financial professionals and institutions. The language is clear that not just any employee who reports possible abuse gains immunity. Rather, the immunity is granted for those who serve as a supervisor or in a compliance or legal function, who act “in good faith” and with “reasonable care.” The law also requires the institutions to keep records on the training its employees undergo and the identity of any permitted abuse reporters. The burden remains on the institution to be sure the correct person reports the suspected abuse.

Most states today have an elder abuse hotline, often through the state’s Office of Aging Services. It seems that anyone who suspects elder abuse or financial elder abuse should want to make a phone call to protect vulnerable seniors. The more people who get involved, the better for seniors.

Reference: (May 29, 2018) “The New Senior Safe Act Encourages Reporting Financial Abuse

Hear From Our Clients

“On the threshold of retirement, we finally decided to quit thinking we could self-prepare the requisite documents. We had previously had only a very simple will. We needed the necessary legal (including updated will) & health care docs but didn’t want to deal with the time & complication of legalese. Cindy made the process relatively painless. She took the time to explain and answer questions without trying to upsell services. We were done in 2 meetings plus the reading of emailed drafts. In addition to preparing the documents, Nelson Eldercare will be there when our adult children need advice on executing the plans we’ve put in place.So glad it’s behind us and would recommend Cindy and her helpful staff.”

- Bonnie

Cindy and her company treat their clients like family. Nelson’s offers clear, direct, and honest guidance in planning for your families security and future. No one wants to actively sit down and make these decisions, but Nelson’s makes this process seamless. I was so impressed with their willingness to answer all questions big or small. So glad I made the decision have them help my mom and dad and now me. You can’t go wrong with Nelson’s Elder Care Law.

- Hope

The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!

- Kerri

I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.

- Charlotte

Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.

- Pierce