Sunday, October 31, 2010

Financial planners face ethical dilemmas when candidates show dementia or Alzheimer's


The New York Times has a story in a series called “The Vanishing Mind” on Sunday, Oct. 31, “Money woes can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s”, by Gina Kolata, link here.

Spouses and more often adult children have first learned about parents’ Alzheimer’s disease by because of emptied bank accounts, collection notices, or even foreclosures.

The article gives the story of an obstetrician-gynecologist in Miami whose son, a CBS correspondent, found out he had lost everything through a complicated series of events.

Worse, there was a case where an adult son got guardianship of his father in Wyoming, but a neighbor got another lawyer to rescind the custody, and then got the will changed. It’s surprising—and scary -- that the legal community would allow a third party to pull something like this.

The article discusses the ethical quandaries that financial planners face if they suspect clients have diminished capacity, and the law in the area seems to be evolving slowly.

However, some banks have partnered with geriatric care management companies to develop financial supervision and watchdog mechanisms to report suspected abuse to adult protection authorities.

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