Did you know a national survey conducted in 2010 by Elder Investor Fraud found that one out of every five people over the age of 65 has been the victim of financial swindle?
Many elderly use a legal document called a power of attorney (POA) to appoint a trusted individual to manage their personal affairs. The process is inexpensive and the forms can easily be obtained from the Internet or a local library. The elderly rely on loved ones or close friends acting under a POA to assist them with complex financial affairs. Sometimes, however, these trusted individuals are misdirecting or stealing the assets of the person they pledged to help.
During Montana’s last legislative session, Rep. Kris Hansen, R-Havre, introduced the “Uniform Power of Attorney Act” and it passed both houses — 100 percent unopposed. This bill was supported by all of our local legislators, as well as AARP, the state auditor’s office, the Montana Bankers Association, Montana Independent Bankers, Montana Credit Unions, the Montana Health Care Association, the Montana Hospital Association and Disability Rights Montana.
Effective Oct. 1, Montana’s Uniform Power of Attorney Act is designed to provide important protection and safeguards for the elderly and others who grant powers of attorney. It also provides clarity for the financial institutions and others who rely on the POA. More importantly, the POA Act provides remedies and sanctions against those who would abuse that authority.
For those who need or will soon require a power of attorney, you are encouraged to use the form that was developed and incorporated into the Uniform Power of Attorney Act. The new forms will be available on or before Oct. 1.
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Power of Attorney Law Will Protect Vulnerable