Two new bills have been introduced in the Michigan legislature that aims to protect elders and other vulnerable adults from being financially abused. If you are a regular follower of our blog, then you will recall our article a few months ago dealing with the issue of embezzlement from vulnerable adults, and how it is viewed as a form of vulnerable adult abuse.
Michigan Senate Bills 345 and 346 will require that financial institutions report suspected financial abuse of potentially vulnerable clients to the correct authorities. In addition, they would also have more legal leverage to delay making payments from accounts held by elder clients, if they suspect the account holder may be a victim of financial exploitation or abuse.
Although Michigan law is very specific about what constitutes embezzlement from a vulnerable adult, these bills aim to amend the Uniform Securities Act as it pertains to financial exploitation of seniors by family members. If the bills make it into law, financial advisers would be required to report suspected abuse to law enforcement and Adult Protective Services.
According to the nonprofit Investor Protection Trust, one in five older Americans report being the victim of financial exploitation. With Americans living longer, which means that retirement plans and savings accounts must now stretch to cover more and more years, this is a growing problem. Add to that the fact that the economy has not fully recovered, and medical costs are slowly rising with each passing year, older people are going to need their money more than ever.
In 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued an advisory outlining the best ways for banks to spot financial abuse and prevent it. One of their suggestions is to add services aimed at facilitating aging customers whose needs may differ from others. An example would be to allow seniors to provide the bank with advanced consent so that in the event that there are future financial discrepancies, a trusted family member or friend can be alerted.
These bipartisan bills that were introduced by Senators Ananich, Jones, Bieda, Gregory, Marleau, Hansen and Rocca. Thus far they have received wide support and are expected to make it into law without much opposition. We will keep you posted as these bills are considered by the different branches of Michigan’s legislature. However, until then, if you or a loved one have been accused of abusing a vulnerable person, whether that abuse is physical, sexual or financial, we are here to help you. Call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245.