Millions of Americans are managing money or property for a loved one who is unable to pay bills or make financial decisions. This can be very overwhelming. But, it’s also a great opportunity to help someone you care about, and protect them from scams and fraud.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently released four easy-to-understand booklets to help financial caregivers. The “Managing Someone Else’s Money” guides are for agents under powers of attorney, court-appointed guardians, trustees, and government fiduciaries (Social Security representative payees and VA fiduciaries.)
If you fall into any of these four categories the guides can help in three ways:
- They walk you through your duties.
- They tell you how to watch out for scams and financial exploitation, and what to do if your loved one is a victim.
- They tell you where you can go for help.
It’s important to note that while these guides provide you with a general overview of your responsibilities as a financial caregiver, you should always talk to your attorney for further specification.
We’ve put together a simple overview of what the CFPB guides offer:
If you’ve been given power of attorney, you’ve been assigned to manage the money or property for someone else. This guide will help you understand what you can and cannot do in your role as an agent. It covers the four basic duties of a fiduciary and covers common forms of financial exploitations you should avoid.
A guardian of property is someone the court names to manage money and property for someone else whom the court has found cannot manage it alone. In Iowa, this is role referred to as “conservator.” The guide covers the responsibilities of this role, including four basic duties and other recommendations.
You may have been appointed trustee because a family member or friend is worried that he or she will get sick and will not be able to pay bills or make other financial decisions. This guide will help you understand what you can and cannot do in your role as a trustee. It covers your duties and provides many other tips about where to turn for additional help.
A government agency may appoint you to manage income benefits for a person who needs help managing those benefits. This guide will help you understand what you can and cannot do in your role as a representative payee or VA fiduciary.
If you’re helping manage a friend or family member’s finances, these guides are a great resource. We’re here to help you, too.