For many in Woodland Hills, the thought that they would ever be in a position to not make decisions for themselves may seem unfathomable. Yet no one can anticipate when they may become incapacitated, and without the proper planning, one might find his or her decision-making privileges handed over to another who they may not know. States often employ public caretakers and guardians to assist people who have become incapacitated or been determined to be incompetent. While many of these professionals fulfill their duties admirably, others may have proven themselves to be less than honest.
The recent arrest of a caretaker in Orange County illustrates this point. The man is accused of stealing over $1 million from a now-deceased Mission Viejo man. The victim, who suffered from dementia, had also signed over power of attorney to the caretaker. Law enforcement authorities were first made aware of the man’s activities after officials at the banks were the victim held accounts contacted adult protective services. On top of facing counts of white collar crime and theft, the caretaker as also been charged with elder abuse. Officials are concerned that there may be other victims of his criminal activities of which they are currently not aware.
While it may be difficult to anticipate whether one that has been entrusted with another’s decision-making authority has bad intentions, people can help to lessen the risk of becoming victims to theft and financial abuse by carefully considering who they choose to give such powers to while they are still in the right frame of mind to do so. Those who need assistance in this process may be wise to secure the services of an estate planning attorney.
Source: KTLA “O.C. Authorities Seek Potential Additional Victims of Caretaker Who Allegedly Stole $1M From Elderly Man With Dementia” Race, Alex, Nov. 17, 2017