FOX8 On Your Side: Protect your elderly loved ones from theft by caretakers

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Hiring a caretaker is a big decision.  Your loved one’s well-being is number one, but you should also be thinking about protecting them from theft.

FOX8 On Your Side spoke with legal expert Steve Friedland, a professor at Elon University School of Law who is known across the country.

“If someone becomes a legal guardian, obviously that is a really important role and you want to trust someone that is really trustworthy," he said. "Otherwise, if you have someone who is that kind of caretaker for your elderly parent, abuse can and often does occur."

Friedland recommends putting the agreement with the caretaker in writing, specifying how a guardian’s power can occur.

According to Friedland, “These kinds of powers of attorney can only sometimes be triggered when the person becomes incapacitated.”

Friedland emphasized being clear about when, where and how the caretaker may act on your loved one’s behalf.

“They should be making their own decisions as much as they can until they are no longer capable of doing so,” he said.

According to Friedland, “It does not have to be a general power.  It can be a limited power so that there are checks and balances.  That is the way our Constitution is set up.  It is not a bad idea.  It has worked that way for over 200 years and I think it can work similarly with guardians.”

Friedland said it is important to remember that no matter how honest you think someone is, access to another person’s assets could be tempting.  By putting the agreement in writing you have accounting and accountability, which Friedland said will help your loved one avoid becoming the victim of theft.