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Children of Seniors Must Watch Out For Fraudulent Caregivers

Grown children of senior citizens often hire a caregiver for their parents. But from an estate planning perspective this has the ability of going awry. It has been known to happen that the caregiver develops a relationship with the elderly parent and secretly marries him or her, according to FindLaw's KnowledgeBase. Such marriages allow the former caregivers access to your inheritance and must be watched out for.

Where the fraudulent caregiver is still married when the patient dies, there is very little that the children can do to stop the caregiver from inheriting.

However, New York estate planning law as developed by the courts can provide a way out for families to overcome a fraudulent caregiver's shenanigans.

In one case, a woman married a 72-year-old man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease after just a week of working for him. She then transferred his assets into joint accounts and had herself named his pension beneficiary. She was found by the court to have taken unfair advantage of the father’s condition. Of course it was the children that had brought the case since the father did not even remember the marriage happening.

This case is a positive reminder that there are legal protections available for children of seniors trying to protect themselves and their parents from secret marriages that can lead to inheritance problems.

The best protection, however, is not after the fact, but beforehand. Putting together a comprehensive estate plan, which clearly lists out the names and identities of people entrusted with the estate, can prevent a great majority of the damage done from a fraudulent secret marriage.

People can only successfully prey on those that are unprepared.

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