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When dementia threatens clients' money Dementia poses a challenge for financial advisers who serve clients showing symptoms of the disease, according to this article on Money. For starters, slow progression of the illness may make onset difficult to ascertain. And symptoms are similar to ordinary, age-related memory loss. Clients also may be in denial, or even hide symptoms. And complicating matters even more, they also can fall prey to scammers, even family members, raising the specter of elder financial abuse. FINRA has addressed the issue, proposing a requirement for firms to make reasonable efforts to get a trusted contact person for each customer, and permitting firms to place temporary holds on withdrawals from a customer account if there is a reasonable suspicion of financial exploitation. Advisers should discuss the topic with their clients early on and take the necessary steps to prepare for the possibility. One strategy is to put up a revocable living trust funded with the clients' assets. Having long-term care insurance is also recommended, as dementia may last up to 20 years and could be very expensive. Other concrete steps include working with a care manager and a knowledgeable elder lawyer to petition the court to appoint a guardian and/or conservator. Additionally, it may be useful to set the client up on an automatic bill pay program.

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