Susan M. Graham, Certified Elder Law Attorney, Senior Edge Legal, Boise, Idaho
If you joke that you are getting forgetful, have lost your keys or might be getting Alzheimer’s–and you make these statements at your bank or with your financial investment people, watch out!
An attorney friend told me one of her clients did just that, and his brokerage account was frozen. He received a letter from his broker stating that unless a conservator was appointed by a Court to handle his finances, or a Trustee is appointed for the account, the account will be closed.
The employees of the brokerage firm were well trained to be on the alert for clients who may have diminished capacity to appropriately handle their finances. The company seeks to protect their clients from losing their investments, but its informal process can make it difficult for clients to undo the frozen status of their accounts.
The lesson: don’t joke about having a “senior moment”, talk about losing things, having dementia, or other such stories when meeting with employees of financial institutions. Their way of protecting you may create a lot of extra work and expense for you to reverse the company’s actions.