The best time to protect yourself against possible elder abuse is to do so long before it could ever be an issue.
Both federal and state governments have recently started to pass laws to address the growing incidents of elder financial abuse in the U.S. While these laws are good and necessary, they share one common flaw.
The laws tend to only protect against elder abuse at the time it could happen, when one is elderly.
That is the correct legal way for legislatures to tackle the issue.
On the other hand, on a personal level, people would more adequately protect themselves, if they made plans long before they are elderly.
This advice was discussed in a recent Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog titled "Seven Tips for Protecting Clients from Elder Abuse."
People who make plans before they become elderly, are at a significant advantage.
One of the things they can do with the help of an attorney, is to draft documents that determine in advance how mentally incapacity would be defined for them. That way if they start having problems, they will have documents in place to let someone else take over.
This can be better than relying on an elderly person, who is starting to see some signs of mental impairment, to recognize the problems and let someone else take over before a bad actor comes along and commits elder financial abuse.
Working with an attorney beforehand, lets you do a lot of other things as well, such as creating trusts, advanced medical directives and powers of attorney.
Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (June 13, 2017) "Seven Tips for Protecting Clients from Elder Abuse."