Robbed of the Mind: Working with Mentally Incapacitated Clients

O'Connor, Robert
November 2002
Journal of Financial Planning;Nov2002, Vol. 15 Issue 11, p60
Academic Journal
This article offers advice to financial planners who work with mentally incapacitated clients. An advisor who has had a long-standing planning relationship with a client may become the primary point of contact for the whole family when an incident occurs. A planner is less likely to fill this role when he or she has simply provided the client with products. Planners should be prepared to remind clients of the practicalities of getting older. People who want remain in their homes should have some idea, for instance, of the cost and difficulty of making these homes handicapped-accessible. One way for financial planners to get the attention of clients is to offer some examples of what could happen to them. As the U.S. population ages, the issue of long-term care is likely to take a higher position on the political agenda. Financial planners are often better placed than family members to notice signs of mental deterioration. The advisors see the clients at spaced intervals, and they can attune themselves to changes in spending patterns and the level of financial awareness of a client. Problems may be revealed by the questions that a client asks, or by indications of increasing worry. An alert financial planner can pass on these concerns to relatives. The role of a planner becomes easier when he or she has a good relationship with other members of the family of a client. Ultimately, planers find working with incapacitated clients and their family both a difficult yet rewarding experience. INSET: Planning Ahead: Get It in Writing.


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