Amid growing concerns about the financial exploitation of seniors, industry regulators have put an emphasis on protecting seniors.   As a result, firms including financial institutions, including all banks are now required to request that clients provide a “trusted contact” whom the bank or firm can contact for several reasons, including but not limited to possible fraud or if an account holder appears to be incapacitated.

The rule—which was proposed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and became effective February 5, 2018—is designed to provide a greater degree of investor protection.  The trusted contact can be a family member, such as an adult son or daughter, whose contact information will appear on an investor’s account.

Although having a trusted contact could conceivably benefit investors of all ages, it might be especially useful for seniors.  Any investor could potentially be at risk, but the elderly often find themselves in more danger of financial exploitation and fraud. That is  because mature investors tend to have larger cash flows, feel embarrassment about being less capable to manage their own affairs, and have varying degrees of cognitive function.

Establishing a trusted contact gives financial firms someone they can call if they see signs that a client may be a victim of financial abuse or exhibiting signs of potential diminished mental capacity. Financial firms are now required to make a reasonable effort to obtain trusted contact information for accounts opened on or after February 5, 2018, and to request trusted contact information for existing accounts when periodically updating customer records as a part of routine business. Once a trusted contact is established, clients will receive written confirmation of the trusted contact information from TD Ameritrade. The trusted contact doesn’t have authority over a customer’s account.

It is suggested that you reach out to the bank of investment professional you work with if you would like to have a trusted contact added to your existing account.

 

About Jerry

Jerold E. Rothkoff, a practicing New Jersey and Pennsylvania attorney, is the Principal of the Rothkoff Law Group, an elder care law firm. Jerry dedicates his practice to serving clients in the areas of life care planning, long-term care planning, Medicaid & VA benefits, and advocacy for the elderly and disabled. He is past President of the NJ Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, former chair of the elder law section of the NJ State Bar Association, and past President of the Life Care Planning Law Firm Association. Jerry continues to be an outspoken advocate for the rights of the elderly and disabled. He writes for and gives presentations regularly to attorneys and other professionals about legal issues related to seniors and those with disabilities. Jerry’s community activities include the Twilight Wish Foundation, the Delaware Valley Stroke Council, the Alzheimer’s Association, as well as numerous other advocacy groups. When not in the office, Jerry spends time with his wife, Erica, and their five children, eighteen-year old identical twin girls, Liza and Julia, fifteen-year old fraternal twin boys, Evan and Gregory, and six-year old Aitan.

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