A colleague from the American Association of Trust, Estate and Elder Law Attorneys recently reported a true story that's well worth passing on to my readers:
I had a very interesting case last week.
Dad (88) had been a client of a brokerage firm for decades and has been an active trader with quite a penchant for investing strategies. A delightful and chatty gentleman. The daughter calls me to say that dad received a letter from the brokerage that unless a guardian/conservator or a trustee is appointed for the account, dad's accounts will be closed.
I talked to dad for about 20 minutes by phone (so I understand my assessment of his mental state was limited) he seemed very lucid, clear and intelligent. Apparently, dad had locked himself out of the online account a few times and called the brokerage support line. In jest, he said he had a senior moment and another time that it must be "early Alzheimer's".
Unbeknownst to him, the broker alerted their risk management team and they started a case and carefully monitored his accounts and ultimately decided that his capacity to manage his accounts had diminished - purely based on his phone calls - and they made the demand to have the aforementioned appointment of a conservator (guardian in Florida).
I had a long series of conversations with the brokerage firm, and they are standing firm to their decision and think that ultimately, this is in the best interest of dad, even if he leaves their platform. The rep I spoke to read back word for word, what dad had said on these calls (at one point dad said he was treated by a doctor for short term memory loss!) The red alerts at the brokerage firm went off on that one...and the resulting scenario ensued.
Post 9-11, joking about a bomb in your suitcase at the airport is no laughing matter. And with the greying of the population, neither is clowning around with your financial institutions about having Alzheimer's or senior moments. Your financial institutions have to protect themselves, so be careful what you say, even in jest!