Updated “Managing Someone Else’s Money” guides just in time for holidays

AARP and Texas Appleseed today released updated versions of five “Managing Someone Else’s Money” guides—fresh with references to recently enacted laws—in time for the holiday season when many families gather for important decision-making conversations.

The series of guides, originally distributed in March, are a tool for financial caregivers in Texas who manage money or property for those unable to do so for themselves. The interactive resource is available online, in English and Spanish, at www.ProtectTheirMoneyTX.org. Print-friendly, PDF versions are also available for download.

Nearly 3.5 million unpaid family caregivers in Texas provide a great labor of love by helping their parents, spouses and others manage their financial affairs; however, they often lack the tools they need to avoid scams, fraud and unintended conflicts of interest. In addition, about $5 billion in Texans’ assets are controlled by a court or guardian, a complicated task for which few individuals are prepared. The new toolkit, with five guides, fills this void and helps financial caregivers know the best ways to safeguard loved ones and their assets.

“Increasingly, Texans are acting as fiduciaries. They’re managing money or property for aging loved ones,” said Bob Jackson, AARP Texas director. “These fiduciaries and other supporters are a critical source of assistance for older Texans… But these folks often have no training. We hope the guides will be a helpful reference for caregivers, other family members and the organizations devoted to helping them.”

The updated series of guides includes changes to several Texas laws that impact the ability of caregivers to manage someone else’s money. The updated guides come at a time of the year when families often gather around the table to discuss caregiving decisions of a loved one. During conversations like these, AARP and Texas Appleseed’s set of guides can walk Texas caregivers through their duties, provide information on scams and financial exploitation, and list resources.

“Financial exploitation of vulnerable Texans is a growing problem, with just 1 in 44 cases ever reported,” said Ann Baddour, director of Texas Appleseed’s Fair Financial Services project. “This toolkit offers important information to help ensure that loved ones who can no longer manage their money are well taken care of and do not become victims of financial abuse.”

Each of the guides is tailored to the needs of different fiduciary/supporter capacities, including people who are:

  • agents under a power of attorney,
  • appointed by a court to be guardians or conservators,
  • named as trustees under revocable living trusts,
  • appointed by a government agency to manage income benefits, and
  • acting as a supporter under a supported decision-making agreement.

A legal team from Baker Botts, led by former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Phillips and Keri Brown, provided pro bono support to create these guides. The state-specific guides were adapted for Texas from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s “Managing Someone Else’s Money” series.