Understanding the need for personal financial oversight
Caregiving involves more than just providing assistance with medical problems. It also includes helping your loved ones manage his or her finances to ensure that he or she will be able to pay for needed care and live more comfortably. Often times, these duties fall to family members who lack the professional experience to act on someone else’s behalf. You become what is known as a “fiduciary,” which means you must act in the best interests of the person you are representing. Most people do not have experience acting in that capacity. The job can be especially tough if the appointed caregiver lives far away or has other demands on his or her time. There may be missed warnings signs: a slowly growing pile of unopened bills, several overdraft notices, or repeated calls from creditors. The stakes are high: bad decisions can deplete a loved one’s assets and cause disputes between family members. Suddenly, a lifetime worth of assets hangs in the balance in need of comprehensive protection.
Enter a new resource designed to safeguard and monitor your personal finances: financial caregivers. Financial caregiving typically involves bill paying, deposits, tax preparation, and other financial duties. A financial caregiver will help you organize all of your important financial documents and materials so that it is easier for your track your finances. This organization is also extremely valuable in the event that a family member or loved one needs to take over this role. The financial caregiver relationship is a partnership between you and your caregiver. The organization will ensure that all bills, including health and life insurance premiums, are paid on time. The goal is to remove the burden created by managing your personal finances.
A good financial caregiver keeps true and complete records of all money and property. They will keep a detailed list of everything you receive or spend, including the amount of checks written and deposited, dates, and other important information. Your financial caregiver will keep all receipts, even for small expenses. An example of a tool that is often utilized by a financial caregiver is setting up automatic deposit and bill-paying systems to simplify money management. The key element in the financial caregiver relationship is trust. Your caregiver should make you feel at ease with sharing control over your assets by including you in all decision making and providing frequent updates.
The most beneficial aspect of enlisting a financial caregiver to assist with your personal finances is the protection you receive from fraud or other financial exploitation. A financial caregiver monitors your money and property for any sudden changes or suspicious transactions, such as checks made out to unfamiliar companies. Because your financial caregiver develops a personal relationship with you, they are aware of any inappropriate relationships where a relative or friend may be exerting undue influence. Undue influence is often a key element in financial abuse cases. Your financial caregiver can prevent this from occurring and help remove any oppressive influences. The caregiver also maintains a relationship with your relatives and other loved ones so that you are not cut off from those who care about you. Another form of protection offered by financial caregivers involves consumer scams. These scams are constantly changing, ranging from “too good to be true deals” and sweepstakes promotions to double billings and identity theft. Whether it is a clever scam artist or desperate family member, your financial caregiver acts as a buffer between you and those trying to take advantage of your savings.
The most valuable tool in establishing a financial caregiver is a power of attorney. A durable power of attorney is a legal document that designates another person (your “agent” or “attorney-in-fact”) to make decisions on your behalf in the event that you become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions for yourself. This authority is strictly limited by what the power of attorney document allows. Your financial caregiver will ensure that your financials, as described in the power of attorney, are being handled according to your wishes. In some circumstances, your financial caregiver may also make sure that there is no improper use of existing powers of attorney. These powerful documents can become a license to steal if placed into the wrong hands.
Family Wealth Guardians brings a professional and personal approach to handling clients’ financial and estate planning needs. Our financial caregiver services are designed to include loved ones and family members so that those important relationships do not become strained. This financial transparency is an important part of the financial caregiver process and helps provide a more accurate assessment to your family members or loved ones. Family Wealth Guardians produces monthly reports that present a very clear picture of your current financial situation and details all expenses. Our representatives meet with you in the comfort of your own home several times per month in order to review all of your financial information. At these meetings, we help our clients sort their mail and pay all bills in a timely manner. Your caregiver will also help you dispose of all “junk” mail that is looking for personal information or false payments. Following their time with our financial caregivers, clients of Family Wealth Guardians will experience confidence with their financial situation and freedom from the burden of managing personal finances. It is never too early to start planning ahead and preparing for your future. Let Family Wealth Guardians help you find financial peace of mind.
Ryan King, Esq. – President & CEO
Ryan graduated from the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law. He completed the Florida Bar Exam and was duly admitted by the Supreme Court of Florida to the Florida Bar in 2013. Prior to joining Family Wealth Guardians, Ryan worked as an attorney and legal advisor serving clients with Accountants and Business Advisors, Inc. in Gainesville, FL where he assisted clients with a variety of legal issues. Using his experience in estate planning and corporate law, he continues to further his legal education in an effort to better serve the needs of all clients of Family Wealth Guardians.
Ryan completed his undergraduate work at the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Sport Management and a minor in Business. While working on those degrees at Florida, Ryan was a member of the Florida men’s basketball program. He spent nearly five years working under Coach Billy Donovan and his staff as a team manager and graduate intern. His time with the Gators included two national championship rings from the 2006 and 2007 season to go along with a lifetime of experiences. Outside of work, Ryan remains passionate about sports and spending time with his family. He devotes much of his free time to playing golf and visiting different stadiums and venues to watch his favorite teams.
Tina Pratt – Financial Caregiver & Office Manager
Tina recently completed her AA in Business Administration as well as an AS in Health Services Management, and is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Health Services Administration at Santa Fe College. Tina brings 25+ years of accounting and administration experience to the Family Wealth Guardians team. She particularly enjoys her time spent visiting with clients in their homes and making sure they remain informed about, and secure with, their personal finances.
Tina remains very active in her community by volunteering with the Florida Chapter of The ALS Association. Over the past year, she served as the volunteer walk coordinator for Ocala’s first Walk to Defeat ALS, the signature fund raising event for The ALS Association. She is hoping to develop another fundraising walk in Ocala in the near future, as well as one in The Villages. When not at work or volunteering, she spends a great amount of time with her three beautiful grandchildren.
Family Wealth Guardians
3300 S.W. 34th Avenue – Suite 124A
Ocala, FL 34474