Preventing Financial Abuse by Giving People Tools to Do the Right Thing


Report Covers: Managing Someone Else's Money in Texas

When a loved one deteriorates in health or mental capacity and can no longer manage their own money, we, as family members, often are the ones to step in. But with limited experience, it can be a maze to figure out the right things to do.  

As part of an effort to prevent elder financial abuse, Texas Appleseed is partnering with AARP Texas to adapt the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Managing Someone Else’s Money series for Texas. Using the pro bono talents of Baker Botts LLP attorneys and an advisory committee of dedicated experts, we are creating a series of five guides, in English and in Spanish, that walk people through their obligations under different scenarios of managing someone else’s money or supporting a family member in financial decision making. The guides will be ready in early 2017.

A team of AARP volunteers reviewed the guides to make sure they are clear and user-friendly. We are building their feedback into the final versions. Libby, who was a trustee for her mother for 12 years, remembered the challenges of navigating the rules and process. To help others, she created a graphic that we now use in each of the guides. “I am a visual person. It helps me understand things better,” she said. Martha, who had a power of attorney for her husband before he passed away, noted, “I think this is a ‘fantabulous’ guide. It gives people enough information to be able to ask the right questions.”  

By the end of the focus group, members were brainstorming about how they might use the guides — the People’s Law School and various trainings came up a lot. Karen, who has managed others’ money under a power of attorney many times, felt it would be helpful for people planning for the future: “We would want to use this in our wills training, for people considering granting a power of attorney.”

According to Tim Morstad, the AARP Texas Associate Director for Outreach and Advocacy, “Our partnership with Texas Appleseed is a great example of two organizations leveraging individual strengths to better meet the needs of our members and of Texas families.”

This post is part of Texas Appleseed’s 20th anniversary celebration. Between now and the end of December, we’re celebrating 20 of our proudest accomplishments. Learn about the rest of our work here and on social media. Donate now if you want to support the next 20 years of fighting for justice.