If you are managing the finances of a loved one, new resources can help

As many as 25 million Americans are managing money or property for a family member or friend who is unable to make financial decisions and pay bills. In Florida, Hector stepped in to help his elderly mother after a niece stole nearly $100,000 from her. Despite his own severe disability, he has worked every day to make sure her nursing home bills are paid and her accounts are in order. “When you have to take care of someone else’s finances, you feel more responsible for their affairs than you do for your own. It’s overwhelming.”

Kristin in Virginia had to take over financial management for her 35-year-old brother when he suffered a traumatic brain injury in a devastating car wreck. “Taking over financial caregiving for my brother was especially challenging when coupled with the physical and emotional trauma of his accident. Even though I’m a financially savvy individual, I had no idea where to get help…. Unfortunately, there was no guide, no checklist, or a book of best practices to refer to.”

The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (Bureau) recognized the need for easy-to-understand tools to help caregivers manage a loved one’s money and created the Managing Someone Else’s Money guides. The Bureau designed the guides to help family members and friends who are serving in four different fiduciary roles:

  • Agents under a power of attorney
  • Court-appointed guardians of property
  • Trustees
  • Government-benefit fiduciaries (Social Security representative payees and VA fiduciaries).

The guides walk people through their new duties, tell them about protecting their loved ones from financial exploitation and scams, and list places where they can go for help. The Bureau also launched a brief video featuring interviews with people who have used the Managing Someone Else’s Money guides to help them navigate their role as a financial caregiver. The video explains who might benefit from the guides and how to order copies or download them. Watch the video at consumerfinance.gov/msem.

Together with state and local organizations across the country, the Bureau is empowering older Americans to have a more secure financial future. Sometimes family members, caregivers, and others in the community must pitch in. The Managing Someone Else’s Money guides will help anyone tackle the role of financial caregiver.

This content was provided by the Bureau.


The Bureau has customized the guides for Georgia; these can be viewed using the following links for each topic:

You can also learn more about protecting your rights and finding financial help through Empowerline.

Naomi Karp

Naomi Karp, J.D., is Senior Policy Analyst at the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection’s Office for Older Americans. She focuses on elder financial exploitation and the impact of diminished decision-making capacity on financial security. Previously, Karp worked on a variety of aging issues at the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging and AARP’s Public Policy Institute. She was a legal services attorney in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.