Letter to Representative Joel Kitchens: AB-481 and AB-482 Amount to Financial Exploitation of Vulnerable Adults

As you know, I am an estate-plan attorney who has practiced in Door County for more than 40 years. I am a certified estate-plan specialist. I take great pride in the time and training I invest in estate-plan work for my clients, many of whom are retired and living in Door County. We take offense in being labeled as “vulnerable adults” simply because we are past the age of 60.

I understand that there are folks who try to take advantage of our seniors, but in my opinion, the legislation that has been proposed amounts to legislatively approved elder abuse.

Let me explain: You put power in the hands of folks who do not have a law degree and have little training or experience, and you authorize them to refuse to accept carefully prepared powers of attorney. These well-meaning nonlawyers have no idea of the consequences of their actions.

When you allow a bank teller the ability to delay important financial transactions that have deadlines and the delay can be for a significant period of time, this can cause irreparable harm. Accounts can be frozen, causing bills to go unpaid. How long do you think you could survive with your accounts frozen? And, there is no recourse for this travesty!

The legislation undermines our efforts to assist our clients and has incredible legal ramifications. We can do much better than this! I understand that we should do what we can to protect our vulnerable individuals, but this legislation, I believe, will cause more harm than it prevents.

I spend a great deal of time educating folks about the financial world so they understand the details of the plans I put together. I cannot begin to imagine the hurdles we are going to have to overcome as attorneys if this legislation passes.

Please do not support this legislation. Please take the time to talk to those who spend every day of our professional lives working in this area.

Bob Ross

Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin