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Cape Cod Estate Planning Blog

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Senior Safe Act Makes its Way through the House

Working to protect seniors from losing their retirement savings

The H.R. 2255 legislation, now passed, will reform regulation of credit unions, community banks, and small regional banks. The Senior Safe Act is part of this large bill. It is designed to improve the abilities of companies to work with regulators to protect the elderly, as recently reported in Think Advisor’s article, “House Passes Senior Safe Act.”

The Senior Safe Act, previously H.R. 3758, is companion legislation to S. 223, which was passed by the Senate Banking Committee. This piece of legislation encourages financial services firms to provide appropriate training to front-line employees and producers. At the same time, the bill also grants immunity to those who report suspected abuse to regulators and law enforcement authorities.

The Act’s provisions, previously introduced by Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME), exempt financial institutions and some of their employees from liability in any civil or administrative proceeding, when those employees report the potential exploitation of a senior citizen to a governmental agency. Provided though, that the institution has conducted training and the report is made in good faith.

Dirk Kempthorne, president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers, said in a statement that the Senior Safe Act, “facilitates improved communication between insurance producers, life insurance companies and regulators in the event of suspected financial exploitation of senior citizens.”

“By encouraging the reporting of suspected fraud, the Senior Safe Act improves the ability of companies to work with regulators to protect seniors from losing their retirement savings,” said Kempthorne.

Paul Schott Stevens, president and CEO of the Investment Company Institute, said in a statement that the “vital legislation will establish a federal protection for financial institutions that act in good faith and with reasonable care to disclose the suspected exploitation of senior citizens" to a regulator or law-enforcement agency.

“While many states already shield financial institutions from liability when they disclose suspected elder financial abuse, this bill will provide such protection to all financial institutions, including all mutual fund transfer agents,” Stevens said.

The full Senate is being asked to pass the legislation by the ICI and ACLI, so that it can be sent to the Oval Office and be signed into law.

While this is a step in the right direction, it is still important to have an experienced estate attorney by your side who maintains an ongoing relationship to ensure you are not being taken advantage of. At Case Estate Law, PC, we have an ongoing Client Care Program to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your estate plan in order to protect your family. For more information on how we can help you avoid any potential exploitation, visit our website and schedule your consultation today!





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