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  Fraud Officer Helps Seniors Safeguard Their Finances

Feb 09, 2018 15:03 ET

An elderly widow, robbed of her life savings - even the title on her own home - by her unscrupulous middle-aged son. An elderly couple coerced into changing their will by a family member who is jockeying for the pending windfall.

These are just a couple of the sad cases D/Cst. Martin Franssen has dealt with as part of his job in the DRPS Major Crime - Fraud Unit.

He's an unapologetic crusader for the elderly, for those who have found themselves overwhelmed by their financial affairs late in life. For those confused and upset over family pressures and the unwanted interventions from unscrupulous friends.

Part of his crusade, when he's not investigating new cases or pursuing charges in court, finds him in local libraries, church basements and community centre halls. He's there on cold mid-week nights, educating handfuls of seniors at a time about the law and how to safeguard their wealth and their future plans.

He talks to them, openly and honestly, about the kinds of fraudulent activity happening every week in Durham Region. He wants to arm them with knowledge and awareness.

For some, the information is overwhelming and a lot to digest. The Substitute Decisions Act; the Power of Attorney Act, Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee; qualified mental capacity assessors, fiduciary responsibility; the Continuing Power of Attorney over Property rules - the amount of information can be overwhelming.

Some attendees require more follow up information and appointments are made to discuss particulars with family advisors or trusted lawyers. But his point has been made to make you aware of the rules and to make sure you've had those difficult conversations with your loved ones so they know what plans you have in place and will respect your final wishes.

Some of his key messages are:

*When written down, your last wishes are a legally-binding document, providing you are over the age of 18, of sound mind and have it witnessed/signed by someone not related to you
*A will protects your personal wishes - be precise and make it as clear as possible
*To reduce family arguments and misunderstandings, find a reputable lawyer to draw up your last will and testament for you, including who makes decisions if you become mentally incapable of doing so
*Shop for lawyers like you shop for any professional service - ask friends who they use and trust, research potential candidates online
*If no will exists, the Office of the Public Guardian will take over your estate, liquidate it and give it to your successor

To contact D/Cst. Franssen for more information or to see his presentation, call him at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 5356 or email him at

Future talks available to the public include:

March 7, 2018
Time: 12h00-14h00
Durham Palliative Care
Subject: Fraud Awareness and Protection

March 21, 2018
Time: 18h00-21h00
Oshawa Public Library
Subject: Fraud Awareness and Protection

March 28, 2018
Time: 18h30-20h30
Bowmanville Library
Subject: Power of Attorney and Last Wills and Testament

April 21, 2018
Time: 11h00- 15h00
Oshawa Library
Subject: Fraud

May 13, 2018
Time: 14h30 - 16h30
Church group at 300 Kendalwood Road, Whitby
Subject: Power of Attorney and Last Wills and Testament

Oct. 9, 2018
Time: 13h00-16h00
Ebenezer United Church, 1669 Courtice Road, Courtice
Subject: Power of Attorney and Last Wills and Testament

Below are attached files.
Power of Attorney Seminars (JPG file, 5,960.9K bytes)