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A trusted contact can help protect your accounts

Anyone can become a victim of financial exploitation. Studies show that elder financial abuse in particular costs victims nearly $3 billion each year—and that number is rising.

Why name a trusted contact

While it might be uncomfortable to think about, advancing age or declining health means that you may not always be able to manage your finances as you do today. If that happens, you might make decisions you wouldn't have made when you were well—or someone else may step in to make decisions for you, but perhaps not in the way you intended.

Financial exploitation can be alarming and unexpected, especially because it can happen at the hands of a family member, friend, or caregiver.

How a trusted contact can help

Our investment professionals are on alert for the signs of diminished capacity and financial exploitation of our clients. Individual investors can partner with us to help prevent financial exploitation by naming a trusted contact to look out for their interests. Industry regulations External site permit us to reach out to this contact if we have concerns that you may be a victim of financial exploitation or are experiencing diminished mental capacity. Having this process in place is an important way to help protect your assets.

Other important information about trusted contacts

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How a trusted contact can protect your financial well-being

We know you wouldn't want unforeseen circumstances to undermine all your plans and hard work. Just as you create a will, name beneficiaries, and establish durable power of attorney, naming a trusted contact with Vanguard allows us to reach out to someone you trust to help you keep your assets safe and sound.

Whom to consider naming as your trusted contact

Your trusted contact should be someone you know would be unbiased when it comes to your health, whereabouts, and well-being—someone with integrity whom you can rely on. You can name anyone you decide is best. However, we encourage you to name someone who can't transact on your accounts to help ensure objectivity.

When we'd reach out to your trusted contact

Once you've named a trusted contact, we'd only consult with this person if we became concerned that you may be a victim of, or may be vulnerable to, financial exploitation or if we were concerned about your mental or physical well-being. Having a trusted contact helps us administer your account and act quickly if we suspect financial exploitation or diminished capacity. Your trusted contact, however, won't be able to transact on your accounts.

Additional resources

Suspect fraud?

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Limited agent

A person you appoint to have limited authority to act on your accounts.

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Full agent

A person you appoint to have full authority to act on your accounts.

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A document by which a person states how to dispose of his or her real and personal property after the person's death.

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A person or organization designated to receive the proceeds of an investment account (or an insurance policy, a pension, or an annuity contract) after the owner's death.

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Durable power of attorney

A legal document authorizing someone (an agent) to handle certain affairs on behalf of the person granting the power of attorney (the principal) even after the principal becomes incapacitated.