Articles Posted in Elder Law

9.23.16Planning for life with Alzheimer’s includes selecting trusted family members or friends who can assist with legal and financial matters.

It was at least three years after his diagnosis that comedic actor Gene Wilder revealed he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. This is not unusual, according to experts discussing his situation in the Investment News article, “Hiding Alzheimer's, like Gene Wilder did, is natural, so prepare for it with all clients.” Wilder, star of Blazing Saddles, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and many other classic comedies, died at age 83 from complications of Alzheimer's disease. He wanted to leave his audiences laughing, rather than being sad that he was suffering from this dreaded disease.

Most Alzheimer's patients will hide their symptoms as long as they can because they fear losing control of their lives if family or friends are under the impression they can’t take care of things on their own.

Woman toastingMidlife singles are used to directing their own lives, but many worry about what will happen when they die. With strains of The Beatles' song Eleanor Rigby in their ears, they worry that their funeral will be unattended and sad. This is one problem that has a solution: planning ahead.

The Pew Research Center's 2014 study, A Record Share of Americans Have Never Married, found that there's been a steady increase since 1970 in the share of the U.S. population that remains never married by the time they reach ages 45 to 54.

Forbes' recent article, "Single People Worry: Who'll Be There For Us?" sought advice from some of the funeral industry's leading experts, who offered these recommendations:

Family of threeTalking with aging parents about their finances, their wishes, and the future, is never an easy conversation. When it became clear that her mother was starting to suffer from memory loss, Gwen started to speak with her mother about finances, accounts and final wishes. While she felt uncomfortable pressing her own mother for information, in the long run obtaining this information made things easier when Gwen, the daughter, ultimately had to take over her mother’s finances. While not all parents are willing to have these discussions, they are important to prevent the difficulties that eventually arise. Gwen Morgan, the author of “What If…Workbook,” a guide that helps gather and convey this type of information, notes that “People hold tight to their bootstraps.” Communicating early and often can help.

Even if your parents are reluctant to discuss their finances, the sooner the conversation begins, the better for all concerned. In an article posted on Go Banking Rates, “How to Talk About Money With Your Aging Parents,” the author shares a deeply personal experience with her own mother. Some parents are simply not willing to have these conversations, and several different approaches may need to be tried before you find the one that they are comfortable with. Not knowing key information could lead to family members needing to go to court to obtain the ability to gain control of their parents' finances and make medical decisions on their behalf. These scenarios can cause serious emotional and financial hardship for families.

Here are several strategies from the article to get aging parents to discuss their finances. Make sure that the conversation is respectful. Also make certain that it’s understood that you’re not trying to take over your parents’ finances. Starting with an area that doesn’t feel like a loss of power, may be more successful, the article advises.

MP900407501Can you imagine not being notified if your parent had been injured, fell ill or had even passed away? With a recently increasing occurrence across the country, state representatives are proposing changes to ensure children have visitation rights to ailing parents.

Fox News shared Catherine Falk’s story in an article titled“'Columbo' daughter pushes for bill that protects the right to visit sick parents.” The daughter of Peter Falk, a five-time Emmy Award winner as Lt. Columbo, laughs as she recalls memories about her funny father, like forgetting about Christmas presents they had given him after he had put them in the trunk of his car, only to find them all there still the next year. But when he got sick, it was no laughing matter. Catherine claims she was kept out of the details of her father’s condition, including being able to see or talk to him. Thousands of adult children in America are finding themselves going through a similar experience.

In Falk’s case, she and her stepmother were locked in a court battle over conservatorship and access to Peter for years. In 2008, he became completely incapacitated from his advanced dementia. Catherine then decided to create the Catherine Falk Organization, which advocates for the rights of adult children to see their sick parents.

Bigstock-Family-Portrait-At-Christmas-4881212At Hospice of Anchorage, end of life planning is what clinical director Alison O'Donnell encourages. Having advanced directives, or a living will, and a power of attorney in place is a gift to family, she said.

Near retirees all over the country are starting to think about downsizing for retirement. Consignment shop owner Christy Carter knows this all too well, as she helps those downsizing sell their belongings. Ms. Carter said in a KTUU.com article, “End of life planning a 'gift for family,' experts say,”that she also receives a lot of merchandise from families who are cleaning up the estate of a loved one who has recently passed away. Most of the furniture she sells are from estates.

Many who have already lost a loved one don't want to deal with all of the details because they're going through their grief process emotionally. However, end of life planning is what the clinical director of an Anchorage area hospice recommends. Having advanced directives or a living will, and a power of attorney in place is a gift to family, she said.

MP900422340 (1)"In America" discusses elder law and the way that legal standards and details are changing over time.

What exactly is Elder Law? Why is this so important for Americans?

Elder law is a general term that describes the laws and regulations that affect older men and women. This term can relate to the proper care and guardianship of an older person who requires medical attention and can no longer function without assistance. The recent Insurance News Net article, titled Elder Law is discussed with host James Earl Jones on "In America,” notes that the range of topics elder law addresses includes divorce among adults over 65 years old and law regarding elder abuse.

MP900442457As the executor of [my mom's] estate, I'm trying to help her decide what to do with the house. Let another family member live in it who couldn't pay rent but could help with upkeep? Rent it out for market value? Or sell?

If she hasn't already, an article in The LA Times titledConsider tax implications when downsizing, recommends that she needs to hire an experienced estate planning attorney who can help her evaluate her options.

If she sells, she could possibly be in for a shock because there might be a considerable capital gains tax on the sale. Federal law permits a set amount of capital gains on the sale of a primary residence ($250,000 per person) to be excluded from income. However, anything above that amount would be taxed heavily as a capital gain.

MP900289434 Three estate planning questions to ask your parents right now.

 Caring for aging parents poses many questions, some of which you want to get out of the way early on. A recent article in The Oprah Magazine,titledSanity-Saving Secrets For Caring For Your Aging Parents, suggests three questions to ask your parents right now.

 1.     Do you have a living will? There are about 72% of seniors who already have advance directives specifying end-of-life medical wishes, according to a recent study funded by the National Institute on Aging. That’s terrific, but make sure your parents are in that group. As long as you’re on the subject, see if their documents have been revised in the last five years and that you know its location.

GrandparentsAlthough nobody can be forced to participate as a caregiver, there are ways to approach the situation that are more likely to have a positive result.

Families encounter many issues when planning care for a loved one. A common issue is the unwillingness of siblings to “step up to the plate” and make a contribution to the caregiving tasks.

The (Carlisle, PA) Sentinel’s recent article, titled "Elder Care: Keeping family conflict to minimum," explains that even though no one can be forced to participate as a caregiver, there are some ways to approach the situation that may yield more positive results.

Auto accidents are the second leading cause of injury-related mortality among people 65 and older. “It is everyone’s responsibility to identify and assist a mentally impaired driver,” she said.

Another birthday coming up for an elderly loved one? It may be time to evaluate their driving skills, especially in Houston.

A recent article in the Claims Journal, titled Police, Doctors Receive Elder Driver Assessment Training,” describes an educational program called Training, Research and Education for Driving Safety (TREDS). The program is designed to reduce the number of fatalities involving older drivers and to extend the time seniors can drive safely.

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