June 13, 2019 Informational (Elder Abuse)

You’ve heard about it in the news before, and maybe from your attorney – elder abuse.

This particular topic is very personal to me as my Mom died due to neglect when she lived in a nursing home. It was many years ago, but it still happens today. The irony is that she was an RN who was always taking care of others. Even in the nursing home setting she was always offering to help others, lend a hand or give assistance to those who were unable to help themselves because of illness or physical handicap.

Please pay close attention to your loved ones who live in a nursing home or hospice setting. Try to visit them as often as you can. If you cannot be there as much as you want, find out what the routine is, who is on staff, what the process is for getting help. Be a strong advocate for your elderly parents or relatives. It may save a life.

You think it can’t happen to you or your loved one, but recent news stories show that not only can it happen to you, but it can happen to those that we think are nearly untouchable.

Stan Lee, the comic book legend who created characters for Marvel including the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, X-Men, Incredible Hulk, Avengers, and more, is estimated to be worth $50 to $70 million. But even he wasn’t immune from elder abuse.

Lee’s former business partner and caretaker, Keya Morgan, was recently charged with three felony crimes including grand theft of a dependent adult or elder, false imprisonment, and elder abuse, a misdemeanor crime.

Lawyers say that Morgan isolated Lee from his family and moved him into a condominium from his home. He was also exerting undue influence over Lee and allegedly mishandled more than $5 million of Lee’s money.

What about Lee’s estate?

Since Lee’s death, there has been plenty of talk about what will happen to his estate. His wife passed away in 2017, so the likely heirs are his brother and his daughter. Lee did mention during an interview in October before his death that his daughter was going to be his sole heir. He said he was giving money to her as much as he could now instead of waiting until he died.

The specific details surrounding Lee’s estate haven’t yet been disclosed, but what is known is that Lee fired his attorney and changed his mind about some of the things he had planned for his estate.

Since his passing, Lee’s estate could experience further complications because several legal representatives have been in charge of his affairs. Lee did have a trust for his daughter, but it is not known whether he had a will or other trusts.

Is your estate planning adequate?

Any time estate planning involves an individual with significant assets, an estate planning attorney will be needed to make things easier to manage.

If elder manipulation or abuse is a concern, there are documents that can be put into place to protect assets and prevent a take over of assets. If there are concerns about possible actions of trustee, such as Lee had with his daughter, your attorney may also suggest naming a trust protector.

 

An experienced estate planning attorney can help ensure all steps are taken to protect the things that you have worked so hard for. Call Alex for more information.

June 5, 2019 Law News – Social Media Scams

While social media can be a great way to keep in touch with friends and family, it is also the target of a wide variety of phishing scams.

These scammers are constantly coming up with new ways to trick people into giving them their financial and personal information. That makes it especially important for everyone to keep up on some of the top scams in hopes that they won’t be the next target.

These are the top 5 social media scams that you need to be sure to avoid:

#1: Customer care imposters 

It’s not uncommon for cybercrooks to create false customer service accounts that will intercept messages that are tweeted to banks, video game producers, and e-commerce.

For example, a consumer may pose a question on a support site and within minutes receive a response from what appears to be a customer service representative. They may ask for personal or financial information or provide a link for you to follow to help take care of your problem. Be sure to look for the “verified” logo in all communications with customer service representatives.

#2: Live stream lures 

This is bait posted as phony comments for popular event live streams, such as a boxing match or big football game. What is the hook? The posted link will lead you to a website run by a scammer that will attempt to get your credit card details under the guise of a free trial.

#3: Fake discounts and freebies 

Who doesn’t love a good bargain? That’s why con artists will set up a social media account that looks legitimate. They will offer cheap or free products or services and ask for your name, address, phone number, and email which they will then use to sell on the black market or use for identity theft. They may also gather your credit card information to pay for fake shipping charges.

#4: Surveys and contest cons 

This is an oldie but goodie where fraudsters promise prizes for completing a survey when in reality, they will gather your personal information. The con artist’s posts and links appear to be authentic, but don’t be fooled.

#5: Gossip gotchas 

If you see search terms of celebrity names paired with terms such as picture or video have been long-standing schemes. They are among the internet’s most typed search terms and most dangerous for malware. These links promise illicit photos and videos of Hollywood’s most elite but are really scams that phish for credit card info.

If you are unsure if you have been the victim of a scam or have come across social media information that you believe to be a scam, contact your local law enforcement. They will be able to advise you of what scams to be aware of and may be able to help protect you from being the next victim.

June 3, 2019 Alzheimer’s Disease Info…

While most people tend to think of Alzheimer’s disease as one that causes confusion and forgetfulness, other signs of the disease are often much harder to notice.

A change in normal behavior is one of those less obvious warning signs. For example, a previously easy-going person may suddenly be easily agitated and quick to anger.

If you notice such changes, it may be something as simple as a vitamin deficiency or infection but could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Additional early signs of Alzheimer’s Disease may include the following:

Early sign #1: Loss of memory 
All of us forget things once in a while, but when that forgetfulness impacts a person’s everyday activities, it could be something much more. Document your loved one’s memory loss including what things they are forgetting and how often and share the information with their doctor.

Early sign #2: Self-isolation 
Another red flag is when your loved one withdraws from social activities, hobbies, family gatherings, and religious services. This is often because they can no longer remember names and may feel safer at home.

Early sign #3: Paranoia 
Some people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease may experience bouts of paranoia. For example, they may believe that someone close to them is stealing from them.

Early sign #4: Change in hygiene 
If an adult has always been tidy in the way they look, a change in their hygiene may signify trouble. They may be afraid of falling so they stop showering as often, or they may have developed a fear of water. This is quite common in people with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Early sign #5: Misplacing belongings
If your loved one has suddenly started misplacing belongings or has started putting things in odd places, it could be a sign of memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s Disease.

Early sign #6: Changes in personality
A person in the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease may start having mood swings, agitation, aggression, tearfulness or other personality changes. Of course, these could be caused by other things as well, but such changes should be addressed with a physician.

If you or your loved one has experienced any of the above symptoms, you should consider discussing them with your family physicians and ensure there is no other cause for symptoms that could be fixed with treatment.

May 31, 2019 Office News

When elderly parents age, they begin to need more and more support from their family members. This can cause additional conflict between their adult children because old sibling rivalries that may have been dormant for years can return. That is why families need to be aware of the conflicts that can tear families apart.

Causes of conflicts among family members

Family dynamics are notoriously complex, however, there are two themes that tend to occur most often when it comes to their parent’s care:

1. Injustice 

When one sibling feels they are bearing the burden of their parent’s care more than the other siblings, there can be a sense of resentment. Many siblings who live further from mom and dad are often off the hook leaving siblings that live close by under the obligation to take on the role of caregiver. The sibling who is not helping with all of the caretaking tasks may not even be aware of how much work the other sibling is doing.

2. Inheritance 

Finances are almost always a struggle. In the perfect world, we wouldn’t be motivated by money, but that’s rarely the case. Caregiving is stressful, but finances can compound the conflict. The sibling doing most of the caretaking may feel entitled to a larger share, but the other siblings may not agree. The distant siblings may also feel that the local sibling is spending too much money for the parent’s care.

Tips for helping with family disagreements

Unfortunately, there are no easy answers, but maintaining good communication is critical.

Consider these two tips for improving communication if you are in the middle of a family dispute:

1. Hold a family meeting 

Ideally, you should fix the issues before they get out of hand. Host a family meeting and talk openly and frankly about the needs of the parents. Establish the roles of each child and make future plans.

2. Advisors and mediators 

If your conflict has gone beyond a family meeting, sometimes a neutral, outside party can help. Family counselors can bridge the gap between the siblings or a mediator that specializes in care issues for seniors may be able to help.

Ultimately, we are only in control of ourselves. Although we may want to get along with our siblings, we simply may not succeed.

When you are advocating for the care of your parent, it is best to let go of any resentment an anger that may be lingering between siblings and do what is best for your parents.