Elder Abuse is a national problem

Why does mom have a black eye?  Is it elder abuse?  I work with many families in my practice.  A lot of them have a loved one with some sort of dementia. From time to time, I see behaviors that look a lot like elder abuse. I bet you do too.

Active Elder Abuse

Active elder abuse such as striking the elder (physical), or yelling at them (psychological), or stealing their debit card (financial) are the obvious events.  These should be reported and families should be on the lookout for this type of abuse.  Observe whenever the elder is visited by any family member.  Ask questions and don’t let “oh, I am fine, dear” be the only answer when you suspect some problem.  Dig deeper … your elder may need an advocate.

When the elder is ignored, is that elder abuse?  It may be if it leads to bed sores, falls that injure the elder, or worse.  What about simply their making bad decisions on their own because there is no one watching over them?  It is hard for a family to kow.  Is letting dad live on his own  “respectful distance” and allowing him the freedom to thrive?  When does it become a situation that is actively dangerous?  And, it is hard to know when to change gears from passive observation to an active role in protecting or managing the elder.

Competence is the real issue … does making a “bad” decision mean he is incompetent?  Does purchasing a minor repair for an outrageous sum of money rise to the level of incompetence of the elder or a criminal act by the seller?  Probably not.  Morally reprehensible maybe, but abuse?   That is a hard line to draw.

Resources

Here is a link to a resource from “Aging In Place”, a national organization that supports the needs of families and elders in the aging process.  It reminds us of the statistics and what you can do about elder abuse.  Most important is not to ignore it… too often that leads to worse things for the elder and their families. Never wait if you spot active elder abuse.

Here is another blog posting you can reference when you visit your elder .. not only during the holidays but every time you visit.  And here is a guide for visits to communities or their home.

Contact my office if you have questions about elder planning, legal documents, Wills and Trusts, or how to find resources to help you and your loved ones.  We are happy to help!

Elder Law – More than merely documents?

The world of aging is complex and you have a lot of decisions to make and an avalanche of information to process.  Your​ trusted advisors (you have some, right?) need to help you along the way.  This week, I was at lunch with a financial planner who was talking about meeting clients and closing sales.  My new friend was developing​ a vision for “relationship” planning.  When a planner, or an attorney, or anyone, has a “transactional” mindset, the process is pretty much how many clients and how many sales.  The client’s, or customer’s, needs can be lost too easily  in that process.

Instead, the better approach seems to be to connect with YOU, understand YOUR needs, and look at ways to work together to solve the current (and future) needs.  The best relationships we have are based on mutual trust and respect, and not on the sale.  Of course, the sale is important too, but it isn’t the starting point.

There is more than a document to your estate plan, more than a Will or a Trust.  There is more than the mere application for Medicaid.  Your child with disabilities is not just a Trust beneficiary.  You need to be heard.  You might want to talk about your fears in transition, or wonder if you are making the right decisions for your parents or your children.  You might have property that needs to be sold, but it is the family home … For these, and more, you need someone who will listen and work with you as your family addresses planning or crises.

What would you prefer to experience?  Merely documents, or caring professional advisors who coach you through the information and decisions?  Yes, we do prepare documents, sometimes a lot of them.  But, more importantly, we develop a plan.  And, it is YOUR plan, they are YOUR documents, and it is all for YOUR family.

Isn’t that a better relationship?

Call us today!

Your digital assets – What happens when you die?

Digital Assets is a term that describes those accounts you own on the internet with usernames and passwords.  For example, your email.  But, it might also include bank accounts, reward miles, and all the different kinds of social media, such as Facebook.​

So, what happens when you die?  Who “owns” all that stuff on the internet?  Well, the short answer is … it depends.  This PBS video interview gives you a nice overview of some of the issues: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/happens-digital-presence-death/#.U8WCjWuwCTg.gmail

When our law office works with you or your loved ones to create an estate plan (including a will, advance directive, and various powers of attorney, and more), we ensure that your personal representative (executor) will have testamentary authority​ to handle your digital assets.  North Carolina does not have a specific law yet, so our wills are drafted broadly to offer the best transition​ of your digital assets.  Call us today.

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