Federal law enforcement officials working with other agencies have announced massive actions taken against the perpetrators of elderly fraud. In fact, 250 people have been charged.
It is believed that those charged were responsible for victimizing one million elderly persons, at a cost of approximately $600 million. This action comes on top of 200 cases filed against individuals for elder fraud issues last year.
Anyone suspecting fraud against the elderly should contact authorities.
For many seniors, the decision to make a move comes when downsizing is the best option, or after the death of a spouse or partner. These can be extremely emotionally taxing times, and making a move will only add more stress to the situation. That’s why it’s important to be prepared and have a good plan for moving day in order to prevent becoming overwhelmed.
If you are downsizing, it’s important to remember that getting rid of some of your belongings can be a very emotional process, especially if you’ve recently lost a loved one. Take your time going through them and ask a close friend or family member to help out, or to just come and lend their support. A move like this can be a big life change, so taking care of your mental and emotional health is essential.
Read on for more tips on how to make moving day go smoothly.
Plan for your pets
If you have pets, you’ll want to ensure they’re well taken care of on moving day. This will keep them safe and give you one less thing to worry about, so consider taking them to daycare or board them at a kennel during all the commotion. Not only will this keep them out from being underfoot, it will prevent anxiety on their part. Dogs, especially, can have a negative reaction to a move, so make sure he gets lots of love and attention before, during, and after the move. For more info on where to find a doggy daycare, click here.
About three weeks before your move, start gathering supplies, such as boxes, packing materials and tape, cleaning supplies, and anything else you’ll need to get your belongings moved safely to your new home. Designate one area of your home as a “packing station” in order to keep everything neat; you won’t want clutter or boxes sitting around to become trip hazards. This can also help prevent anxiety in your pets before the move. If they see lots of boxes and things being moved, it can tip them off that change is coming. This can even affect a pet’s appetite, behavior, and sleep patterns, so try to keep things mostly the same until the big day.
A list can be a busy person’s best friend. Not only will it help you stay organized during the entire moving process, it will give you peace of mind that you haven’t overlooked anything, and hopefully it will reduce stress. Write down all the tasks you need to complete before moving day, keep all paperwork and phone numbers together in a safe place, and make shopping lists that will help you stay on top of things.
No matter how many boxes you’ll have, you want to make sure you pack them well. Store clean dishes between layers of tissue paper and wrap them in a garbage bag before placing them in the box so they won’t get cardboard particles on them; roll up towels to stuff inside for extra padding. Remember to leave a few boxes for moving day so you can bring last-minute items, such as cleaning supplies, medication, phone chargers and food from the fridge. For more tips on how to pack smart, read on here.
Because moving day can be so taxing on your body and mind, it’s important to practice self-care. Get enough rest, eat well, and reduce stress by asking for help when you need it. Start planning well enough in advance that you won’t have to rush; take your time as much as possible.
Caroline James is passionate about fighting for senior mental health and support. Caroline and her husband created Elder Action after becoming caregivers for their aging parents, with the aim of providing useful information to aging seniors.
A common way to meet the challenge, if financial responsibility isn’t the same among the children, is to create an estate plan that limits how the trust assets can be used. Provisions can be written into the trust, so an irresponsible child cannot waste any money received on frivolous things. This is unlikely to offend any responsible children, if they use the money in reasonable ways.
An estate planning attorney can advise you on creating an estate plan that fits the unique circumstances of your family.
You can’t necessarily prevent being incapacitated. However, you can make plans, just in case it should occur.
There are no age requirements for disabling accidents or illnesses, so it would be wise for everyone to plan for what would happen if they were to be incapacitated. It is not difficult, according to TC Palm in "Be as prepared as you can by planning for incapacity."
To get started, schedule an appointment with an estate planning attorney. The attorney can prepare the necessary documents for incapacity.
You will need a general durable power of attorney so someone else has the authority to handle your day-to-day finances. A health care power of attorney will allow someone else to make your health care decisions. A living will let you decide ahead of time what medical means can be taken to prolong your life.
An estate planning attorney can advise you on creating an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances now and preparing for possible circumstances in the future.
Every year the government spends approximately $10 billion on assisted living facilities. The discouraging news? It is almost impossible to determine how much of the money is well-spent and how much of it is not. The GAO found that a lack of regulations and proper oversight made it impossible to get even basic information about patient outcomes and critical events in many states.
This is disturbing since Medicaid is expected to need even more money in the future to pay for the nursing home care and assisted living care of an aging population.
The confusion over trusts is often created because most people are more familiar with the law of wills and a person cannot have more than one will. Creating a new will is an automatic revocation of any previous wills. However, trusts are not set up the same way.
It is possible for a person to have more than one trust. It is not uncommon when people want to accomplish different things with different trusts. However, the assets put into the trusts cannot be the same and most people have no reason to have more than one trust. What most people seek to accomplish with a trust, can best be done with only one.
Whether and how a trust can be revoked, depends on what type of trust it is. Some trusts are created to be revocable at any time, but an attorney should create the trust.
Other trusts are created to be irrevocable. Sometimes they can be revoked but there are often tax penalties for doing so. It is usually advisable to amend an irrevocable trust where and how state law allows.
An estate planning attorney can advise you on creating an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances and could include a will and a trust.
A common one is for an unknown person to call a grandparent and tell him or her that a grandchild is in trouble and needs cash wired immediately. The trouble normally consists of a problem with the police, where bail money is needed.
Another is for a voice message to be left on an elderly person's phone claiming to be from the IRS. The elderly person is instructed to call a number right away, for their last chance to settle a problem with the IRS by sending money.
Those schemes might seem like obvious scams to most people, but they continue to work on many of the elderly. The scammers seek to take advantage of the elderly person's diminished capacity and by demanding the money right away, the victim does not have the time to think through the request or ask anyone else about.
These and other scams against the elderly are unfortunately increasing.
Consider the case of one elderly couple in Arizona. The wife suffers from dementia. She had a modest retirement account of $25,000. Her husband wanted to withdraw funds from the account to pay her medical bills. Before he could do that, he had to go through probate court to be appointed his wife's guardian and conservator. In the process, he incurred $6,000 in attorney's fees.
This unfortunate situation can often be avoided. Estate planning attorneys do more than just help their clients' estates avoid probate, after the clients pass away. They also help people plan for end-of-life care and what will happen should they ever become incapacitated and can no longer look after their own affairs.
An estate planning attorney can prepare a general durable power of attorney for you, that allows you to appoint someone to handle your finances, if necessary.
11 years after his death, the singer’s estate remains unsettled.
Soul singer James Brown passed away in 2006, leaving millions to poor children in Georgia and South Carolina. However, none of the money has been given to the children because the estate is bogged down in numerous lawsuits, according to The New York Times in "Why Is James Brown's Estate Still Unsettled? Ask the Lawyers."
The main source of the dispute appears to be a family feud with Brown's children and grandchildren on one side and his widow, who is the estate administrator, on the other side. Numerous lawsuits have been filed.
In perhaps the biggest lawsuit, the children and grandchildren allege that the widow has cut inappropriate side deals for the copyrights to Brown's music. These copyrights are where the bulk of the estate's value likely is found. They also allege in another lawsuit that the widow was not even married to Brown, because she was allegedly also married to another man.
The children remain without the money. It is unlikely that the dispute will be settled soon.
529 plans are investment vehicles that allow people to put money in tax free. The money can then be used for the educational expenses of a beneficiary later. Withdrawals for education are also tax free.
Irrevocable trusts are another option. They do not have the same tax benefits. However, they can be grantor retained trusts allowing the settlor to have control over the assets, so they can be invested appropriately.
Another option is to pay the child’s or grandchild's tuition directly. Educational gifts made in this way are not subject to gift taxes.
IRAs can also be used for this purpose when gifts to children or grandchildren are used to fund their own IRAs. However, you should consult with an accountant first, because there may be unintended tax consequences, if not done properly.