Caring for an Ill or Elderly Parent

This month we are covering the subject of caring for our elderly parents.   Whether your elderly parent suffers from illness or if they are just getting older and need assistance, these steps will help you organize and care for them. This newsletter continues where we left off last time.   We discussed helping ill or elderly parents and loved ones. We ended our discussion after in-home care options. If you are interested in catching up on our newsletters they are all available on our blog. Now we will cover what are your choices when in-home care isn’t a viable option.

If the option to stay in their home is not viable for an elderly loved one you will need to start considering assisted living facilities.

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Caring for an Ill or Elderly Parent

 This month we are going to cover the subject of caring for our elderly parents.   Whether your elderly parent suffers from illness or if they are just getting older and need assistance, these steps will help you organize and care for them. This newsletter will cover what documents you will need and what types of assistance may be necessary. Communicating with your loved one is the first thing you need to do and our previous newsletter covered that topic.

As we age sometimes illness and disability can come without warning. Alzheimer’s and dementia are mental illnesses that many elder adults suffer from and the onset can be sudden and rapid. These illnesses require a special type of assistance.

An elderly loved one may suffer from a fall or accident that disables them physically. This type of disability will require a different type of assistance for your loved one. It is important to know the variety of options available depending on your situation.

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Musicians Who Died Without a Will

We have all heard the recent news that legendary artist Prince has passed away and he didn’t leave a Will. There has been much speculation about the battle between siblings over his estate and music royalties.

We wanted to talk about five musicians who passed away without Wills, like Prince, and what ended up happening in their battles.

Did you know Bob Marley and Tupac Shakur died without Wills? Bob Marley died after an 8-month battle with cancer, and he left no Will and nine children. Not to mention an estimated $30 million and royalties to all his music, and that was in 1981. Even with months to plan he did not make any attempt to set up an estate plan. As recently as 2012 there had been a lawsuit involving royalties of his music. And there may continue to be lawsuits in the future.

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Dying without a Will

Many people have the impression that they can die without leaving a Will and their loved ones will be fine. Unfortunately, that’s just not true. A Will is a document that directs the distribution of your assets to the right people at the right time at the right tax rate. But it doesn’t always work out that way.

As we have said many times, a Will goes through the probate process. Which means it goes through court to prove it is real and get distributed. It is a public process, and here in California it can take years in court, and that can take a lot of money.

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Your Estate Plan – Why You Should Plan

  1. To ensure appropriate people step in to handle their financial and health-care-related decisions upon their incapacity and death. It will help avoid court intervention such as guardianship or probate proceedings.

Most people include these documents: a will, power of attorney for financial matters, power of attorney for health care matters, a living will and revocable living trust.

These documents will ensure the appropriate people are there to handle your financial and health needs.

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When is it time to “Service” your Estate plan?

 One way to explain servicing your trust or estate plan is to compare it to your vehicle’s maintenance. We all know our cars require regular, preventative servicing in order to operate correctly and be reliable when we need them. The vehicle’s owner’s manual has a recommended schedule for service, based on either how many miles you drive or based on the amount of time that has passed. After a certain number of miles or certain amount of time your car will need an oil change, engine tune-up and tire rotation. Newer cars have “service due” lights that come on to alert you that it is time to service your vehicle. Either way, it is pretty easy to know when it is time to service your vehicle. If you continue driving your car without servicing it, it is almost guaranteed that your car will lose its reliability and not work when you need it. You could end up stuck on the side of the freeway.

Like a vehicle, your estate plan needs “servicing” if it is going to perform the way you want when you need it. These are preventative measures. Think of your estate plan as a composite snapshot of you, your family, your goals, your assets and the various laws in effect at the time it was created. All of these factors can change over time, and your plan should adapt to those changes. It is unreasonable, irresponsible and actually dangerous to assume your plan, written years ago, will be effective today without proper maintenance and adjusting.

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Disputing a Charge on Your Credit Card

If you have ever disputed a charge with your debit or credit card company, you know how challenging it can be.

When you call your card company to inform them of the charge in question they generally take your word for it. Then restore the bank account temporarily or issue a credit, and then they go about their investigation. The company essentially demands that the merchant or service provider who supposedly did you wrong prove that it did no wrong at all.

Chances are you will need to use the dispute process sooner or later. If you have never disputed a charge there are a few things you should know first. The behind-the-scenes game that goes on can be tilted much more—or much less – in your favor, depending on which charges you dispute and how you go about disputing them.

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The Impact of Alzheimers

Many of us are starting to notice that our elderly parents are experiencing memory loss which can affect their ability to make sound decisions about their personal finances. But like most, we are prone to making the mistake of waiting too long to act.

The consequences of avoiding discussing these problems can be dire. An elderly parent’s accounts can be closed, credit can be damaged, money can be lost to scam artists and worst of all, their homes could face foreclosure.

There are some steps you can take to avoid financial abuse in elderly dementia or Alzheimer’s sufferers.

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Ten Tips to Help You Reduce the Risk of Financial Elder Abuse

1. Choose a caregiver with caution
Do not assume that by hiring a caregiver through a bonded agency you are guaranteed to get someone who has been checked. There is no current law requiring mandatory background checks for in-home caregivers in California

2. Keep an inventory of all jewelry
Jewelry is the number one item that is stolen from homes occupied by elders. Not only should your jewelry be kept in a locked drawer, you should have photographs of rare, valuable, or sentimental items in a separate location. In the event of theft, such photographic evidence will be useful in tracking down the missing jewelry at a pawn shop.

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What is the Difference between a Will, Living Will and a Living Trust?

A Will is a legal document that describes how your assets should be distributed in the event of death. The actual distribution, however, is controlled by a judge in a legal process called probate.

Upon your death, the Will becomes a public document available for inspection by all comers. Once your Will enters the probate process, it’s no longer controlled by your family, it is now controlled by the court and probate attorneys. Probate can be cumbersome, time-consuming, expensive, and emotionally traumatic during a family’s time of grief and vulnerability. Con artists and others with less-than-pure
financial motives have been known to use their knowledge about the contents of a Will to prey on survivors.

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