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Help For the Adult Children of Aging Parents

As a wills and trust attorney, I often meet clients who are attempting to come to grips with not only their own estate planning needs, but also with handling the day- to -day issues of innumerable demands on their time.

Clients often juggle demands of family, career and concerns for their aging parents.

Some of the critical issues arise when their parents require more assistance at home, but the adult child lives out of state.

Depending on friends and neighbors to keep informed about an aging parent’s needs or failing health is not adequate.

An article from our friends at Squared Away blog may be of some help.

The topic is geriatric care management.

The article is titled:  What’s a Geriatric Care Manager Anyway? (February 22, 2018)

There are numerous ways in which a geriatric care manager (or aging life care specialist) can be of help. According to the article there are “various roles that geriatric care managers play for parents and offspring.” Such as assessment of home safety and issues of cognitive impairment.

The fees for a geriatric care manager range widely and are usually on an hourly basis.

An elder care attorney or trust attorney often would know of qualified individuals in the field and could make a referral.

There is also a searchable database at to get you started with more information.

Be aware that there are varied certifications in the field of geriatric care management.

The website also offers a list of questions to ask, either prior or after any on-site assessment: including:

“What resources will it take to handle this situation?

Are there any alternative courses of action?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative?

Who will be working with you?

How many professionals may be involved?

What about off-hours and backup?

How are fees computed?

How are travel time and mileage handled?

How are services terminated?”

I would include – Which other family members will be included in decision-making for an aging parent?

Remember to check credentials, request references and personally follow through with anyone who will be offering care to a loved one.

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Inheriting the Debt of Your Parents

Yet another article from Nerd Wallet was interesting enough to share with my readers.

“When your parents die broke” by Liz Weston. (Nerd Wallet, March 15, 2018)  explains why the debt of your parents may not be your debt. (The article was actually picked up by The Associated Press.)

To put things into perspective – “Nearly half of seniors die owning less than $10,000 in financial assets, according to a 2012 study for the National Bureau of Economic Research… Meanwhile, debt among older Americans is soaring.”

Follow the link to read the entire brief article –

When a person dies owing more than their estate is worth, the term is an ‘insolvent estate” – the opposite of a solvent estate.

An ‘insolvent estate’ in simple terms means that there is not enough money left in a deceased person’s estate to pay all creditors.  Note the emphasis on the word ALL.  Perhaps there are funds to pay SOME of the creditors.  In that situation there is a priority, a hierarchy (or pecking order) for creditors.  Some creditors will be paid before others.

To give an example, in many circumstances the charges of a funeral home have priority over a credit card company’s  claims.  (In Colorado the hierarchy of claims is determined by the Colorado Probate Code)

The executor/personal representative of the estate then determines who gets paid and in what order.

How do estates become insolvent?  One of the common reasons of insolvency is huge medical debt.  To use a very simple example – If a parent had an estate valued at a total of $100,000, but there are medical debts of $50,000; credit card debt of $30,000, and an outstanding loan debt of $25,000 – the estate could be defined as insolvent. There is not enough money in the entire estate to pay all creditors (debts).

But keep in mind that the legal rules for debt of one’s spouse are very different from the legal rules regarding the debt of one’s parents.

It is beyond the scope of this article to define all the issues of dealing with an insolvent estate.

If you are dealing with an insolvent estate, consult an attorney if you think you may have problems with the probate process in your state.  They can advise you about the legal issues of an insolvent estate.

Working To Preserve Your Wealth and Protect Your Future…in a Constantly Changing World

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Thanks for the “Likes”

Thanks to my readers for all the many recent “Likes” on my Word Press page.

I really appreciate knowing that readers enjoy a certain topic.

The topic that seemed to touch a cord with many was… disabled veterans and student loan debt. (find the article on my website – archived under military families; student loans

As I often write, part of my practice is in the Colorado Springs, home to many military families. Whenever any topic passes my computer screen that I think can be useful to our military, I pass it on.

Some readers have also inquired why I do not ‘dig deeper’ into a topic.  I often write that “it is beyond the scope of this article…” and I truly mean that.

At time a topic is both deep and broad.  Rather than offering legal advice that might not be appropriate to a given situation, I offer up other sites where the reader can begin to gather and research more information.

Beware – Sometimes, the internet is not always the best source of legal help. In that case, time and money spent with a legal professional can prevent mistakes…mistakes that can haunt you later.

A case in point is taking a legal document from a free website.  Sure, it is free, and I LIKE free! But that free legal document might not be appropriate to a more complex situation; or to a person’s individual circumstances.

On the other hand, that free legal document can be a starting point and a basis for an individual to begin to think about their own unique issues.

I will continue to offer articles that are on current topics and advise my readers to delve further into any issue.

Again, thanks for the LIKES…they spur me on.

Working To Preserve Your Wealth and Protect Your Future…in a Constantly Changing World

Please read my full Disclaimer and How I Can Help You

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Nursing Home Eviction – free webinar

According to the website – 9,000 elders are evicted from nursing homes annually in the United States.  Many of those are the most vulnerable.

In 2016, an article titled:  “Nursing homes turn to eviction to drop difficult patients (Matt Sedensky, May 8, 2016)**  “Those targeted for eviction are frequently poor and suffering from dementia, according to residents’ allies. They often put up little fight, their families unsure what to do. Removing them makes room for less labor-intensive and more profitable patients, critics of the tactic say, noting it can be shattering.”

On Dec. 6, 2017 (12-1 PM) the Justice in Aging site offers a free webinar that highlights what can be done when a loved one is being threatened with eviction from a nursing home.

The webinar is presented by Eric Carlson and offers to deal with topics such as “State protections; when eviction is permitted; notice requirements and advocacy tips.”

Go to the NCLER website to learn more about this free webinar and other topics of interest for those advocating for the elderly.

Working To Preserve Your Wealth and Protect Your Future…in a Constantly Changing World

Please read my full Disclaimer and How I Can Help You

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** original story –

Help For Families Coping With Dementia

My inbox received an interesting posting about the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) , a non profit organization that supports programs to help families with loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s or a related dementia.

The AFA awards grants- the stated purpose of the grants is to help families “alleviate the cost or respite care for families caring for loves one with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.”

According to the posting, the grants are awarded to AFA’s nonprofit member organizations. To learn more about the grants, the application process, the work of the AFA and FAQ’s about the grant program – go to the website

The grant funds must be utilized for scholarships for respite services, such as adult day program, in-home aides, companion care or overnight respite.

Working To Preserve Your Wealth and Protect Your Future in a Constantly Changing World

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Aging In American Conference

For those of you reading my posts, you know I am interested in topics involved aging and the elderly. For that reason, I want to pass on information about the upcoming 2017 Aging in America Conference.

The Conference will be held his this year in Chicago, March 20-24, 2017.

According to the conference website: – (well worth a visit to their website)

“Over 3,000 attendees from across the nation and abroad attend the annual ASA Aging in America Conference to learn, network and participate in the largest multidisciplinary conference covering issues of aging and quality of life for older adults.”

There are volunteer opportunities and if accepted as a volunteer you can attend the conference at a reduced rate.

Some of the event categories include: aging in the community; caregiving; clinical care; lifelong learning and technology. An example of a workshop offering is “Addressing Social Isolation Through Technology”

Many of the offerings give CEU credits.

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Catching Your Student On The Fly

With the summer holidays here, you no doubt will be busy with events planning. One family event might include the visit from your college student (back from college – complete with their laundry and a new friend).

During that visit home, you just might be able to ‘catch them on the fly’ to have them sign some important legal documents. Your child may have done this before they left for college.  If so,  you are probably one of the few families who considered preparing legal documents amidst the flurry of activity surrounding the college- bound.

Now that your college student is settled into their new life, the timing is good to have a brief discussion with them about certain legal documents.

Which legal documents are important for your child to have while attending college? Two “must-haves” are the durable Power of Attorney and a health care proxy.

This is particularly urgent if your student is residing out of state, away from your home.

If they are in a foreign country or plan to do foreign exchange credits there are other issues for you to consider.

The time taken to consult with an experienced attorney could prevent difficulties in the future and offer you and your child certain legal protections should the need arise.

Working To Preserve Your Wealth and Protect Your Future…in a Constantly Changing World

Please read my Full Disclaimer and “How I Can Help You”

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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

From the WISER website (Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement)  – World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: June 15, 2016 was announced.

According to their website: “Every year an estimated 5 million, or 1 in 10, older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Financial exploitation is a fast-growing form of abuse of seniors”.

For more information go to  The site has an excellent page of Financial Elder Abuse Resources and eight briefs dealing with elder financial abuse prevention/exploitation.  Each brief covers a different topic.

In previous articles I have written about financial exploitation of the elderly and other issues facing our elder population.

I invite you to go to my website ( to read a few of these previous articles:

  • Fraud and Aging
  • Another Person’s Money
  • The Scoop on Home Health Agencies
  • Takeaways from the White House Conference on Aging
  • Denver-A Dementia Friendly City
  • Living Past 100


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Take-Aways from the White House Conference on Aging (posted September, 2015)

‘No, we are not talking about the ‘doggie bag take-aways’ from restaurants. This article is about some specific initiatives formulated at the White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA). According to the Conference press release the conference was to deal with “issues facing every American as they plan for retirement, care for older loved ones and improving the quality of life for older Americans.”

I have written often about aging with dignity and the issues surrounding the older population in America, as well as the financial impact upon the family caregivers of the elderly. These issues are very real to many Americans and an important segment of the estate planning process spanning generations.

Read some of my recent blog postings titled: Fraud and Aging (1/15); The Invisible Epidemic (3/15); The Scoop on Home Health Agencies (7/15); Walking The Tightrope (8/15) and Denver-A Dementia Friendly City (9/15) on my website and posted to my Sticks & Mortar blog and on my website.

On July 13, 2015 the White House held their most recent Conference on Aging (WHCOA) and here is a brief synopsis of some of the issues/initiatives of that conference.

A new website was launched: to assist the elderly and their families in gaining easier access to information about the many programs that are available.

The conference also highlighted issues of Elder Justice and the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) – dealing with elder abuse in its many forms such as financial exploitation, fraud, neglect, stalking and crime

Access to critical nutrition was another priority surrounding issues of the health of the elderly.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) initiated Go4Life an exercise and physical activity campaign for older adults.

For more information about aspects and discussion of the Conference, visit; and

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Walking The Tightrope

If you are a caregiver or family member of someone with a diminished level of capacity and capability you understand the feeling of walking a ‘tightrope’. The daily challenges are enormous and it is a balancing act that you perform every day. You balance your caregiving responsibilities with other life events and family issues. You balance financial necessities. As a family member, it is often a balancing act to determine how much help to offer and how. It is also a question of how to access the services that you need and to secure the “safety net” in case something happens to you – the caregiver. As a family caregiver your instinct is to protect the loved one from harm, from indignities and from those who might take advantage of them.

Our friends at the National Consumer Law Center are offering a free webinar titled: The Fine Art of Balancing Protection with Self Determination. The webinar is on Sept. 22, 2015 at 2PM (EST)

You must register with NCLC for the free webinar.

Log onto their website and if you have questions you can send an email to them at

According to the webinar information: “This session will talk about recognizing the signs and signals of abuse, neglect (self-neglect) and exploitation, tools to maximize communication with persons with differing abilities, and promoting self-determination and choice through supported approaches that mitigate against risk and empower individuals…”

Presenters will be David Godfrey (Senior Attorney, American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging) and Jonathan Martinis (Legal Director, Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities)

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