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Coping With Grief During The Holidays

Reposting of a previous blog.

As an estate planning attorney dealing with Wills, I am often part of the grief and grieving process of a family.  I become part of the process when the families consult about the Will or estate plan of a recently deceased loved one.  This grieving process is made more difficult during the holiday season, a time that is meant to be a joyful sharing with family, friends and loved ones.

A colleague shared with me about the sudden death of a friend’s mother, just before Christmas.  The family was close- knit and the death was unexpected, making the event even more tragic. Apparently the mother was admitted to hospital for what was to be a routine procedure; had complications; was later pronounced brain dead and the family had to make the unbearable decision to end life support.

Such events bring to the forefront the fragility of life and coping with the unexpected.  The family, in this case, knew the wishes of their mother – her wishes were written, clear, and unequivocal and were to be respected. The mother had legal documents in place to cover the‘unthinkable’.  My colleague shared that the family, although deep in grief, had faith that the wishes of their mother were being carried out and this gave them some modicum of comfort.

Had there been no Medical Directive – the family would have been in the position of trying to “guess” and asking themselves – What would mother have wanted? What do we do? How do we make this decision? In this case, their mother had given them the most precious gift of knowledge – knowing precisely what her wishes were in the situation.

Often the best gift we can give family and loved ones is this knowledge – the explicit knowledge of what we want them to do; what action to take and how to confront the ‘unthinkable’.

For other articles about handling the loss of a loved one – see my website Archives under Grief and Grieving.

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Saving On Prescriptions

My researcher is always on the look- out for articles that can help my clients and readers to save some of their hard earned dollars. 

My tag line is…Working to Preserve Your Wealth…  and one of the ways to preserve wealth/money is to save on the ever- escalating costs of prescription medications. 

That is why an article from our friends at the Squared Away blog was so interesting…”How Retirees Can Negotiate Drug Prices” (October 18, 2018) by Kim Blanton.

We know that prescription meds can take a bite out of income, but according to Squared Away – “One in four prescription co-payments are overcharges.” 

The author of the article, Kim Blanton*, interviewed a pharmacist for more ‘hints’ about negotiating cash pricing for a prescription.

One big hint – “…elderly patients should work with a pharmacist to see if they can get a better deal.”

It may be as simple as asking “What can I do to get the best price? ask for comparisons – using your insurance vs. paying cash (without insurance).  These price comparisons are possible. Also, remember that different pharmacies can have different pricing for the same drug.

If you are interested in reading the entire article – you can access the blog/article on  “Why Your Retirement Spending Estimate Is Wrong

Another good article, written in 2015 but still relevant, is: “The ‘X Factor’ that could derail your plans” by Richard Eisenberg, Money & Work Editor (December 8, 2015) at 

The article deals with issues of escalating costs of staying healthy, and Eisenberg wrote:  “After reading several recent studies plus Medicare forecasts, I’m convinced there’s a good chance you’ll need to count on spending more out-of-pocket for health care in retirement than you expect.”

* Squared Away writer Kim Blanton invites you to follow on Twitter @SquaredAwayBC.

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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Students and Bank Cards

According to a class action lawsuit, banks can be subject to bank overdraft lawsuits.

A case in point is when the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection in Washington, DC alleged that overdraft protection services targeted students at a university.

Inexperienced individuals are particularly vulnerable to excessive overdraft fees.

The cause of one complaint is that the bank misled checking account customers on a university’s campus into believing that overdraft protection was required on their checking account.

According to an article in titled:  “CFPB Moves to Protect Student From Overdraft Fees” by Anne Wallace (August 28, 2018)…. “Kids are heading off to college – hopeful, ambitious and Financially Naïve. Are they Ripe For Exploitation?”

Part of the problem, according to the article arose from student I.D. cards being linked to banking. “University-bank partnerships have come under CFPB scrutiny in recent years.”

In her article, Ms. Wallace cited a report by Pew Charitable Trust– “More than a third of frequent overdraft users — those who pay $100 or more in bank fees in a year for overdrawing their bank accounts — are in their late teens through early 30s.”

After reading this disturbing statistic, my researcher delved deeper into the issue of students and bank cards and found:

  • Partnerships between local banks and universities are prevalent and representatives of banks are sometimes on campus during orientation to sign students up.
  • Some banks offer special “student banking services”.
  • Some Bursar’s offices can even offer direct deposit of student refund checks into the student’s account.
  • A location on campus means that a bank can offer ATM services for quick and easy access to funds for students.
  • Some student ID’s are also linked to banking services.
  • One college website stated: “students should shop around for the bank that meets their individual needs.”
  • One University went so far as to prepare a survey of bank fees and services to assist students with their banking decision.

Students need to learn financial independence, but there is a caution.

From the University of Michigan website-  “For many students, college is the first time that they take responsibility for their own financial affairs. Parents can help with this adjustment by discussing expectations, setting ground-rules, and educating students about financial responsibility including budgeting, credit cards, and paying bills.”

One sure way to safeguard your student is to teach them good banking ‘habits’ well before they leave for college.

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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A Nasty Halloween Trick-Telephone Scam Targeting Seniors Who Are On Social Security

Our friends at Justice in Aging ( have alerted the subscribers to their blog about a telephone scam.

Here is their information (they encourage everyone to share this information):

“There’s a new phone scam targeting Social Security beneficiaries that advocates for older adults should be aware of. The Federal Trade Commission is warning that scammers are engaging in a caller ID trick called “spoofing” to make it appear that they are calling from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

These phony callers claim to work for SSA and ask for personal information—such as the individual’s Social Security Number—supposedly in order to process a benefit increase. These scam artists have also tried to get this information by claiming that the person’s benefits will be cut off if the personal information isn’t provided. Read the FTC’s warning to learn more, including where to report such calls, and what people should do if they get one of these calls.”

If someone you know, or a loved one, receives Social Security, please alert them to this scam.

My website ( has articles (under Archives) about: elder fraud industry; elder fraud protection; identity theft.

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

Visit my website: for over 275 articles and printable infographics

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.

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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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

 Please read my full Disclaimer and How I Can Help You

Visit my website: for over 270 articles and printable infographics



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

Visit my website – for over 250 articles and printable infographics

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

Visit my website: for over 200 articles and printable infographics

** 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

Please read my full Disclaimer and How I Can Help You

Visit my website for more articles and printable infographics

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.

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

Visit my website: for more articles and interesting articles