elder care

How You Can Prevent Elder Fraud

How You Can Prevent Elder Fraud

Elder fraud and financial exploitation has become an epidemic.

More than ever before, con artists and family members alike are taking advantage of their elderly relatives, friends, or neighbors.

Could your parents or grandparents be next?

The best defense against elder fraud is having caring friends or family with the senior's best interests at heart. But those friends and family can only prevent elder fraud if they know how to spot it — and that's what this blog post will teach you.

This post will cover five ways you can help keep your loved ones safe from elder fraud and financial exploitation. Specifically, you can:

  1. Talk with them about their finances.

  2. Ask them about suspicious phone calls or interactions.

  3. Keep abreast of changes to their estate plan.

  4. Inquire about about caretakers, helpers, or sudden "best friends."

  5. Investigate abrupt or unexplained transfers of assets.

But before we dive in to prevention, let's cover some of the basics of elder fraud.

What is an Advance Directive for Health Care?

What is an Advance Directive for Health Care?

Estate planning is meant to give you peace of mind. Knowing your assets will go to the proper people is important. But equally (if not more) important is knowing that the proper people will be able to take care of you when you cannot do so yourself. Therefore, one of the most indispensable parts of your estate plan is the Advance Directive for Health Care.

We have previously written about advance directives in greater detail, but, to summarize, the document is made up of three parts: (1) a living will, (2) health care proxy appointment, and (3) anatomical gifts.

What is a Power of Attorney?

What is a Power of Attorney?

Kanye West once said that no one man should have all that power. Fortunately for 'Ye, one man doesn't have to have all that power if he has an essential estate planning document called a Durable Power* of Attorney. (*This was most likely the "power" Kanye was referring to in his hit song, "Power".)

What does a power of attorney do?

Generally speaking, a power of attorney gives someone (your "attorney-in-fact") the ability to act for you in financial and/or medical situations. In other words, one man doesn't have to have all that power — he can share it with someone else. This authority can be limited in scope, e.g., a single real estate transaction; or it can be broad, e.g., any and all healthcare and financial decisions.

Ghostbusters: Preventing Identity Theft After Death

Ghostbusters: Preventing Identity Theft After Death

Each year, approximately 2.5 million Americans have their identity stolen... after their deaths. These stolen identities are used to borrow money, purchase cell phones, fraudulently open credit cards, etc., all of which can dramatically impact the liability exposure of the decedent's estate. Criminals may even file tax returns under the name of the decedent and collect refunds (totaling $5.2 billion in 2011) that rightly belong to someone you.

Welcome to the world of "ghosting": the theft of a deceased individual's identity.

How does "ghosting" happen?

Your identity as a deceased individual is perhaps more vulnerable to theft than your identity as a living individual. Suppose you pass away today. It can take six months or more for credit-reporting agencies, financial institutions, and the Social Security Administration to register your death records and share information that lets other governmental agencies and financial institutions know you are deceased. During that time, you aren't regularly checking your credit score or other financial information because, you know, you're dead.

Will You Lose Your Long-Term Care Deduction?

Will You Lose Your Long-Term Care Deduction?

We recently wrote about several ways the House GOP tax package could impact your estate plan. However, one area we did not cover is an important proposal that could impact millions of Americans: eliminating the medical expense deduction.

What Is the Long-Term Care Deduction?

The House plan proposes eliminating the deduction (codified in Title 26, Section 213 of the U.S. Code), which generally allows taxpayers to deduct medical expenses (including long-term care insurance premiums) for income tax purposes if the expenses are greater than 10% of adjusted gross income (AGI). But there is a cap on the amount you can deduct for long-term care premiums. The IRS recently announced that, for 2018, taxpayers age 40 and under can deduct a maximum of $420; taxpayers 70 and over can deduct a maximum of $5,200.

The Definitive Guide to Advance Directives

The Definitive Guide to Advance Directives

An advance directive for health care is a legal document that allows you to express your wishes for end-of-life care in the event you are unable to communicate those wishes to your doctor. In Oklahoma, an advance directive covers three topics: (1) the living will, (2) the health care proxy, and (3) anatomical gifts.

Part One: The Living Will

The main portion of an advance directive is the “living will,” by which you state your preference for the use of certain treatments under certain conditions. This is the most technical part of the document, so it is important to understand what these terms mean.

Where Should We Take You?

Where Should We Take You?

My father was a fiercely independent person. At age 84, he was fully mentally competent and able to care for himself and his home. But one day while he outside trimming his hedges, he fell and broke a hip. Hip surgery went smoothly, and we thought he was set to come home in a few more days. Then, his care manager told us that he would need to spend thirty days in a skilled nursing center to rehabilitate. So I had to ask my dad a difficult question: "Where should we take you?"