Archive for the ‘Caregiving’ Category

Brooke Astor verdict aids fight against financial elder abuse

An interesting article came out today by the Associated Press about how professionals who combat financial abuse against seniors can hold up the Brooke Astor verdict to raise awareness of the growing epidemic.  You can read the article here .  Jennifer Peltz, who wrote the article, discusses how advocates against financial exploitation of the elderly hailed the verdict and how it is far from alone.  She points that there have been many other famous cases involving the rich, such as J. Steward Johnson (heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune) and Anna Nicole Smith versus the son of her late 90-year-old billionaire husband.  The really sad part is that this problem affects many more than the wealthy in America.  Indeed, with our country’s troubled economic times, the problem of people stealing from and coercing seniors out of their money is getting worse and worse.  And the best prevention is for families to be proactive and protect their aging loved ones, especially once there is a diagnoses of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. But many people still refuse to think it can happen to their families.  It does!  Trust me, as a probate litigation attorney who sees this happen to real people on a regular basis (and I’m talking about average, middle class families, not just the upper class), I can assure you that every baby boomer with an aging loved one needs to be aware of this problem. Sometimes the crime involves theft or fraud.  Other times it comes in the form of coercing a change to a will or trust.  Often it involves convincing someone to add a new name to a bank account or deed.  But, these acts rarely result in criminal prosecutions.  The Brooke Astor case is very unusual from that standpoint.  It’s up to people, and experienced attorneys, to combat these acts in civil and probate courts because police and prosecutors simply don’t have the resources to take on most of these cases.  Of course, with better prevention, cases like these don’t have to happen at all.  That’s part of the reason I, and my co-author Danielle Mayoras, wrote Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights!   Our book helps bring awareness to the issue and educates people about the importance of proper estate planning and avoiding family fighting over money.  We discuss the Brooke Astor, Johnson & Johnson, and Anna Nicole Smith cases (along with dozens more) to help teach families how to protect against having to end up in court after a loved one dies, fighting over money. In fact, the Associated Press article quotes me and mentions Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights!  Education and raising awareness is the first step towards prevention.  That’s why celebrity cases like the ones discussed in Trial & Heirs are so important.  They help get people talking. So if you have an elderly loved one, learn about these celebrity court cases, so you can talk to and help educate your family, before it is too late. Posted by:  Author and probate attorney Andrew W. Mayoras, co-author of Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights!  and co-founder and shareholder of  The Center for Probate Litigation and  The Center for Elder Law   in metro-Detroit, Michigan, which concentrate in probate litigation, estate planning, and elder law.  You can email him at blog @ trialandheirs.com.

An interesting article came out today by the Associated Press about how professionals who combat financial abuse against seniors can hold up the Brooke Astor verdict to raise awareness of the growing epidemic.  You can read the article here

Jennifer Peltz, who wrote the article, discusses how advocates against financial exploitation of the elderly hailed the verdict and how it is far from alone.  She points that there have been many other famous cases involving the rich, such as J. Steward Johnson (heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune) and Anna Nicole Smith versus the son of her late 90-year-old billionaire husband. 

The really sad part is that this problem affects many more than the wealthy in America.  Indeed, with our country’s troubled economic times, the problem of people stealing from and coercing seniors out of their money is getting worse and worse.  And the best prevention is for families to be proactive and protect their aging loved ones, especially once there is a diagnoses of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

But many people still refuse to think it can happen to their families.  It does!  Trust me, as a probate litigation attorney who sees this happen to real people on a regular basis (and I’m talking about average, middle class families, not just the upper class), I can assure you that every baby boomer with an aging loved one needs to be aware of this problem.

Sometimes the crime involves theft or fraud.  Other times it comes in the form of coercing a change to a will or trust.  Often it involves convincing someone to add a new name to a bank account or deed. 

But, these acts rarely result in criminal prosecutions.  The Brooke Astor case is very unusual from that standpoint.  It’s up to people, and experienced attorneys, to combat these acts in civil and probate courts because police and prosecutors simply don’t have the resources to take on most of these cases. 

Of course, with better prevention, cases like these don’t have to happen at all.  That’s part of the reason I, and my co-author Danielle Mayoras, wrote Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights! 

Our book helps bring awareness to the issue and educates people about the importance of proper estate planning and avoiding family fighting over money.  We discuss the Brooke Astor, Johnson & Johnson, and Anna Nicole Smith cases (along with dozens more) to help teach families how to protect against having to end up in court after a loved one dies, fighting over money.

In fact, the Associated Press article quotes me and mentions Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights!  Education and raising awareness is the first step towards prevention.  That’s why celebrity cases like the ones discussed in Trial & Heirs are so important.  They help get people talking.

So if you have an elderly loved one, learn about these celebrity court cases, so you can talk to and help educate your family, before it is too late.

Posted by:  Author and probate attorney Andrew W. Mayoras, co-author of Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights! and co-founder and shareholder of The Center for Probate Litigation and http://www.brmmlaw.com/ in metro-Detroit, Michigan, which concentrate in probate litigation, estate planning, and elder law.  You can email him at blog @ trialandheirs.com.

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Brooke Astor verdict aids fight against financial elder abuse

Martin Luther King, Jr. Estate fight is resolved

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s three children have been fighting with each other in court over control of his estate and financial legacy.  Here are my prior articles about the Martin Luther King, Jr. estate fight .  Two of the three children had sued Dexter King, their brother, who had the legal authority to make decisions regarding the King Estate.  The Estate was run through a corporation, which Dexter oversaw, until the 2008 lawsuit filed against him in Georgia. Recently, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural D. Glanville had ordered the trio to hold a shareholders meeting and try to resolve their differences.  He also ruled the case would go to trial if no settlement was reached.  Obviously, no one involved wanted the legacy of Martin Luther King fought over in a very public courtroom. So the three children settled, reported today by the Associated Press.  They agreed to allow a neutral person to act as “temporary custodian” to manage the King legacy and corporation, and give the three children time to repair their fractured relationship. This temporary custodian will have a lot on his or her plate.  The King family fight included disagreements over a movie deal with Stephen Spielberg's DreamWorks Studio and a $1.4 million book deal about their famous father's life.  Now the decision to finalize these deals will fall to this temporary custodian. The two warring factions of the King family will each propose three people to serve in this important role, and the judge will interview at least one person from each list and select a single custodian to manage the King estate and legacy. So now a stranger will be left to make decisions about how to protect and uphold the all-important legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.  If he had created a basic will before he died (or better yet, a revocable living trust), King could have hand picked the person or people to manage his affairs and specified what role his children would play.  If he had done so, this entire fight might have been avoided. It's also a good lesson for families facing disputes over the administration of an estate or trust.  The King lawsuit was started because Dexter King's siblings claimed he refused to share information with them and entered into business deals in secret.  Secrecy is rarely a good policy in this situation.  When a loved one dies, families that talk, share information and communicate like a family should can usually avoid feuds like this one.  So do your estate planning, with the help of an experienced attorney.  Hand pick the person you want to manage the savings of a lifetime that you worked so hard for.  And if you lose a parent or other loved one, work together with your siblings and other heirs so that everything is out in the open and no one is left in the dark.  Posted by:  Author and probate attorney Andrew W. Mayoras, co-author of Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights!  and co-founder and shareholder of  The Center for Probate Litigation and  The Center for Elder Law   in metro-Detroit, Michigan, which concentrate in probate litigation, estate planning, and elder law.  You can email him at blog @ trialandheirs.com.

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s three children have been fighting with each other in court over control of his estate and financial legacy.  Here are my prior articles about the Martin Luther King, Jr. estate fight.  Two of the three children had sued Dexter King, their brother, who had the legal authority to make decisions regarding the King Estate.  The Estate was run through a corporation, which Dexter oversaw, until the 2008 lawsuit filed against him in Georgia.

Recently, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural D. Glanville had ordered the trio to hold a shareholders meeting and try to resolve their differences.  He also ruled the case would go to trial if no settlement was reached.  Obviously, no one involved wanted the legacy of Martin Luther King fought over in a very public courtroom.

So the three children settled, reported today by the Associated Press.  They agreed to allow a neutral person to act as “temporary custodian” to manage the King legacy and corporation, and give the three children time to repair their fractured relationship.

This temporary custodian will have a lot on his or her plate.  The King family fight included disagreements over a movie deal with Stephen Spielberg's DreamWorks Studio and a $1.4 million book deal about their famous father's life.  Now the decision to finalize these deals will fall to this temporary custodian.

The two warring factions of the King family will each propose three people to serve in this important role, and the judge will interview at least one person from each list and select a single custodian to manage the King estate and legacy.

So now a stranger will be left to make decisions about how to protect and uphold the all-important legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.  If he had created a basic will before he died (or better yet, a revocable living trust), King could have hand picked the person or people to manage his affairs and specified what role his children would play.  If he had done so, this entire fight might have been avoided.

It's also a good lesson for families facing disputes over the administration of an estate or trust.  The King lawsuit was started because Dexter King's siblings claimed he refused to share information with them and entered into business deals in secret.  Secrecy is rarely a good policy in this situation.  When a loved one dies, families that talk, share information and communicate like a family should can usually avoid feuds like this one. 

So do your estate planning, with the help of an experienced attorney.  Hand pick the person you want to manage the savings of a lifetime that you worked so hard for.  And if you lose a parent or other loved one, work together with your siblings and other heirs so that everything is out in the open and no one is left in the dark. 

Posted by:  Author and probate attorney Andrew W. Mayoras, co-author of Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights! and co-founder and shareholder of The Center for Probate Litigation and http://www.brmmlaw.com/ in metro-Detroit, Michigan, which concentrate in probate litigation, estate planning, and elder law.  You can email him at blog @ trialandheirs.com.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Estate fight is resolved

Brooke Astor’s son found guilty

The jury verdict is in for one of the most intriguing will contest cases ever.  The son of the late New York philanthropist and millionaire, Brooke Astor, had been charged with 16 counts related to fraud, larceny, forgery, and more, stemming from changes to her will and related (alleged) wrongdoing.  Here are my prior blog articles on the case . Well maybe you can remove the word “alleged”.  The jury convicted Anthony Marshall and his co-defendant, lawyer Francis X. Morrissey, Jr.  Marshall, age 85, faces up to 25 years in jail based on the guilty verdict for 14 of the 16 counts, including fraud in connection with her will, larceny, conspiracy and a host of related charges. While some of the convictions do not surprise me — especially the retroactive lump-sum pay raise he gave himself of $1 million (for managing Astor's finances) — I must express my surprise at the will-related convictions.  People with Alzheimer's have good and bad days, and proving Astor was incompetent at the moment of signing, based on the high proof required in a criminal case (beyond a reasonable doubt), was very hard to do.  But the prosecution was aggressive.  The trial lasted more than 19 weeks and involved 72 witness who testified (in varying degrees) about Astor's mental decline.  Only two of these were defense witnesses. Marshall's attorneys have already promised an appeal.  For example, they will clearly challenge the jury verdict based on one juror's note given to the judge during their 12 days of deliberation.  The note said the female juror felt her personal safety was threatened by another juror and asked to be excused.  The judge denied the request.  Defense attorneys argue this prevented the jury from rendering a fair and objective verdict.  With a trial this long, they will likely find dozens of other grounds on which to base their appeal. In addition to the appeal, the case will also move to Surrogate's Court (New York's probate court) to determine whether the will and amendments should be invalidated based on lack of mental competency and fraud.  This seems to be a certainty after the criminal verdict.  How much of Astor's $180 million estate will pass to Marshall remains to be seen.  Here is the New York Times article about the verdict .  Families can learn two valuable lessons from this case.  First, it shows how important the proper estate planning is, because any family can be embroiled in a lengthy and expensive court fight after a loved one passes.  Good estate planning is the best way to prevent this. Second, even the very wealthy can be victims of financial exploitation and abuse.  When you have an elderly loved one with a diagnoses of dementia or Alzheimer's, or even notice increased memory loss or confusion, it is time to help make sure their financial affairs are in order and monitor their bank statements and legal documents.  Apparently, even someone as wealthy as Anthony Marshall can be guilty of this crime (he was already a multi-millionaire).  Imagine what could happen to your elderly parent or grandparent with so many people desperate for money.  Do not turn a blind eye.  Be proactive.  Be safe.  Do not let what happened to Brooke Astor happen to your family members.  It's not always easy to prevent, but the sooner you spot a problem, the easier it is to prevent or rectify. Not sure how to talk to your loved ones about this?  I, with my co-author Danielle Mayoras, wrote a book to help address this very point, including a complete analysis of the Brooke Astor case and dozens of other true celebrity stories.  We help people learn from celebrity errors so they can protect their heirs.  You can learn about Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights! here .    Posted by:  Author and probate attorney Andrew W. Mayoras, co-author of Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights!  and co-founder and shareholder of  The Center for Probate Litigation and  The Center for Elder Law   in metro-Detroit, Michigan, which concentrate in probate litigation, estate planning, and elder law.  You can email him at blog @ trialandheirs.com.

The jury verdict is in for one of the most intriguing will contest cases ever.  The son of the late New York philanthropist and millionaire, Brooke Astor, had been charged with 16 counts related to fraud, larceny, forgery, and more, stemming from changes to her will and related (alleged) wrongdoing.  Here are my prior blog articles on the case.

Well maybe you can remove the word “alleged”.  The jury convicted Anthony Marshall and his co-defendant, lawyer Francis X. Morrissey, Jr.  Marshall, age 85, faces up to 25 years in jail based on the guilty verdict for 14 of the 16 counts, including fraud in connection with her will, larceny, conspiracy and a host of related charges.

While some of the convictions do not surprise me — especially the retroactive lump-sum pay raise he gave himself of $1 million (for managing Astor's finances) — I must express my surprise at the will-related convictions.  People with Alzheimer's have good and bad days, and proving Astor was incompetent at the moment of signing, based on the high proof required in a criminal case (beyond a reasonable doubt), was very hard to do. 

But the prosecution was aggressive.  The trial lasted more than 19 weeks and involved 72 witness who testified (in varying degrees) about Astor's mental decline.  Only two of these were defense witnesses.

Marshall's attorneys have already promised an appeal.  For example, they will clearly challenge the jury verdict based on one juror's note given to the judge during their 12 days of deliberation.  The note said the female juror felt her personal safety was threatened by another juror and asked to be excused.  The judge denied the request.  Defense attorneys argue this prevented the jury from rendering a fair and objective verdict.  With a trial this long, they will likely find dozens of other grounds on which to base their appeal.

In addition to the appeal, the case will also move to Surrogate's Court (New York's probate court) to determine whether the will and amendments should be invalidated based on lack of mental competency and fraud.  This seems to be a certainty after the criminal verdict.  How much of Astor's $180 million estate will pass to Marshall remains to be seen. 

Here is the New York Times article about the verdict

Families can learn two valuable lessons from this case.  First, it shows how important the proper estate planning is, because any family can be embroiled in a lengthy and expensive court fight after a loved one passes.  Good estate planning is the best way to prevent this.

Second, even the very wealthy can be victims of financial exploitation and abuse.  When you have an elderly loved one with a diagnoses of dementia or Alzheimer's, or even notice increased memory loss or confusion, it is time to help make sure their financial affairs are in order and monitor their bank statements and legal documents.  Apparently, even someone as wealthy as Anthony Marshall can be guilty of this crime (he was already a multi-millionaire).  Imagine what could happen to your elderly parent or grandparent with so many people desperate for money. 

Do not turn a blind eye.  Be proactive.  Be safe.  Do not let what happened to Brooke Astor happen to your family members.  It's not always easy to prevent, but the sooner you spot a problem, the easier it is to prevent or rectify.

Not sure how to talk to your loved ones about this?  I, with my co-author Danielle Mayoras, wrote a book to help address this very point, including a complete analysis of the Brooke Astor case and dozens of other true celebrity stories.  We help people learn from celebrity errors so they can protect their heirs.  You can learn about Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights! here.   

Posted by:  Author and probate attorney Andrew W. Mayoras, co-author of Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights! and co-founder and shareholder of The Center for Probate Litigation and http://www.brmmlaw.com/ in metro-Detroit, Michigan, which concentrate in probate litigation, estate planning, and elder law.  You can email him at blog @ trialandheirs.com.

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Brooke Astor’s son found guilty

New Book To Help Avoid Celebrity Estate Planning Blunders

“Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!” Explores High-Profile Cases & Offers Expert Advice

New evidence coming in the Michael Jackson Estate case

The Michael Jackson probate dispute between his mother and his two executors has been active since it started this summer.  But it looks like it’s about to really get heated up. For starters, Katherine Jackson, Michael’s mother and a primary beneficiary (along with his children and unnamed charities), has been challenging decisions made by co-executors John Branca and John McClain on a regular basis.  She had asked for, and received, permission from the judge to allow her to challenge them based on conflict of interest and undue influence without jeopardizing her rights as a beneficiary under the “no contest clause” of Jackson’s will and trust. A “no contest clause” is a common provision than many people use in their wills and trusts to discourage family fighting.  It usually says that anyone who files a legal challenge and loses gives up their inheritance.  Katherine Jackson wanted to be free to challenge Branca and McClain without fear of losing her inheritance, and the judge allowed her to do so. So far, her challenge have been limited to objecting to certain decisions they make (such as the many business deals they’ve entered into on behalf of the Jackson Estate) and asking the judge to reduce …

The Michael Jackson probate dispute between his mother and his two executors has been active since it started this summer.  But it looks like it’s about to really get heated up.

For starters, Katherine Jackson, Michael’s mother and a primary beneficiary (along with his children and unnamed charities), has been challenging decisions made by co-executors John Branca and John McClain on a regular basis.  She had asked for, and received, permission from the judge to allow her to challenge them based on conflict of interest and undue influence without jeopardizing her rights as a beneficiary under the “no contest clause” of Jackson’s will and trust.

A “no contest clause” is a common provision than many people use in their wills and trusts to discourage family fighting.  It usually says that anyone who files a legal challenge and loses gives up their inheritance.  Katherine Jackson wanted to be free to challenge Branca and McClain without fear of losing her inheritance, and the judge allowed her to do so.

So far, her challenge have been limited to objecting to certain decisions they make (such as the many business deals they’ve entered into on behalf of the Jackson Estate) and asking the judge to reduce their legal authority.  The judge so far has allowed them to keep control and make decisions, including entering into business deals and deal with creditors without his approval, as long as Katherine didn’t object.  He also recently reiterated that Katherine Jackson is be kept informed.

But it seems this isn’t enough for Katherine.  Instead, she seems ready to ramp up her efforts.  Just a couple days ago, Katherine replaced her legal team with a new attorney, who has handled celebrity probate battles in the Anna Nicole Smith, Marlon Brando and James Brown cases.

One of the other attorneys representing Katherine says that this new probate lawyer was brought in because of “new evidence”.  This evidence must be important, for he also said, “The case is now moving in a different direction”.

So what is the new evidence?  Cnn.com and TMZ both said the new evidence questions the authenticity of Michael Jackson’s signature on the will.  Family members said that he was in New York when the will was supposed to have been signed, meaning he couldn’t possibly have signed it.

What do you think?  You can read Michael Jackson’s will here and see his signature for yourself.

Disputes over celebrity wills, trusts and estates can make for interesting reading.  But they can also be very helpul for those who don’t want their families to end up the same way.  Don’t let your heirs suffer from the same celebrity planning errors that happen time and time again.

Visit TrialAndHeirs.com to learn more how to use these celebrity stories to protect your family.

Posted by:  Author and probate attorney Andrew W. Mayoras, co-author of Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights! and co-founder and shareholder of The Center for Probate Litigation and http://www.brmmlaw.com/ in metro-Detroit, Michigan, which concentrate in probate litigation, estate planning, and elder law.  You can email him at blog @ trialandheirs.com.

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New evidence coming in the Michael Jackson Estate case

Now available for pre-order!

Loading Quotes… Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights! is now available! Click here for a FREE PREVIEW , or you can buy the book today . Learn more ABOUT THE BOOK , or read ABOUT THE AUTHORS . If you’re a member of the press, please visit the

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Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights! is now available! Click here for a FREE PREVIEW, or you can buy the book today.

Learn more ABOUT THE BOOK, or read ABOUT THE AUTHORS. If you’re a member of the press, please visit the PRESS & INTERVIEWS page. And don’t forget to sign-up for updates to the right.

Recent ‘Famous Fortune Fight’ blog articles…

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Now available for pre-order!

Who is watching over mom when you’re not there?

My parents: Dale and Rose

My parents: Dale and Rose

Women today are faced with a real dilemma as Caregivers:  How do we manage all our roles: as wife, life partner, mother, business owner or career woman, volunteer and more often as primary caregiver to our parents?  This is known as living in the Sandwich Generation.  I call it being the Designated Daughter.

My Story:  Last Sunday, I went to check up on my mother who resides at a local, very upscale, assisted living facility.  What happened next was scary.  Because of my professional training as a Certified Financial Planner and Certified Senior Advisor and my recent experience helping my step-father during his final year long struggle with lung cancer, I may have been more prepared to notice “red flags” in her care.  I just wonder, however, what would have happened had I not stopped by that night, or had been living out-of-state.  Let me first fill you in. 

What happened two nights before (Friday night):  My mother who suffers from Dementia had been in the hospital just two night prior after complaining about heart pain.  She had been receiving the physical therapy that I had requested after her last hospital visit only 30 days prior.  The facility had given her a nitro glycerine pill which had caused her heart rate to drop dramatically.  The facility called an ambulance and sent her to the hospital.

I was called, and when I arrived at the hospital, I found her disoriented, exhausted, in a weakened condition andin very poor hygiene.  I won’t go into detail, but I was very embarrassed for her, and after her vitals were normal again, I took her back home to the facility, where I made sure that she received a shower.   I had not idea at this time, that she had a low grade urinary tract infection and that she should have stayed at the hospital.

Caregiver Red Flags:   This was still Friday night after bringing my mother back to the facility for a shower and helping her get settled.  I went to the nurses station and requested to see her personal file and medical file.  This is when I found that she was still receiving Vicodent to manage her pain on a daily basis.  The Vicodent had been prescribed about a month ago for the pain related to “old” compression fractions. 

Next, I went out to talk with the employees of the facility to see if they had noticed any changes changes in her health or ability to take care of herself, this is what I was told:

  • She had been more tired than normal
  • Spending a lot of time in bed complaining about pain
  • She also seemed to be “out of it” most of the time

My mother has always been very social and very active.  On July 4th, she had played pool with my husband for a couple of hours, helped me in the kitchen and garden.  In addition, she would play cards with her friends for hours.  I would often join them after dinner and we would play until 10 pm.  I was told that in the last month, she would sit at the card table and not even be able to play the cards in her hand because she was “so high or out of it”.

What they were referring to was the combination of prescriptions she was taking, plust the added dose of Vicodent that she had been prescribed for a urinary tract infection last month.   This also explains why she was getting weaker and weaker.  I noticed that over the last month, she had been riding around in a wheel chair, but I had no idea that Vicodent had been prescribed for long term pain management.

So on Sunday night, after receiving a call from the nurse that my mom was not feelling very well, I decided that I would  stop in to check on her.  To my horror, she seemed to be close to death.  She was lying in bed shaking (she had a high fever from a urinary tract infection)

  • She was dehydrated (I gave her a 12 oz. glass of water with a straw and she sucked it down in one gulp)
  • She could only speak in a whisper and had no idea anything was wrong with her. 
  • She looked as frail as a little bird and I knew she was dying. 

Right then, her caregiver walked in

  • I asked her if my mom was receiving food or water.  She said that the day before, my mother was in so much pain, that she was not really eating or drinking. 
  • The young, pregnant caregiver also said that when she tried to help my mother get to the bathroom, my mother had put her arms around her and lifted her legs like a little monkey to be carried.
  • My monther was also in a diaper because she could not control her bladder.

This is when I walked out into the lobby and asked for an ambulance immediately.  It was now almost 7 pm, Sunday night.  Thank God I had stopped by.

When we arrived to the hospital, she was put on an IV and given antibiotics.  She had a very high fever and a urinary tract infection.  This is when the nurse discussed the dangers of the sepsis infection with me.  The high levels of Vicodent may have been masking the pain she was experiencing from the urinary tract infection.  In addition, she had not been drinking enough fluids because of the drugs causing her to be “high”.  This may have caused the UTI to simply get worse and continue unnoticed.

This story has ended up okay, my mom is now safe and recuperating well at Fox Run in the skilled care section.  Because I am experienced in issues related to caregiving, this is what was going through my mind when she first arrived to the hospital on Sunday:

  • my mother needed a three day hospital stay to qualify for Medicare to cover rehab/skilled care for up to 100 days.  
  • She was very week and needed to build her strength and get back to her prior level of strength, but there was no exercise equipment at her current facility and this may have  attributed to her declining health.
  • I better get busy and figure out where I wanted her to live when she left the hospital, because although I loved the social aspect of her current facility, they may not have  a proper protocol when someone’s health is on the decline.
  • I contacted Fox Run, an Erickson facility that had a new skilled care/rehab center and also offered 5 levels of custodial care and I wanted to make sure she could go there, even though the hospital care manager would request 3 different rehab facilities
  • I would need to check my mother’s assets because Fox Run requires residents of the Assisted Living Facility to come up with a $99,000 cash deposit and then go through financial underwriting to see if she qualified.
  • Also, my mother had a long term care policy that paid $150/day benefit for a skilled care facility.  Currently she was only receiving 60% of the benefit since her current facility was classified “assisted living”.

There are so many decisions a caregiver is required to make when dealing with a loved one.  I just hope by sharing this information, I will be able to help others “be prepared for that call in the night”.  Currently, I am working with the management at the assisted living facility where my mother is living to help them see what went wrong so it won’t happen to another resident.  I honestly have loved her current facility…they have been wonderful and this is her home. The problem is that by simply missing a few red flags, a resident’s health can change very quickly.  Also, I needed to be contacted more frequently with important information about her wellbeing. 

Be sure to download your free copy of, “Your Caregiver’s Manual” right here on this website.  It will take you step by step how to get organized financially when helping a loved one.  If you would like a consultation about your own personal situation, please feel free to email me at katana@designateddaughter.com   

I am interested in your stories.  In fact, I am currently writing my new book, The Designated Daughter:  How to Be Prepared for that Call in the Night and interested in your challenges, and success stories of being a caregiver.  I would love to hear from you on this blog, so please leave a reply. Thank you!

Women Educating Women Miniseries

Smart Women’s Coaching’s Own Contributing Experts Danielle Mayoras and Jill Jordan are proud panelists for the miniseries:

What Every Women Needs to Know to Care for Loved Ones

Now and in the Future

Rochester, Michigan – September 15, 2009

A series of three free workshops focused on the financial, estate and care planning issues women face every day.

This community program will take place at the Rochester Community Center, 816 Ludlow St, Rochester, MI

Workshop dates are September 15th, 22nd and 29th, 2009

All three workshops will run from 6:30 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.

This educational series is presented by the Women Educating Women Consortium.

Attendees, should RSVP to 1-877-PLAN-758.


The Women Educating Women Consortium is a collaborative effort of female professionals, for the purpose of educating women in areas in which they are the decision maker.  These are the life circumstances and issues affecting them daily.  The material to be covered in this community event will address and answer questions women have which impact their families.  Some of the areas to be discussed are; indicators which should lead to taking an active role in a loved one’s life, senior care options, what to look for in a senior community,  Medicare and Medicaid and their relationship to funding care,  what are the Veteran’s benefits, information about long term care insurance and retirement and estate planning.

Presenters:

Danielle Mayoras – Attorney and Counselor,  The Center for Elder Law

Jill Jordan – Founder and Principal of Get Ahead by Getting Known

Mary Jo Fresard – Director of Community Relations at Sunrise Senior Living Rochester

Joann Lagman – Owner of  Home Helpers & Direct Link’s  Washington/Romeo office

Nancy Salvia – Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch

Candius Stearns – Owner of DFBenefits

Call 1-877-PLAN-758 to RSVP, Space is limited – reserve your seat today!

Announcing the Designated Daughter Radio Show

Join Katana Abbott, Midlife Millionaire and Danielle Mayoras, Elder Law Expert as they co-host their new and highly requested radio show “Designated Daughter” on Smart Women Talk Radio.

The first show airs Tuesday, August 25th, 8:00 am (PST)/11:00am (EST).

You must tune in to this show if you are a caregiver, a future caregiver, baby boomer, or a professional who services caregivers.  As two highly acclaimed experts in their fields, Katana and Danielle will discuss topics that are surrounding today’s aging population.  Expert guests will join them addressing how to overcome the most common hurdles caregivers, and professionals servicing the aging and caregiving population face.

katana_abbott2Katana Abbott, CFP, CSA

Smart Women Talk Radio teaches you to live with Purpose, Passion and Prosperity.

Katana Abbott knows firsthand the powers of an organized financial strategy. She left her $100 million investment management and financial planning practice to become founder and vision coach of Smart Women’s Coaching, a global online coaching, consulting, leadership and membership resource. Rising from a life of poverty and adversity to one of abundance, Katana spent 20 years with Ameriprise Financial as a Certified Financial Planner. At the age of 48, Katana retired financially independent. She and her partner of 15 years managed over $100 million which placed them in the top 1 percent of money managers nationally. She began pursuing her dream and created Smart Women’s Coaching in 2006, which has prospered into www.SmartWomensCafe.com, the free online networking community that is helping women in mid-life transition all around the world find their niche.

For more information, please visit www.SmartWomensCafe.com or email Katana directly at katana@smartwomenscoaching.com.

DBM Headshot 2008 - revised Danielle Mayoras, Attorney and Counselor, CPG (Credentialed Professional Gerontologist), Director of Education, for The Center for Elder Law, The Center for Probate Litigation and The Center for Special Needs Planning

Danielle Mayoras has dedicated her legal career to educating professionals and businesses as well as the general public on the topics of elder law, special needs planning, and general estate planning through presentations, print, and broadcast media across the United States.  She is a founding partner of The Center for Elder Law, The Center for Probate Litigation, and The Center for Special Needs Planning.

Additionally, Danielle is the co-author of the upcoming book Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights which you can learn more about at www.trialandheirs.com. Trial & Heirs uses real celebrity stories to help you avoid any errors when planning to leave your legacy to YOUR heirs.

 

 

Some of Danielle’s recent publications include: Exceptional Parent Magazine, Michigan Lawyers Weekly, and the Detroit Free Press.  She is also an active member of National Association of Elder Law Attorneys, The Michigan Dementia Coalition, National Speakers Association, Institute of Gerontology’s Elder Law and Finance Committee, and National Association for Professional Gerontologists.

For more information, email Danielle at  dmayoras@brmmlaw.com, or call 1-877-PLAN-758.

 

How Parents Can Provide Financially for a Special Needs Child in This Uncertain Economy

by Danielle Mayoras and Don Rosenberg

Have you ever wondered what would happen to your special needs loved one if you passed away tomorrow? Have you done everything possible to ensure that your loved one with special needs will maintain his or her government benefits and receive an inheritance from you? For many parents with special needs children, whether the children are minors or adults, these questions linger in the back of their minds. Estate planning is always important to do, however, when one of our beneficiaries is a special needs loved one, the planning becomes critical.

When a parent leaves an inheritance over $2,000 to an individual with special needs, then that inheritance is actually a gift to the government because it eliminates that child’s qualification for government benefits. Parents and attorneys armed with the basic knowledge, that you cannot have assets in excess of $2,000 and still qualify for government benefits, often think that the only reliable method to protect a special needs loved one is to disinherit them. They believe, or are counseled, that leaving their inheritance to another child or individual who will morally take care of their special needs loved one solves the problem. In most cases, however, this does not solve the problem, but only makes it worse. Leaving everything to your daughter “Susie” if “Johnny” has special needs, would allow Susie’s creditors to attach Johnny’s money. In addition, if Susie is having a bad year financially, there is nothing to stop her from using the money for herself. Furthermore, if Susie passes away, this money would go on to her beneficiaries and not to Johnny.

Parents can solve all of these problems by creating a Special Needs Trust. A properly drafted Special Needs Trust allows the special needs individual to maintain government benefits and to use the inheritance for everything but food and shelter. The Special Needs Trust is the perfect solution and the only reliable method to make sure that your inheritance benefits your child with special needs. The Special Needs Trust keeps assets in a form that will be available for your child and allows your child to maintain and receive government benefits.

A properly drafted Special Needs Trust will specify that funds from the Trust only supplement and do not replace the government benefits. These funds can be used for extra medical care, personal items, such as t.v.s, radios, computers, vacations, companionship, advocates or any other item or service to enhance your child’s self-esteem and situation, anything except food and shelter. With respect to shelter, your child can use the money to purchase a home, but cannot use the money for rent.

Oftentimes, parents who have minor or adult children with Cerebral Palsy wonder what the future will hold for their special loved one. Will they be productive in society, will they need governmental benefits, who will take care of them and be responsible for their financial needs? We have developed a very unique approach to address these questions – the Wait and See Special Needs Trust. A Special Needs Trust would be set up as a vessel for an inheritance to go into, however, a decision would be made by the trustee at the time that the parents pass away whether or not this individual is likely to need government benefits in the future. Specifically the Wait and See Trust requires the trustee to test and have your special needs loved one evaluated educationally, cognitively, rehabilitatively, physically and emotionally. These evaluations also include, but are not limited to, a physical and psychological evaluation, an evaluation of education and training programs, work opportunities and earnings, recreation, leisure time, and social needs. If he or she is not likely to need government benefits, then the Special Needs Trust would not be used and the assets can then be used for basic needs as well as special needs. The benefit of this, of course, is that we have the advantage of planning for an unknown future.

As a parent, not only do you want to provide an inheritance for you child or your children, but when you have a child with special needs, you often are the only one who knows their medical needs i.e. doctors, prescriptions, as well as the child’s likes and dislikes. The Special Needs Trust incorporates a Letter of Guidance that addresses all of the information that caregivers so vitally need.

While government agencies recognize Special Needs Trusts, there are strict rules and it is critical that you work with an experienced special needs attorney to draft the Trust. We have reviewed countless Special Needs Trusts that do not comply with Social Security Insurance and Medicaid rules. One wrong word or phrase can make the difference between an inheritance that benefits your child and one that causes your child to lose the many services, assistance and benefits available.
We know that a parent’s greatest worry is what will happen after I am gone. One parent shares his experience as follows:

“It had been in the back of my mind for years, soon after I found out my son had this lifelong disability. What would the future hold for him when I wasn’t there anymore to be his advocate, friend and supporter? It was both a big and little worry. Big, because it gave me a hole in my gut whenever the question crept in. And little, in the sense that I tried not to think about it. I’d think: I’ll worry about that tomorrow, next week, when he’s older, when I’m older.

Of course, I’ve done things to prepare for that future he’s going to have without me, things like teaching him how to wash clothes and shop. But should I write a Will? Make an estate plan? No, for years, I dodged that one totally. But you know, it’s funny. Now that we’re finished setting up our estate and only need periodically to review our plans, I feel like an enormous burden has been lifted up from me. The big, black, scary shadow is gone. Well, not totally gone, I suppose. I still worry about Samuel, what will happen to him in his life. I guess every parent does that. But now I don’t worry in the same way. I know I’ve done all I can do for that part of his future, something that was extremely important to do, and I am very relieved. Now I feel like we can deal fully with the present day and see to the other things that need to be done to prepare our child for life as an adult.

And that’s very exciting.”

Parents of special needs children can solve their greatest worry with a properly drafted Special Needs Trust.

Please contact Danielle Mayoras for additional information or questions at dmayoras@brmmlaw.com or 1-877-PLAN-758.

 

Reprinted from Alzheimer’s Disease & Related Dementias: a Guidebook for Care, Comfort, Legal and Financial Security.

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