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Seattle Probate & Estate Administration Law Blog

Watch out for holiday scams that target seniors

The holidays should be a time for family, joy and togetherness. Unfortunately, criminals know that the holidays are also a prime time for fraud and scams that target seniors. That is because a lot of money changes hands during the season. Between charitable giving, buying gifts and travel, scammers find many opportunities to cross our paths. Here are a few common scams to watch for during the holidays:

Can my aging parent still handle their own finances?

Your aging mother has stopped cleaning the house, your father forgets to eat unless he is reminded, or perhaps, someone took advantage of him in a financial scam. These are common symptoms of aging and you may be concerned that your loved one is developing dementia. How do you know when it is the right time to step in to take over the checkbook?

 

How mediators can help family caregivers

As a caregiver for your elderly parent, you may find yourself at odds with your siblings on occasion. Your brothers or sisters sometimes dispute important aspects of your parent's care, including medical treatment, living arrangements and caregiving responsibilities. Sometimes, the conflicts become so contentious that nothing is accomplished except making everyone angry.

When family members clash over the care of their senior parent, they may choose to work with a mediator. A mediator is a neutral professional who can help the parties in a dispute come to a mutually satisfactory arrangement. There are many ways that mediators can help caregivers.

Dealing with guilt: A family caregiver’s dilemma

As a parent or loved one ages, your role may slowly, or suddenly, change. It’s now the season of life where the care you were once provided is reciprocated. Whether your role as caregiver is in an official capacity, or you are simply assisting when needed, managing that on top of everything else can be overwhelming.

From concerns about spending too much or too little time with your parent to where they will get the best care, the end result is often the same: guilt. Here are some common scenarios and tips for alleviating the guilt that often accompanies the caregiver role.

How siblings can avoid fighting over caregiving disagreements

As your parents get older, it will become increasingly important for you and your siblings to come together and help your parents find the best caregiving options. Depending on the circumstances and the health of your parents, you may be able to hire in-home caregivers that allow your parents to stay in their own home. In other situations, an assisted living facility, adult family home, memory care community, or a skilled nursing facility may be more appropriate.

No matter what decision you and your parents ultimately make, it is helpful when siblings can be on the same page. Having these conversations, however, is not always easy. Family members may have different ideas about honoring autonomy versus enhancing safety. Tempers can flare. These conflicts can quickly become heated arguments that create lasting rifts within your family.

Why you need to review and update beneficiary designations

A typical benefit at many jobs is a life insurance policy. On one of the first days on the job you might have completed a related beneficiary designation. Open a bank account, an investment account or buy a private life insurance policy and you have also completed these fields whether you remember who you listed or not.

Beneficiary designations often go neglected. What many people do not realize is that these payable-on-death accounts pass outside of a will and probate. Because of this you need to review them for accuracy during the estate planning process.

5 tips to help you choose the right assisted living community

Making the decision to move your loved ones into an assisted living home or community can be tough, especially with the wide variety of options in facilities there is today. Deciding which facility will be the best fit can be overwhelming.

In addition to considering the affordability of each community, there are also other key factors to consider. These few tips can help make the decision easier for all of you.

Can I find a guardian for my elderly neighbor?

Elder abuse, neglect or deteriorating health can be a difficult subject to broach, especially when speaking to a neighbor. What can you do as a non-family member? Can you legally get involved with their well-being? Is it even your place to get involved? If you're a concerned neighbor, you do have options for helping an elderly neighbor.

Elderly people continue to be targeted by scam artists

As long as there are senior citizens living in our communities, there will be an abundance of scam artists targeting this vulnerable group in order to steal their money, identity and dignity.

For years, phone scams have been one of the go-to deceptions used by hucksters, manipulators, and thieves. With advancements in technology, phone scams have evolved in their sophistication. And while con artists continue to rely on this old way of trickery, they are constantly creating new tricks to scam older people, especially elderly widows.

VA benefits available to aging Veterans

The results from the 2015 national census estimate there are 9.3 million Veterans over the age of 65 living in the U.S. These veterans served in a range of wartime conflicts around the globe. Elderly Veterans served in World War II, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam War and the Gulf War.

Aging Veterans often face additional challenges as a result of their time served. Veterans are confronted with disabilities, PTSD and homelessness. Along with the standard benefits offered to Veterans of all ages, elderly Veterans have access to additional benefits.