From Susan M. Graham’s book “Can Lawyers Always Save the Day for Seniors?”
- Stay connected with older loved ones through regular phone calls, visits and emails.
- Get to know your neighbors and check on them when you see something does not look right.This is especially important when you know they live alone.
- Create a “safety net” for a senior who lives alone. One simple step is a daily call, email, or text between the senior and the friend. If the contact is missed, the friend can follow up with a visit or enlist a neighbor of the senior to find out why.
- When someone dies at home but not in the presence of a medical-care provider, call the police or the county coroner. Immediately!
- When a person is still mentally sharp, have them sign a “Power of Attorney” where they nominate a first and alternate family member or friend to make financial and health decisions for them when they are unable to help themselves.
- Set up online payment of bills and direct deposit for checks.
- Do not sign any documents that you don’t understand.
- Consider having a court appoint a conservator to remove exposure to financial exploitation.
- Arrange for a duplicate copy of all financial statements (from banks, brokerages, credit unions, etc.) to be mailed to the senior’s financial agent named in the Financial Power of Attorney.
- Develop a relationship with caregivers. They will be less likely to harm the elder because they know someone is paying attention.
- For all titled assets, check who is the titled owner. Titled assets include: bank accounts and lock boxes, Certificates of Deposit, Money Market accounts, investments, annuities, vehicles, deeds.
- Coordinate the beneficiary designations on life insurance, annuities, and retirement accounts with the estate plan (family trust or will).
- Certified Elder Law National Attorney Directory – National Elder Law Foundation (nelf.org)
- Certified Care Managers National Directory – Aging Life Care Association (aginglifecare.org)
Susan M. Graham published a book entitled “Can Lawyers Always Save the Day for Seniors? – True Retirement Stories”. She wrote this to share stories of common problems for elders that can be avoided or minimized if they just took time to plan and seek help.
If you would like a copy, you can obtain it two ways: One, download it for free from the Senior Edge Legal Website, or two, you can have a hard copy for $10 to cover postage and handling. For a hard copy please request using our CONTACT US page on the website, or send an email with your request, method of payment (credit card or send us a check), and mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you choose to pay with a credit card, we will call you to obtain that information.
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