Caregiverlist's "Ask the Expert" section allows you to submit your senior care questions to industry experts, including Alexis Martin Neely, an attorney specializing in family law. Alexis was a guest on Good Morning America today, discussing her recent book "Wear Clean Underwear", along with estate planning.
She also talks about 5 legal documents every family should have on Good Morning America today.
seniorcare, estateplanning, caregiving
Senior caregivers know the difficulties of caring for someone with memory loss. But sometimes when you see someone daily, you do not as easily notice some of the early warning signs for memory loss in the form of Alzheimer's Disease. The Alzheimer's Association has been promoting their new "Know the 10 Signs" for early detection and early diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease.
These 10 signs include:
1) Memory changes that disrupt daily life
2) Challenges in planning or solving problems
3) Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
4) Confusion with time or place
5) Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
6) New problems with words in speaking or writing
7) Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
8) Decreased or poor judgment
9) Withdrawal from work or social activities
10) Changes in mood and personality
As soon as you notice signs of memory loss, it is a good time to make sure the senior has an estate plan in place and to understand the ways to pay for senior care as many years of caregiving are often necessary for those living with memory loss.
seniorcare, caregiving, memoryloss senior, care, AlzheimersDisease
Today's Chicago Tribune features an interview with Caregiverlist's Senior Living Expert, Lisa Sneddon, discussing how the current economic downturn has resulted in new pricing values at Assisted Living Communities. Since many seniors cannot sell their homes, their retirement plans to downsize and relocate to an Assisted Living Community have been derailed.
However, there are now new options available for relocating to a senior community, from bridge loans until the senior's house is sold to waived move-in fees from the senior community.
Lisa's service is paid for by the Assisted Living Communities as she will provide unbiased information to seniors and their families to give them the scoop on services and amenities at communities beyond just the costs - you know, if you are going to move in to a new community, it is the same as buying a house, you want to know a little about the neighbors and the community activities. And, it is important to consider the care services that will be available as you age - from dementia care to nursing care. Lisa will take the senior on a tour and will answer all the questions you might have been afraid to ask if you were shopping on your own. She helps make sure the move-in will be a success and permanent.
Check out the Chicago Tribune story here.
seniorcare, assistedliving, retirement
Leona Helmsley, nicknamed "the Queen of Mean", left $12 million in her trust to care for her Maltese dog, Trouble. Rumor has it that she had few friends, so it was appropriate for her to leave more money to her dog than to people. She left around $10 million to two grandsons and the rest of her estate, estimated as worth between $3 billion and $8 billion, went to the Helmsley Charitable trust. She stated that the mission of the trust should be to provide for the care of dogs. Even though she only owned a dog later in life and gave away another dog which she was given as a gift (named "Double Trouble), because she didn't really like him. She still decided to change her trust two years prior to death to only provide for dogs and deleted the previous mission which also included caring for "poor children".
The interesting part of this trust, is that even though it would seem Leona, as a bilionaire, would have had very experienced attorneys, they did make some legal mistakes in writing her will.
First, Leona requests her dog to be buried beside her when it passes away. However, she is buried in a human cemetery and New York state law does not allow animals to be buried in human cemeteries. People can be buried in pet cemeteries but not the other way around in New York. This was an error by her attorney in not checking New York state law regarding pet burial.
Second, her dog is 9 years old and has a variety of medical issues, which combined with the life-expectancy of a Maltese means Trouble will probably live only another 5 years. It seems that the attorneys managing her trust could not come up with a way to spend $12 million on a dog (even with the best dog food and spa treatments) in 5 years. And, Leona didn't specify how the dog should be cared for and what the money should be spent on. Lawyers managing her trust have decided $2 million will be more than ample for the dog's care (and because the relatives Leona left the dog to actually didn't want the burden of caring for the dog, one of her hotel employees is being paid $5,000 a month to care for Trouble). The lawyers then arranged for the other $10 million that was left to Trouble to go back to Leona's charitable trust.
According to a recent New Yorker magazine article, only 38 states allow for "pet trusts" in order for people to provide for the care of their pets after they die. However, the law is still catching up with the nuances these trusts present. It is probably important to be a little more specific in how the money is to be used when leaving it in a trust to a pet, since the pet cannot effectively communicate their wishes for spending the money. Especially in Leona's case, since it turns out the people she wanted to care for Trouble did not really want the dog, and the day-to-day care and love from a human owner is probably what a pet most wants when their owner passes away.
A website that assists with pet trusts: www.mypetprotection.com
pets, care, trusts