PREVENTIVE LAW ALERT #1©
Preventive Law Alerts are patterned after an annual publication to all mountain climbers called “Accidents in North American Mountaineering” which documents all mountaineering accidents describing the accident, what caused it, and how it may have been prevented so that further mountain climbing catastrophes may be avoided. Preventive Law Alerts are the equivalent of “Legal Accidents in North American Law” – a description of the legal catastrophe and how it may be avoided using preventive law techniques.
The Legal Catastrophe
Your elderly parents have moved to a retirement community. Your dad dies soon after, and your mother is finding her memory is not quite what it used to be. She has hired a sweet lady to live with and care for her inside her home. You have a secure feeling she is being well cared for because the caregiver is so kind and friendly when you call to inquire about your mother.
You did not know the caregiver was given a Power of Attorney by your mother, and that the caregiver is helping herself to your mother’s savings account. At the same time, the caregiver is confiscating the family heirlooms, which she will later claim were given to her by your mother.
When stagecoaches went out of business in the southwest, the stage-coach robbers were left without work. Most of them moved to retirement communities and became caregivers for the elderly.
The Preventive Law Solution
The following are our recommendations when you have a family member who lives alone and brings in another person to help out:
1. Go through a licensed private fiduciary to assist you in finding someone who has been checked out by the agency.
2. Be sure your family member has an attorney who knows your family and who was instructed to watch out for your loved one.
3. Verify your family member has a certified public accountant (CPA) to handle all checks, receipts, financial information, and prepare tax returns. Chances are a CPA will notice anything unusual when they review these documents in preparation of the tax return.
4. Make it a point for a family member to visit your loved one at least once every quarter to make sure their mental and physical condition has not deteriorated, and to generally check the living conditions.
5. Make sure your family member has not given financial or legal power of attorney to anyone without concurrence with the family attorney.
6. Call the caregiver for frequent reports.
7. Be sure your elderly family members enact Basic Legal Emergency Documents consisting of: (1) Medical Power of Attorney, (2) Mental Health Power of Attorney, (3) Living Will, (4) Durable General Power of Attorney, (5) HIPAA Consent, (6) Enforceable Funeral and Burial Instructions, (7) Last Will and Testament in which they designate who they want as a Personal Representative after death, and a Guardian and Conservator if they become incapacitated. These documents must be stored where the family may easily locate them.
If you do all of these things, chances are you will catch a snake before it bites.
DISCLAIMER The content of this report is general in nature and is meant to be used for informational purposes only. Due to possible changes in the law and interpretations of the law, in addition to the uniqueness of each individual’s situation, this report should not be relied upon as an expression of legal advice. Before any action is taken by the reader, it is imperative that legal counsel or professional advisors be consulted.
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