Posts Tagged ‘lawyer’

Fraud is still out there.

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Fraud is still out there.

Scammers continue to target seniors.

The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, a non-profit organization, conducted a survey of financial planners. In this survey they found that seniors who become victims of financial abuse lose an estimated $140,500.

The financial planners surveyed indicated that seniors who were victims of “unfair, deceptive or abusive practices” were often scammed through misleading marketing schemes. As we have said before, there is no such thing as a free lunch. But often that is just what the scammers do is lure seniors in with a seminar where they get a free lunch. The catch is that is really a sales pitch for misleading or fraudulent investments. 73% of the advisors surveyed said they knew a senior that was invited to this type of “free lunch” seminar.

The financial advisors also stated that they knew of seniors getting unsolicited pitches at home through the mail, e-mail, or the phone. While these type of investment scams, reverse mortgage scams and even sweepstakes scams are prevalent, sometimes seniors are also victims of fraud committed by someone they know. Of the planners surveyed, 35 % of them reported that they knew of at least one case were an elder was the victim of financial abuse by someone they knew. And another 20% said that the perpetrator was the guardian or Power of Attorney for the senior.

And the types of fraud don’t end there either. 83% of the advisors surveyed stated that seniors have been scammed by other financial advisors. Just like the “free lunch” seminars, there are financial advisors out there that have offered inappropriate financial products to seniors, as well as, misrepresented or omitted information about the costs and risks of those products.

Despite the fact that these types of fraud result in big losses for seniors, only 16% actually report the abuse to authorities. Many things can deter seniors from reporting crime, if the perpetrator is a family member they may not want to press charges or they may be afraid to report them. Some seniors may be embarrassed to admit they feel for a scheme, for fear people will think they are feeble. Or, they may be experiencing cognitive impairment or dementia and don’t want to admit that either.

It is important to make sure the people you’ve selected or hired to help with your finances are trustworthy. It never hurts to obtain a second opinion about any investment advice. If you think you’ve been the victim of financial abuse or fraud, please report it. If you are concerned that a loved one may have been taken advantage of, encourage them to report it or make the call yourself.

You can report financial abuse to the police. You can also reach out to your County Office on Aging to find out about programs or services. To report any elder abuse concern please contact your County Adult Protective service agency.

To find your County Office on Aging phone # visit, www.njfoundationforaging.org/services.html or call 1-877-222-3737.

To find your County’s Adult Protective Service agency visit: http://www.state.nj.us/health/senior/adultpsp.shtml

or call 1-800-792-8820

APPROVED CREDITS AVAILABLE FOR CPAs AND LAWYERS!

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

APPROVED CREDITS AVAILABLE FOR CPAs AND LAWYERS!

The New Jersey Foundation for Aging (NJFA) is pleased to announce the upcoming session on recognizing cognitive impairments and their impacts when considering financial and estate planning needs. This session will be presented by national experts covering both the medical realities and the legal imperatives on June 19th at Baltusrol Golf Club.

The speakers include John Heath, MD, AGSF, clinician, researcher, and author of more than 60 articles. He will provide examples of conditions that may compromise clients: brain injury, stroke, Alzheimer’s, COPD, MS, Parkinson disease. These are just some of the many risk factors that may impact your client’s cognitive capacity.  Martin Shenkman, CPA, MBA, AEP, PFS, JD, who is legal practitioner and award winning author of more than 40 books on tax and estate planning will present practical steps to assess the client’s estate and financial planning needs, drafting steps, financial tools and legal safeguards to create to mitigate the risks clients with health challenges face.

Five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease; 400,000 are living with Multiple Sclerosis; Parkinson’s disease affects 1% of those over age 65; 130 million Americans live with some type of chronic disease. Clearly, these health issues and others affect Estate Planning.

3 CPE hours approved for CPAs; 3 CEs approved for CFPs; 3 CLEs have been approved for attorneys.

The session is being held at the Baltusrol Golf Club, 201 Shunpike Road, Springfield, NJ 07081 on June 19th. To Register go to www.njfoundationforaging.org/events.html

Are you prepared? What is an Advanced Directive?

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Are you prepared?

What is an Advance Directive? Why would you need one? Where do you get a form? These are all important questions for anyone, but especially for older adults. You know your rights as a patient and that you can make your own decision about medical treatments, you discuss them with your physician. But what if you were not able to discuss them with your doctor? What if you became incapacitated and were incapable of conversation or comprehension?

That’s where an Advance Directive can help you. They have many other names and come in various types. Some people refer to them as Living Wills, or Instruction Directive, this type of Advance Directive allows for you to make a statement about your treatment preferences. Another type, Proxy Directive or Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, allows you to name a proxy, someone you trust to make decisions for you if you are not able. There is also a Combined Directive, in which you may give instructions as to your care if you are incapacitated but also name a proxy to care out those wishes and make decisions based on your treatment preferences.

An Advance Directive can be as simple or specific as you wish. In New Jersey there is no specific form that must be followed for an Advanced Directive and you do not need a lawyer to prepare one. It is suggested that if you have questions you could consult a lawyer or medical professional. There are many models available for Advance Directives and there will be links at the end of this blog. An Advance Directive can simply be a letter stating your health care wishes or it can be a detailed list of treatments that you would or would not want. It is important to remember that an Advance Directive can be used to request treatment not just withhold or withdraw treatment. It is a legally recognized document that can make your wishes know to your family in the event that you are unable to speak for yourself. It only requires your signature and two adults to witness your signature. You can have it notarized or signed by a legal authority but this is not necessary to make it a legal document.

You should share copies of your Advance Directive with your doctor, with family members and if you name a proxy or healthcare representative, you should share a copy with that person as well. Under New Jersey Law, medical staff must honor any written Advance Directive, they are only in effect when you are not capable of making your own decision. It is recommended that you review your Advance Directive every 5 years, you should initial it and have a witness if you make any changes.

The time to think about an Advance Directive is when you are healthy and able to make clear decisions. This way you can make your own decisions and/or appoint someone you trust to make those decisions.

Some resources:

Advance Directive Forms from Legal Services NJ

 

Brochure from New Jersey Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly for more information call 1-877-582-6995 or 609-943-4023

New Jersey Hospital Association

Medical Society of NJ