Colorado Springs Legal Blog

Financial exploitation can leave seniors destitute and despondent

In news that's made national headlines and spurred an outpouring of support for the victim, suicide hotline workers at the Veterans Crisis Center may have saved the life of an elderly veteran of the United States Coast Guard after a couple of thieves managed to empty his bank account.

The 82-year-old veteran fell prey to the scam artists after befriending a 31-year-old woman several years ago. He periodically gave her money when she was down on her luck out of sympathy for her children.

What does 'financing death' mean?

Part of effective end-of-life planning includes figuring out how your loved ones will have immediate access to cash right after you are gone -- including enough money to pay your funeral expenses.

That can be a little trickier than it sounds. The average price for an adult funeral with cremation is $6,078. With a burial, you can expect your loved ones to have to pay $8,508.

What is an end-of-life doula?

There's often someone standing by to assist when you're born, so why shouldn't there be someone there to assist you when you die?

That's the concept behind the services of an end-of-life doula or midwife. Thanks to the Colorado End-of-Life Options Act, this state is one of the few that allow terminally ill adults who meet certain requirements to choose the hour of their own death.

Planning ahead: Picking your disabled child's future guardian

The natural order of things usually means that children outlive their parents -- and that's a big concern when you're the parent of a disabled child who will never be able to function completely independently.

How do you pick a guardian or conservator for your child once you are gone? It's natural to worry that you'll make the wrong choice and that the person you choose won't take the sort of care of your child that you'd expect.

Would you know how to spot financial abuse of the elderly?

When scammers cast their nets for victims, they often target the elderly, whom they perceive as easy prey. But many senior citizens are defrauded out of their life's savings not by snake oil salesmen but by their own loved ones and relatives.

Spotting financial abuse of the elderly can be tricky, especially when the elderly person has a close familial relationship with the one who is exploiting them. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), 90% of fraudsters are either close friends or family members of their victims.

Why you shouldn’t put off creating your estate plan

Thinking of what will happen at the end of your life and after can be difficult and emotional. Whether due to a desire to avoid addressing such complex topics, a misunderstanding on who estate planning can benefit or sheer procrastination, many put off planning their estate until something forces them to do so.

Proactively planning your estate can benefit both you and your loved ones. Rather than gambling with the future and leaving creating a comprehensive estate plan for another day, an estate plan can provide you with peace of mind in knowing that your future and family are protected against the unknown.

Your adult child's trust and Supplemental Security Income

If your adult child receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) due to a disability, you're likely aware of exactly how important those benefits are -- particularly the associated health benefits. You don't want to do anything to endanger those, now or in the future.

That makes it important to understand exactly what you need to do to create a workable trust for your child once you are gone.

How to make sure your advance directives are honored

Everyone hopes for a dignified death -- but what that means from one person to the next is different. That's why advance directives were created. Given the vast capacity to prolong life through medical intervention in today's world, it's necessary for people to say what type of life-sustaining measures they do and don't want for themselves.

However, writing your advance directive is one thing. Making sure that it is properly honored is quite another.

Ask your doctor for a mental functioning test

Sure, just about everyone who is over the age of 50 makes jokes about having "senior moments" when they forget something -- but are those moments of forgetfulness actually the sign of something serious?

Your relatives may think so, even if you don't.

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