Saturday, November 14, 2015

What’s ahead for wealth management in the United States?


Wealth management in the United States is a huge business today. And it is about to get a lot bigger. The Deloitte Center for Financial Services expects US household assets to increase from $87 trillion today to over $140 trillion by 2030, of which nearly $64 trillion will be in investable financial assets. This means that in 2030, between $150 billion and $240 billion in wealth management fees could be up for grabs.1

But for financial firms to fully exploit these potential opportunities, they will need a refined understanding of how this wealth will be distributed among different age cohorts. Generational segmentation is not a marketing gimmick—there is vast evidence to show that the financial, behavioral, and life-stage tendencies of different generations are meaningful and unique.

The generations defined

Baby Boomers, a frequent punching bag among social critics for their excesses,2 will not head into the sunset quietly (see “The generations defined” by the Pew Research Center). In 2029, the year when the last Boomer will have turned 65, the US Census Bureau projects that there will still be over 61 million Boomers—about 17.2 percent of the projected US population.3 They will continue to wield immense influence over every aspect of American society for at least another two decades. As their needs and circumstances evolve, Boomers may yet again challenge conventional wisdom and redefine their role in the American economy. Financial firms would do well to take notice.

Meanwhile, Gen Xers, America’s neglected middle children, squeezed between two much larger generations,4 are entering the most financially rewarding stages of their lives; they will become the next big fee pool for financial services firms.

And Millennials, already seen as a segment with quirky tendencies and limitless potential, will affirm their status as the new drivers of consumption going forward. Their financial commitments (for example, education, homes, and cars) will fuel growth in the banking sector. Once they graduate to higher incomes, their share of assets will also pick up, although their lower per-capita wealth will demand differentiated service levels. However, their most pronounced impact on financial services may be driven by their value-conscious behavior and how they buy products and services, which may force a revamp of long-entrenched operating models.  (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
What’s ahead for wealth management in the United States?

Mom enters nursing home; son to become homeless



A devoted son may soon be homeless, all because his mother is in a nursing home and the state is taking her home to pay for it.

It's a story everyone with aging parents need to hear about, as it could be repeated many times in the years to come as Baby Boomers age.

Six Years Caring for Mom|
Chris Williams is about to be evicted from his childhood home, where, for the past six years, he was his mother's caretaker.

But despite his best efforts to allow her to "age in place," his mother is now in a nursing home, after doctors determined she needed full-time nursing care.

As a result, her dedicated son may soon be homeless.

"I ordered a pizza on Wednesday evening and discovered the debit card had been canceled," Williams said.

The house was in his mother's name, after the death of his father a few years back.

The checking account and credit cards? You guessed it: Those were in her name, too. Her son had signing privileges on her checking account, but did not have an account of his own.

Williams' quit his job when he moved in to take care of his mother.

And when Medicaid takes over, Williams said, "The state takes everything. I'm going to be homeless, I will be without a job because of the six-and-a-half years I spent taking care of Mom took up all my time."

Could Have Been Avoided| 
This could happen to many more dedicated Baby Boomers who are living with their elderly parents, giving up their own jobs to care for mom or dad.

If you have aging parents, there are ways of avoiding this -- but you have to think about it before the time comes.

Attorney Susan Dunn, who is now representing Williams said, "Some of these arrangements could have been made by his father when he moved into the house. But at that time, nobody was thinking about that!"

Dunn says in hindsight:
  • Williams' parents should have transferred some assets to him when he first moved in six years ago.
  • He should have had a bank account in his name. No one caring for a parent should be using only their account.
But it's too late now.

While laws vary from state to state, in most states transfers of a home must be made five years before admission to a nursing home.

This closed a loophole where wealthy families were going into Medicaid-supported nursing homes, while their children were still living in their expensive homes.

"Chris isn't a spouse," his attorney explained. "So the law doesn't protect him like it would protect a wife or husband, who cannot be kicked out if their spouse enters a nursing home."

If Williams were a husband, he would be allowed to keep the home.

But a child can keep the home only if he is legally disabled. Williams is not, and he may be out on the street in a few weeks. (Williams is dealing with the laws in the state of Ohio).

May Be Granted Short Extension| 
An attorney with the court, which is now the legal guardian of his mother's finances, said they may be able to grant Williams an extension on moving out.

But he can't access her savings account or Social Security.

This is a lesson to everyone with aging parents: Make sure there's a plan in case they ever end up in a nursing home.

"I have only myself to blame," he said. "I was thinking with my heart and not my head."
As always, don't waste your money.

Statement from Department of Medicaid| 
Ohio Medicaid never seizes homes; however, homes may be required to be placed for sale in order to become eligible for Medicaid coverage. For more information on this, check out the following fact sheet: http://medicaid.ohio.gov/Portals/0/Resources/Publications/Forms/ODM07400.pdf

Basically, as long as the Medicaid eligible individual (OR their spouse, minor child, or disabled child) resides in the home, the home is considered an exempt resource.

In circumstances when the home is not considered an exempt resource, the value of the property is counted and will most likely result in the individual being determined ineligible for Medicaid coverage due to excess resources. The individual does have the option of listing the property for sale.  See Ohio Administrative Code Rule 5160:1-3-05.1 (Medicaid: resource requirement).
According to the Ohio Administrative Code Rule 5160:1-3-05.13, paragraph (D)(2), there are additional relatives that can lead to an exemption. The OAC provides:
“…the home is not a countable resource if any of the following individuals are residing in the home:
(a) The individual's spouse; or
(b) The individual's child who is under age twenty-one, or blind or disabled as defined in Chapter 5160:1-3 of the Administrative Code; or
(c) The individual's child who is age sixty-five or older and is financially dependent upon the individual for housing. Verification of financial dependency in this situation is determined by comparing the aged child's countable income to the Ohio works first (OWF) payment standard defined in Chapter 5101:1-23-20 of the Administrative Code; or
(d) The individual's sibling who has a verified equity and ownership interest in the home and has resided in the home for at least one year immediately before the date the individual was admitted to the nursing facility.
Full Article & Source:
Mom enters nursing home; son to become homeless

Friday, November 13, 2015

Ageism: A Call to Awareness*



An Introduction from Ashton Applewhite on Vimeo.

The performer steps on stage. From the front row I am captivated. Her charisma is infectious; I am hanging on every word. I feel like I am at a TED Talk -- I am not. I am at BOOM! The first conference of Boomers Leading Change in Health in Denver, Colorado. This conference is geared towards baby boomers who see the upside of aging and delivers the call to action of, "It's time to change the world again!" I am listening to Ashton Applewhite, anti-ageism author and activist. (Watch a clip of her above and learn more here!) I am listening to her talk about growing old and I am inspired.

How refreshing it was, to be surrounded by people being curious about aging and allowing for the possibility of an upside.

We are all, each and every day of our lives aging. While it may be a profitable industry, to be "anti-aging" is a physical impossibility while alive. Listening to Ashton constellated something in me.

Age is a criterion for diversity just like gender, sexual orientation or race. As with these other factors, there is rampant discrimination based on age. Much of this discrimination is internalized. In her talk Ashton Applewhite wondered why when older people lose keys we call it a senior moment, but when it happened in high school we didn't call it a junior moment. The answer? Ageism. 

This internalized ageism is reinforced by our culture at large as well. Age is a diversity factor which will render all humans in the minority culture, many of us twice at the two ends of our lives. We all have ideas of what we are expected to do at a given age and what we expect from others at their ages.

These generalizations can add order and efficiency to our lives but they also lead to pigeonholing and discrimination when we do not follow the set patterns or when our appearance does not match our calendar age. The best way to decrease stigma and discrimination in through awareness

Ageism is insidious because it is largely unconscious, it is time for that to change!

I give you the asterisk.
2015-10-29-1446134637-141700-asterisk.jpg.png
The asterisk denotes that there is more to something. In writing it is used to send the reader to a footnote for further explanation. Let's add an asterisk to age. Our years on this planet are important, age is not something to be hidden or lied about, but it is something to add an asterisk to: there is more to the story than the assumptions that come with a number.

Put the asterisk by your name in an email signature, next to your age anytime you are asked to give it, on business cards, in store windows on bumper stickers and when possible have a paragraph explaining it so others can follow suit (see an example below). Let the asterisk become a symbol that age is a number of years spent on the planet AND that there is more to be said, our number of years does not define our life, our value, who we are or how we deserve to be treated.

The asterisk says to be curious about this human who has an age but isn't their age.

*This asterisk symbolizes my belief and commitment that humans are more than their age and that stereotypes and discriminations based on age need to be challenged within our own psyches and the world!

Full Article & Source:
Ageism: A Call to Awareness*

Disbarred NC lawyer indicted on embezzlement charges


LINCOLNTON, N.C. —A disbarred Lincoln County lawyer has been indicted on 11 counts of embezzlement.

Local media report a grand jury indicted Peter Capece on Monday. Authorities say he is accused of taking $800,000 from a late client's estate.

Chris Cardwell of the State Bureau of Investigation's financial crimes unit says the case involves funds from the estate of Fritz Detmers of Denver, North Carolina. Detmer died at age 78 in 2009.

The client's widow, 39-year-old Charlinette Detmers, also faces charges. Cardwell says she was indicted on one count of obtaining property by false pretense.

Sheriff's spokesman Larry Seagle says Capece turned himself in and was released on bail.

Capece said he could not talk about the charges. His attorney, Eben Rawls III, could not be reached by the newspaper for comment.

Full Article & Source:
Disbarred NC lawyer indicted on embezzlement charges

NJ Lawyer Indicted for Stealing From Elderly Client


A disbarred New Jersey lawyer is facing charges that he fleeced an elderly client out of nearly $100,000.

A state grand jury on Nov. 9 indicted Jersey City solo Joseph Talafous Jr., 53, on charges of second-degree theft by deception and misapplication of entrusted property, according to a statement released by Acting Attorney General John Hoffman and Elie Honig, the director of the Division of Criminal Justice.

Talafous, a Toms River resident, was disbarred by consent in August, according to records maintained by the state Administrative Office of the Courts.

The division's Financial and Computer Crimes Bureau said Talafous stole more than $96,000 by making unauthorized withdrawals from the bank account and estate of an elderly man he represented. The victim was not identified.

Between November 2008 and November 2010, Talafous allegedly used his power of attorney to make numerous unauthorized withdrawals from an investment account of the client and, after the client died in early 2010, from the client's estate, the Attorney General's Office said.

Talafous is charged with falsely representing that the withdrawals, which totaled $96,020, represented fees for legal services. However, Talafous never submitted any bills or records of legal services to support the withdrawals. He allegedly stole $61,175 from the investment account and $34,845 from the estate, the Attorney General's Office said.

In his statement, Hoffman said the case was referred to the Division of Criminal Justice by the New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics.

"Lawyers are supposed to diligently guard the interests of their clients, but instead Talafous allegedly took advantage of this elderly client to the tune of $96,000, repeatedly stealing from the ailing man while he lived and then continuing to steal from his estate," Hoffman said in his statement. "Talafous' conduct was deplorable."

Talafous' voicemail was full and attempts to contact him for comment were unsuccessful.

Talafous faces a possible five- to 10-year prison sentence a $150,000 fine if convicted.

Full Article & Source: 
NJ Lawyer Indicted for Stealing From Elderly Client

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Lyon County, administrator to pay $2.1 million for stolen items

Lyon County and former Public Administrator Richard Glover must pay $2.1 million to the heirs of a man whose Wellington home was looted after his death in May 2006, a federal jury ruled Tuesday.

"It's been a really long haul," Las Vegas resident Richard Mathis said after hearing the verdict.

The verdict stemmed from a civil rights lawsuit filed by Mathis and his two brothers, Anthony and James, who accused Glover of illegally seizing and stealing nearly $1 million of heirlooms and other property from the home of their 85-year-old father, Joe, shortly after his death.

Anthony Mathis, who lives in Vermont, and Richard Mathis came to court Tuesday afternoon to hear the jury's verdict. Glover also came to court, but he and his attorneys declined to comment.

Later, as Richard Mathis left the federal courthouse in Las Vegas, juror Kristine Anderson approached him and said, "I hope you guys are able to move on now."

Anderson told the Review-Journal that jurors wanted to hold Lyon County accountable for failing to have written policies to guide its public administrator, and for failing to protect its citizens.

"The family clearly wasn't notified that the property was going to be removed from the home," she said.

The jury's verdict included about $1.6 million in damages against Lyon County and $180,000 in damages against Glover for emotional distress, as well as about $217,00 in damages against both defendants for stolen property. In addition, the jury ordered Glover to pay $100,000 in punitive damages.

"I hope that this'll teach Lyon County not to do this to somebody again, but I don't think it will," Richard Mathis said.

The Mathis brothers had sought a $4.5 million verdict. Their attorneys argued that the stolen property included $800,000 worth of opals.

"It's hard to value property that's missing," Anthony Mathis said.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon presided over the trial, which began Nov. 2.

"At its core, this case is about a Nevada county that was deliberately indifferent to the constitutional rights of its citizens," attorneys for the Mathis brothers wrote in their trial brief. "The evidence in this case shows that Lyon County has elected numerous public administrators that have overtly violated the constitutional rights of Lyon County citizens for more than a decade."

Glover was investigated but never faced criminal charges related to the missing Mathis property.
However, records show he was charged with a crime in connection with the estate of Carl Liberty and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in 2010.

Joe Mathis' six children, including three daughters, were raised in Smith Valley, where the western Nevada town of Wellington is located.

Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at cgeer@reviewjournal.com.

Full Article & Source:
Lyon County, administrator to pay $2.1 million for stolen items

Assisted living home manager Bianca Gilmore explains refund policies after complaints



CHANDLER, AZ - The owner of two Valley assisted living facilities is addressing allegations that she withheld security deposits after clients passed away.

Two people complained to us, that they couldn't get theirs from owner Bianca Gilmore.

Val Bongiorno's dad stayed at Gilmore's facility Casa Dora Manor in Chandler.

"It's very poetic he died, on his 63rd anniversary," said Bongiorno.

When his dad passed, he says he asked for the $4,500 security deposit back .

But says he got a check that was no good.

"When it bounced, 'I said what's going on here?," said Bongiorno.

We also heard from Beverly.

She asked for a $4,000 security deposit back after her aunt died. She was living at Gilmore's Casa Maia facility also in Chandler.

Beverly says Gilmore only offered $3,000.

So both Beverly and Bongiorno complained to the Board of Examiners of Nursing Care Institution Administrators and Assisted Living Facility Managers . The agency regulates assisted living managers.

They also let me know.

We repeatedly reached out to Gilmore about their claims, and recently got detailed explanations. But the answers have been confusing to us.

For example, regarding Bongiorno's refund, in June of 2014 Gilmore sent us an email saying "I did not have a returned check in the amount of $4,500."

However since our last story aired, she writes there was a check and it "was written without regard to the other simultaneous financial commitments made at the time. At that time, there was also a change in financial management."

In January 2015, Gilmore's attorney Raees Mohammad writes "Val may arguably have been entitled to half of his monthly fee, or $2,250." Now in a recent response to us, Gilmore implies Bongiorno was not owed anything per contract, because his dad's death was "unexpected."

After her aunt's death, Beverly says she also asked for a deposit refund of $4000.

In a July 2014 letter to Beverly, Gilmore responded to the request by giving what she called, an "explanation of the refund owed." The letter offers $3,000 instead of $4,000, citing expenses for Gilmore's husband helping Beverly's aunt in moving.

Beverly says a check for $1,500 was enclosed in the letter, with the stipulation that a second check in the amount of $1500 would arrive a month later. But if she cashed them, she would forfeit the additional $1,000 she believes she is owed. Gilmore says she sent both checks.  Beverly says the second check never came and she never cashed the first one.

Beverly also says she responded by offering to allow Gilmore to keep $500 rather than $1,000. Since Gilmore had already sent a check for $1,500, Beverly says she wrote Gilmore a letter asking her to send an additional $2,000 as a remainder of the refund to settle the matter. In it she writes, "I shall be glad to put this matter to rest upon payment of the $2,000 hat I am willing to accept, as full payment."

Beverly says she never got a response from Gilmore about her request.

In recent email to us, Gilmore says "under the agreement, no refunds were due," and that it was simply a "goodwill gesture."  Gilmore also writes "Unfortunately, instead of accepting my goodwill payments, Beverly decided to embarrass and humiliate me, by going on television and making false, disparaging remarks about my businesses and me."

Gilmore also points to a letter Beverly's aunt wrote saying her deposit could be used for her last month there.

But the aunt died just days into that month.

The state Board that regulates assisted living managers investigated Bongiorno and Beverly's complaints, as well as two others involving Gilmore and refunds.

Initially, the Board voted that the complaints had enough "substantial evidence" to go to a formal hearing.

But in February, the Board instead opted to issue "letters of concern."

Saying "while there is insufficient evidence to support disciplinary action, the Board believes that continuation of the activities that led to the investigation may result in further Board action."

It also expressed concern that Gilmore "failed to communicate and resolve financial matters with clients in a timely manner."

It's an accusation Gilmore denies. In a statement to us she writes "the "filed complaints" have all been dismissed, and other than disgruntled family members coming into the picture after their loved one passed away, I cannot posture as to why this sentiment was expressed in the dismissed complaint."

Regarding the refunds, Board Executive Director Allen Imig tells me "the Board has no authority to order restitution."

However after we got involved Gilmore did end up paying Bongiorno $4,500.

Beverly is still fighting.

She's filed a lawsuit asking for a judge to make the call.

In court documents, Gilmore says she plans to counter sue her for defamation.

Gilmore has also threatened to take us to court. She has also asked us to retract "false and defamatory statements."

We stand by our stories and will continue to follow any new developments.

Full Article & Source:
Assisted living home manager Bianca Gilmore explains refund policies after complaints

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Honoring All Veterans, Especially Elderly Veterans

Dougherty County officials see increase in crime against elderly


ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Dougherty County law enforcers say exploitation crimes against the elderly are skyrocketing

 Investigators, prosecutors, and judges all agree that crooks see many seniors as easy targets.  And they say family members are too often the ones exploiting the senior citizens.

 It's a shocking crime that law enforcement says is increasing dramatically as the population ages.

 The District Attorney says he is looking to start a task force to work only crimes against the elderly.

27 year old Jamia Williams was arrested this week and charged with financial exploitation of a person over the age of 65. The victim, her grandmother.

Dougherty County Sheriff's Office Captain Craig Dodd said "She turned in a check to a landlord to pay rent and back rent. And it was on her grandmother."

Probate Judge Nancy Stephenson says her office is seeing a big increase in crimes against the elderly.

Stephenson said "It's epidemic really. And for everyone you see that's caught, there are ten more that we don't know about yet."

District Attorney Greg Edwards said crimes against the elderly are growing quickly because there are more elderly, they have more money, and are reporting the crimes.  A growth so disturbing he wants to start a task force to deal with them.

Edwards said "Try to obtain grant money for the purpose of developing a division that will deal primarity with victims of elder abuse and elderly crime."

And law enforcement says in the majority of the crimes, it's their family members ripping them off.  Stephenson said "They feel entitled to their parents money, and they feel it's unfair that they are having to take care of this elderly person that no one ever expected to live this long."

Law enforcement says as the population ages, they expect crimes targeting the elderly to only get worse.

That's why the D.A. says he sees the need for more investigators fighting crimes against the elderly.  Williams is facing two felony charges, and remains in the Dougherty County jail Tuesday night.

Full Article & Source:
Dougherty County officials see increase in crime against elderly

House keeper charged with exploitation of elderly woman


Opal Elaine Tillman

Family members of an 87 year old Jefferson County woman believe her house keeper took advantage of her by isolating her from them and steeling her money.

Opal Elaine Tillman, of Morris, starting working part-time for the victim in 2011. As the victim's health started to decline, her husband allowed Tillman to assume more responsibilities. At that time, it is believed Tillman used the victim's bank account for personal gain. Family members also noticed items missing from the victim's home. When they asked her husband, he told them Tillman convinced them to let her sell the items. Tillman said she would put the money into their account, but not deposits were found.

After complaints from the family, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office began investigating in December of 2014. The investigation revealed cash and property exceeding $60,000 had been stolen. On November 4, 2015, a warrant for the arrest of Tillman was issued. She was arrested and charged with Financial Exploitation of the Elderly. Tillman has since posted $30,000 bond and was released from jail.

Investigators with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office believe Tillman may be connected to additional crimes in Jefferson County. If you have information, call investigators at (205) 325-1450.

Full Article & Source:
House keeper charged with exploitation of elderly woman

See Also:
Housekeeper charged with stealing $60k from elderly Jeffco couple

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Man allegedly scams elderly woman on home sale, then drops her off at homeless shelter


Kyle Pam
A man accused of selling an elderly woman’s home to a straw buyer and keeping nearly all the profits for himself was arraigned Thursday in Boston Municipal Court, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office

Kyle Pam, 27, is charged with larceny over $250 from an elderly person, perjury, embezzlement by a fiduciary, and money laundering, authorities said. 

The 68-year-old Mattapan woman and her brother came into contact with Pam when he offered to sell the Sanford Street family home they had inherited, which was in need of renovations but valued at $250,000, according to the DA’s office. There were unpaid taxes and utilities for the property. The two siblings appointed Pam as the personal representative of the estate in February.

Pam allegedly sold the home for $140,000 in April and provided documentation stating that he had transferred the deeds to a buyer, authorities said. A later investigation revealed that Pam knew the woman who had reportedly bought the property, and that she immediately sold it to another, prearranged buyer for $232,000, according to the DA’s office. The woman, who The Boston Globe identified as Pam’s girlfriend, then allegedly transferred more than $117,000 back to Pam.

This left the 68-year-old woman, who had been living in the home prior to the closing, without a home or money to purchase a new one. Pam allegedly dropped her off at the Pine Street Inn homeless shelter. 

Investigators do not believe the second buyer is responsible for any wrongdoing in purchasing the home from Pam’s girlfriend.

Authorities said the ongoing investigation has recovered more than $80,000 from Pam.

Pam’s bail was set at $10,000, and he was ordered to stay away from the two former homeowners, according to the DA’s office.

Full Article & Source:
Man allegedly scams elderly woman on home sale, then drops her off at homeless shelter

Partners Report Lawyer to Conn. Officials, Allege $3 Million Theft From Client's Estate


State attorney disciplinary officials are seeking an interim suspension for a Southbury attorney, claiming he collected exorbitant fees of more than $3 million while acting as executor and trustee for a now deceased client's estate.

The application for order of interim suspension was filed against attorney Robert J. Barry on Nov. 3 in Superior Court in Waterbury. In the application, Assistant Chief Disciplinary Counsel Desi Imetovski asserts Barry "poses a substantial threat of irreparable harm to his current and prospective clients." The application notes he has about 70 pending cases in the seven-town probate court district that includes Southbury. "Respondent continues to represent numerous individuals in trusts and estates with access to untold monies," the application states.

The Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel also asked the court to appoint a trustee to protect the interests of Barry's clients. The court had not scheduled a hearing or taken any action on the application as of Nov. 4. The disciplinary counsel's office declined to comment on the case beyond what is outlined in court documents.

Barry, of the law firm Sturges & Mathes on Heritage Road in Southbury, was admitted to the bar in 1967, according to the state Judicial Branch, which indicates he has no public record of discipline. A message left for Barry seeking comment was not immediately returned. It was unclear whether he has hired another lawyer to represent him in the matter.

Attorney Kevin Thornton, who works at the same firm as Barry, said he learned about the $3 million fees after hearing staff in the office express concerns about exorbitant fees being taken in a client's case. After checking the firm's financial records, Thornton said he and another attorney at the firm, Lisa Wnuck, met with the disciplinary counsel's staff to discuss what they had discovered.

The firm's website lists the three attorneys — Barry, Thornton and Wnuck. Barry's areas of practice include estate administration, estate planning and real estate. Thornton said the extent of the financial situation is still being evaluated. He said after the situation was discovered, the partners argued and Barry tried to kick Thornton out of the building.

"I think this is the tip of the iceberg," Thornton said. "No one else [other than Barry] was looking at the [financial] books until very recently. Of course, I am concerned about the firm's reputation. It was founded in 1908 and its reputation has been stellar."

According to court documents, in December 1998 Barry began representing Catherine Wilens. He prepared her will testament and set up a revocable trust agreement.

From 2010 through February 2014, Barry held a power of attorney for Wilens. During this time, he wrote checks payable to his firm, Sturges & Mathes, in excess of $743,000, the disciplinary counsel's office claims. Barry then became the estate trustee prior to Wilens' death, and as such, he wrote trust checks payable to his firm in excess of $900,000 between 2010 and 2014.

Wilens, who had been a Southbury resident, died on March 1, 2014. Barry was also the executor of her estate, which was valued at $9 million at the time of her death, according to the application for temporary suspension. Under the terms of the trust, two individuals, Madison and Megan Mahoney, were to receive $100,000 each, with the balance of the assets to go to the Cornell University's medical school, to be held as "The Catherine Williams Wilens Memorial Fund," documents show.

But from March 2014 through November 2015, Barry executed checks payable to his firm in the amount of about $1.4 million, the disciplinary counsel's office claims. Overall, it alleges Barry as fiduciary issued his firm fees in excess of $3 million in connection with the representation of Wilens.

In May 2015, Barry filed a federal estate tax return, listing the value of the estate at only slightly over $8 million, omitting almost $1 million in assets, according to disciplinary counsel's office.

Full Article & Source:
Partners Report Lawyer to Conn. Officials, Allege $3 Million Theft From Client's Estate

WSJ: Are Guardianship Systems Under Critical Review?


By Katherine C. Pearson, Dickinson Law, Penn State

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal focuses on challenges in state courts to how guardianships operate and the role of courts in appointment and oversight of guardians.  Titled "Abuse Plagues Systems of Legal Guardianships for Adults," the on-line version of the article carries the subtitle of "Allegations of financial exploitation and abuse are rife, despite waves of overhaul efforts."  The article uses extensive details from just two guardianship caess, one in the state of Washington involving a 71 year-old woman, and one in Florida involving an 89 year-old "mother," to  develop its theme of financial exploitation and abuse, pointing to critics that say "many elderly people with significant assets become ensnared in a system that seems mainly to succeed in generating billings."

The article includes statements from National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys president elect, Catherine Seal, providing a contrasting view of properly-managed guardianships.  She is quoted as saying, "The worst cases that I see are the ones where there is no guardian."

Arizona is identified in the article as a state that has adopted safeguards on unnecessary or abusive fees "by establishing fee guidelines" in 2012. Of course it did so after a significant 2010-2011 investigative news series by the Arizona Republic in Maricopa County that exposed a series of cases in which court permitted  fees and delays significantly impacted the alleged incapacitated persons' financial resources.

The WSJ article, I think, can be criticized for using just two cases of conflict to dramatize allegations of systemic problems, characterized as exploitation.   We need to talk about systemic reform needs by looking beyond single case reports

It seems clear, however, if you follow the pockets of deeper investigations from across the nation, including recent challenges in Florida and Nevada where allegations focused on an array of court-permitted problems, including delays generating more costs, or overly cozy relations between court-appointed guardians and courts, or the absence of monitoring systems, that there are larger systemic issues in need of watchful eye and, in certain jurisdictions, critical examination and reform.

Full Article & Source:
WSJ: Are Guardianship Systems Under Critical Review?

Monday, November 9, 2015

ABC Action News, Sarasota FL: Guardianship Complication

Published on Oct 30, 2015
"Imagine, just for a moment, a court-appointed Guardian taking complete control of every aspect of your elderly Mom or Dad's life..." Alan Cohn, Lead Anchor, News 7 at 7, Florida ABC SunCoast News reporting on the financial and emotional exploitation that is alleged to have been perpetrated by Lutheran Services against Marie London, an 87 year-old who Lutheran Services has under guardianship.

Despite the availability of Ms. London's adult daughter Julie, who is able, willing, and wants very much to be able to take care of her mother, without any unwanted & very expensive "assistance" from Lutheran Services, Lutheran Services REFUSES to relinquish Ms London from their control that they sought & established over Ms London through the court-ordered guardianship. This seizure of legal control of another human being that literally turns the Ward (in this case Marise London) into a piece of property that is legally owned by a Guardian (Lutheran Services) was instituted when Ms London's daughter first sought Adult Protective Services (Florida's) help in taking care of her ailing mother.

BEWARNED: Just a simple call for help to a public state agency charged with helping the elderly can land that elderly person into the clutches of a court-ordered guardian who will not relinquish control of another human being -- their property, their Ward -- until every penny of that human beings' money (the Ward's money) has been drained from them.

Full Article & Source: 
ABC Action News, Sarasota FL: Guardianship Complication

Commission slams Brevard judge again


As part of a response to embattled John C. Murphy's response for a court order to show cause, the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission chastised the judge for tarnishing the reputation of the Florida's judicial system.

In the conclusion of their response, it states that "His (Murphy's) conduct single-handedly caused the Florida judicial system to become a national embarrassment. The JQC respectfully requests that this Court take into consideration the matters set forth in this reply in deciding the ultimate discipline appropriate for Judge Murphy's actions.

Murphy was suspended by the Florida Supreme Court on October 6 in relation to a 2014 incident in which he challenged Assistant Public Defender Andrew Weinstock to a fistfight.

The JQC also questioned Murphy's claim that he is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after earlier maintaining he hadn't even after undergoing what is referred to as a "comprehensive evaluation." was termed as "problematical at best" by the commission.

But, it adds that if his claim is true that the PTSD could impact his ability to perform during stressful situations, which they say contradict his statements that such a moment will never happen again.
They also say that the isolated nature of the incident wasn't important anyway.

"It is not the "isolation" of an event that determines its importance," states the JQC in their response.

 "Instead, it is the seriousness of the event. Our judicial system evolved over the centuries as a substitute for violence and bloodshed as a method for resolving human disputes.Judge Murphy's resort to threats and violence against a lawyer appearing in his court is antithetical to the function of courts as reason-based institutions where law is applied to facts to reach rational decisions."

The JQC also states that the judge's reliance on past rulings made by the court in relation to what his case is misguided.

Murphy was suspended by the Florida Supreme Court on October 6 in relation to a 2014 incident in which he challenged Assistant Public Defender Andrew Weinstock to a fistfight.

Full Article & Source:
Commission slams Brevard judge again

See Also:
Brevard County Judge John C. Murphy Could Face Discipline after Scuffle

Judge immediately suspended and facing removal for scuffle with public defender

Preventing Financial Exploitation Presentation at ACC



Financial exploitation is a fast–growing form of abuse of older individuals and adults with disabilities.

In order to help raise awareness about this issue Alpena Community College Foundation Gift Planning Alliance Committee is holding a presentation on preventing financial exploitation of older individuals.

Elder abuse is an epidemic, a really big problem, that is under reported.

But on November 5th starting at 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. presenters will be at ACC in the Granum Theatre, talking about specific cases of elder abuse they've dealt with in Alpena, to help raise awareness of this issue and give ways to prevent it in the future.

Some presenters include Michigan State Police Trooper Ashley Simpson, Assistant Prosecutor Russell Rhynard, Lynne Budnik with Adult Protective Services and Financial Advisor Julie Ferguson.

Anyone can be the victim of financial exploitation and it's pervasive in every community and all economic levels.

Elder Law Attorney Kerry Rastigue said, "There's a large older adult population here. Rural communities, there's some advanced risk for rural communities because older adults do tend to be more isolated, their children tend to move away and to be here by themselves. Neighbors are not necessarily right close by, so things can be going on and you don't even know it."

If you're interested in attending this presentation to learn strategies on minimizing the chance of this happening to you, you can call 989–358–7359 to reserve a free seat.

(This is to advise what type of programs are being utilized.)

Full Article & Source:
Preventing Financial Exploitation Presentation at ACC

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Tonight on T. S. Radio: Speaking up for the Elderly!




Guest will be: Carole Herman – President and Founder of FATE -Foundation on Aiding the Elderly, (blogs in the Huffington Post).

Discussion first hour will be the FS 400.0238 Punitive Damage Limitations and FS 400.0239 Quality of Long Term Care Facility Improvement Trust Fund. The Estate of George A. Dahmer aka Former Pro Wrestler Chief White Owl – Plantiff’s wife mandated to pay 50% of Punitive Damages to Agency for Health Care Administration for Quality of Long Term Care Facility Improvement Trust Fund. Family was not notified until 7 years later. No Jurors, Family members, or anyone in court was notified of the Civil Money Penalty Projects back in a Jury Trail in Nov-2012. Nursing Homes can apply for Grants to improve their care facilities. States that are included in CMS- Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services

Grants are Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

FS 400.0238 Punitive Damages Limitations.
This section is remedial in nature and shall take effect upon becoming a law.

FS 400.0239 Quality of Long Term Care Facility Improvement Trust Fund

(a) Development and operation of a mentoring program, in consultation with the Department of Health and the Department of Elderly Affairs, for increasing the competence, professionalism, and career preparation of long-term care facility direct care staff, including nurses, nursing assistants, and social service and dietary personnel.

(b) Development and implementation of specialized training programs for long-term care facility personnel who provide direct care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, residents at risk of developing pressure sores, and residents with special nutrition and hydration needs.

(c) Addressing areas of deficient practice identified through regulation or state monitoring.

(d) Provision of economic and other incentives to enhance the stability and career development of the nursing home direct care workforce, including paid sabbaticals for exemplary direct care career staff to visit facilities throughout the state to train and motivate younger workers to commit to careers in long-term care.

Founded on August 20, 1984 http://www.4fate.org
FATE’s mission is to assure our elders are treated with care, dignity and the utmost respect during their final years in long-term care facilities. For the last 32 years the objective of the Foundation Aiding the Elderly (FATE) is to serve as a voice for patients and to bring about national reforms and enforcement of the laws governing the nursing home industry and its regulatory agencies in order to assure proper care, civil rights and meaningful, dignified life for the elderly in long-term care facilities.

Goals Are:
1. Enhance national awareness of the pattern of abuse frequently found in elderly care institutions.
2. Protect the elderly in their remaining years.
3. Initiate advocacy action to improve the care and supervision of the elderly.
4. Report abuse and neglect violations to the appropriate authorities.
5. Follow up to see that corrections and redress occur.
6. Provide a forum to support legal action on behalf of patients and their families.
7. Provide a public service of referrals for senior issues.
8. Provide tools, resources and leadership to other advocacy leaders and groups.
9. Raise funds to help support grass roots advocacy organizations assisting the elderly.

Foundation Aiding the Elderly (FATE) is a Sacramento, California based 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Corporation whose objective is to serve as a voice for patients and to bring about national reforms and enforcement of the laws governing the nursing home industry and its regulatory agencies in order to assure proper care, civil rights and meaningful, dignified life for the elderly in long-term care facilities.

FATE’s Mission is to assure our elders are treated with care, dignity and the utmost respect during their final years when they can no longer take care of themselves.

4:00 pm PST … 5:00 pm MST … 6:00 pm CST … 7:00 pm EST
LISTEN LIVE or listen to the archive later

California's New Assisted Suicide Law: Whose Choice Will it Be?


California has passed a bill to legalize physician-assisted suicide, which is scheduled to go into effect during 2016. "The End of Life Option Act" was sold as giving patients choice and control at the end of life. The bill, in fact, is about ending the lives of people who are not necessarily dying anytime soon and giving other people the "option" to hurry them along. The bill is a recipe for elder abuse and family trauma.

The American Medical Association (AMA) defines physician-assisted suicide as occurring when "a physician facilitates a patient's death by providing the necessary means and/or information to enable the patient to perform the life-ending act."  The AMA gives the example: "[A] physician provides sleeping pills and information about the lethal dose, while aware that the patient may commit suicide." Assisted suicide is a general term in which the assisting person is not necessarily a physician. Euthanasia, by contrast, is the direct administration of a lethal agent with the intent to cause another person's death.

The AMA rejects assisted suicide and euthanasia stating that they are "fundamentally incompatible with the physician's role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks."

In the last five years, four states have strengthened their laws against assisted suicide. Assisted suicide is no longer legal in New Mexico due to a court decision. There are just three states where assisted suicide is legal: Oregon, Washington and Vermont. In a fourth state, Montana, case law gives doctors who assist a suicide a potential defense to a homicide charge.

The California bill applies to persons with a "terminal disease," which is defined as having a medical prognosis of less than six months to live. Such persons can, in reality, have years to live, with the more obvious reasons being misdiagnosis and the fact that predicting life expectancy is not an exact science. Doctors can sometimes be very wrong.
      
In Oregon and Washington, where assisted suicide laws use a nearly identical definition of terminal disease, terminality is determined without treatment. Consider, for example, Oregon resident Jeanette Hall who was diagnosed with cancer in 2000 and wanted to do assisted suicide. Her doctor convinced her to be treated instead. Twelve years later, she stated: "This last July, it was 12 years since my diagnosis. If [my doctor] had believed in assisted suicide, I would be dead."

Elder Abuse
Elder Abuse is a problem throughout the United States. Perpetrators are often family members, some of whom feel entitled to the older person's assets. They often start out with small crimes, such as stealing jewelry and blank checks, before moving on to larger items or coercing victims to sign over deeds to their homes, change their wills or liquidate their assets. Victims may even be murdered.

In California, prominent elder abuse cases include: Victorino Noval, whose daughters allegedly told doctors to medically kill him, so as to obtain inheritances; and the "Black Widow" murders in which two women insured the lives of homeless men and then killed them to collect the money. Paul Vados, a 73-year-old man, was one of the victims.

How the California Bill Works
The bill, ABX2-15, has an application process to obtain the lethal dose, which includes a written lethal dose request form with two required witnesses. Once the lethal dose is issued by the pharmacy, there is no oversight over administration. No one, not even a doctor, is required to be present at the death.

ABX2-15 allows one of the two witnesses on the lethal dose request form to be the patient's heir, who will financially benefit from the patient's death. This is an extreme conflict of interest. Indeed, under California's Probate Code, similar conduct (an heir's acting as a witness on a will) can create a presumption that the will was procured by "duress, menace, fraud or undue influence." ABX2-15, which specifically allows the patient's heir to be a witness on the lethal dose request form, does not promote patient choice. It invites duress, menace, fraud and undue influence.

Patients are also at risk due to the lack of oversight at the death. Alex Schadenberg, of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, explains:
"With assisted suicide laws in Washington and Oregon [and with ABX2-15], perpetrators can ... take a "legal" route, by getting an elder to sign a lethal dose request. Once the prescription is filled, there is no supervision over administration ... Even if a patient struggled, "who would know" (Emphasis added)."
In 2011, the lack of oversight over administration of the lethal dose in Oregon prompted Montana State Senator Jeff Essmann to observe that studies claiming that Oregon's assisted suicide law is safe are invalid. During a legislative committee hearing, he stated:
"[All] the protections end after the prescription is written. [The proponents] admitted that the provisions in the Oregon law would permit one person to be alone in that room with the patient. And in that situation, there is no guarantee that that medication is self-administered. So frankly, any of the studies that come out of the state of Oregon's experience are invalid because no one who administers that drug ... to that patient is going to be turning themselves in for the commission of a homicide."
The Death Must Be Certified as "Natural"
ABX2-15 states, "Actions taken in accordance with this [act] shall not, for any purposes, constitute suicide, assisted suicide, homicide or elder abuse under the law." In Washington State, similar language, interpreted by the Department of Health, requires Medical Examiners, Coroners and Prosecuting Attorneys to certify a death as "Natural" if Washington's assisted suicide law was used. If California follows this interpretation, no matter what the facts, even a "murder for the money" will be certified as natural if the California bill is used. The significance will be a lack of transparency and a legal inability to prosecute criminal behavior. The opportunity will be created for the perfect crime.

Trauma
In 2012, a study was published addressing trauma suffered by people who witnessed a legal assisted suicide in Switzerland. The study found that one out of five family members or friends present at an assisted suicide were traumatized. These people "[E]xperienced full or sub-threshold PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) related to the loss of a close person through assisted suicide."

Two of my clients, whose fathers signed up for the lethal dose in Washington and Oregon, suffered similar trauma. In the first case, one side of the family wanted the father to take the lethal dose, while the other side did not. The father spent the last months of his life caught in the middle and torn over whether or not he should kill himself. My client, his adult daughter, was severely traumatized. The father did not take the lethal dose and died a natural death. In the other case, it is not clear that administration of the lethal dose was voluntary. A man who was present told my client that the client's father had refused to take the lethal dose when it was delivered, stating: "You're not killing me. I'm going to bed." But then took the lethal dose the next night when he was already intoxicated on alcohol. My client, although he was not present, was traumatized over the incident, and also by the sudden loss of his father.

How Did We Get Here?
ABX2-15 was passed by the California legislature via an expedited process during a special session. Many legislators debated the bill in religious, moral and personal terms; there was little debate over what the bill said and did. California Governor Jerry Brown, in a poignant letter explaining his decision to sign ABX2-15, continued this theme, stating that he had considered "theological and religious perspectives." He also said "The crux of the matter is whether the State of California should continue to make it a crime for a dying person to end his life..." There is, however, no such crime in California. Governor Brown did not understand what he was signing.

California's new law is promoted as assuring choice and control. The bill instead creates new paths of elder abuse, which will be legally permissible. There will be family trauma. Persons with years, even decades, to live will be encouraged to throw away their lives. In Vermont, which is the only other state to have enacted assisted suicide via a legislature, there is an active repeal movement.

Californians should do the same.

Margaret Dore is a lawyer in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal. She has been licensed to practice law in since 1986. She is a former Law Clerk to the Washington State Supreme Court and a former Chair of the Elder Law Committee of the American Bar Association Family Law Section. She is also president of Choice is an Illusion, a nonprofit corporation opposed to assisted suicide and euthanasia.
 
Suggested Citation: Margaret Dore, California's New Assisted Suicide Law: Whose Choice Will it Be?, JURIST - Professional Commentary, October 24, 2015, http://jurist.org/hotline/2015/10/margaret-dore-physician-assisted-suicide.php

Full Article & Source:
California's New Assisted Suicide Law: Whose Choice Will it Be?

Former Granite City resident accused of stealing money from family member


KMOV.com GRANITE CITY, Ill. (KMOV.com) – A former resident of Granite City is facing felony charges for allegedly forging checks and stealing money from a family member.

Daniel J. Moutria, 52, of Harrisburg, Illinois allegedly financial exploited a family member by taking money from the victims’ checking and savings accounts, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office said.

On August 1, police began their investigation and identified Moutria as a suspect.

Moutria was charged with financial exploitation of an elderly person and a person with a disability and four counts of forgery, police said. He was taken into custody on October 30 and transported to the Saline County Jail, where he was pending bond or extradition proceedings. His bond was set at $80,000.

Full Article & Source:
Former Granite City resident accused of stealing money from family member

New bill aims to curtail elder financial abuse



Two senators introduced bipartisan legislation Thursday that aims to cut down on elder abuse by encouraging advisers and the financial institutions they work for to report potential financial fraud targeting American seniors.

The Senior$afe Act of 2015 is sponsored by Senators Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., the chairwoman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

The Act would protect banks, credit unions, investment advisers and broker-dealers and their employees from civil or administrative liability, as long as employees receive training in how to spot and report predatory activity and reports are made “in good faith” and “with reasonable care,” according to the bill.

Current bank privacy laws make it difficult for these entities to report any potentially fraudulent activity, according to a news release from Ms. Collins. Indeed, only one in 44 cases of financial abuse is ever reported, according to the National Adult Protective Services Association.

The MetLife Mature Market Institute estimates annual financial loss of $2.9 billion due to elder financial abuse.

The legislation “will empower and encourage our financial service representatives to identify warning signs of common scams and help stop financial fraud targeting our seniors,” Ms. Collins said.

It's based on Maine's Senior$afe program, an initiative launched last year that's designed to train financial professionals to detect and report senior financial abuse.

In a letter to Sens. Collins and McCaskill, Judith Shaw, Maine's securities administrator and president of the North American Securities Administrators Association, commended the proposed legislation.

The bill will “[remove] barriers that might otherwise frustrate the reporting of such exploitation to state securities regulators and other appropriate governmental authorities,” Ms. Shaw said.

"Elderly Americans stand to benefit directly from such reporting, because early detection and reporting can minimize their financial losses from exploitation, and because improved protection of their finances ultimately helps preserve their financial independence and their personal autonomy," Ms. Shaw said.

The proposed legislation also comes on the heels of activity among industry groups and regulators to strengthen financial protections for seniors.

Last month, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc.'s board authorized the regulator to propose a rule to help protect senior investors by requiring broker-dealers to obtain the name and contact information of a trusted person for customers' accounts. It would also allow firms to freeze senior investors' accounts when there's reasonable belief of financial fraud.

NASAA also last month proposed model state legislation that would mandate disclosures to state regulators and adult protective services if there's reasonable belief of elder financial abuse. Rules also would allow brokers and advisers to contact trusted third parties or delay fund disbursement for seemingly at-risk seniors. The comment period for the proposed NASAA rule ended Thursday.

Full Article & Source:
New bill aims to curtail elder financial abuse