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Revocation of Powers of Attorney

Off the Top o' My Head

Powers of attorney have been mentioned or discussed in this blog several times.  “Powers of Attorney
and “Weaknesses in Powers of Attorney,” in particular, explained the importance of a well-drafted power of attorney.  An aspect that has not been discussed is revocation.

The ability to revoke a power of attorney is a major advantage over court-ordered guardianship or conservatorship (guardianship of the person’s worldly estate).  A principal who signs a power of attorney may revoke it at any time.  A legally-incapacitated person, and even a person who consented to guardianship, cannot revoke the guardian’s appointment.  He or she must file a petition with the court to terminate the guardianship.  It can be very difficult to persuade the court to terminate a guardianship.  Many judges are very paternalistic and in many courts persons who are subject to the authority of a guardian or conservator have very few…

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25 Best Questions to Ask Your Aging Parents

By Dr. Katie Eastman, William Lightfoot and Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino
From : Best Ever You

Former Sargeant, Bill Lightfoot, was a recent guest on The Best Ever You Show. Bill served with the Richmond Police Department for thirty-six years. He has served as an investigator and supervisor with the Property Crimes Unit, the Robbery & Homicide Division, The Narcotics Division, and the Criminal Intelligence Unit.

The show with Bill focused on caring for the elderly, elder abuse and ways we can be more mindful now to prevent or lessen issues later. To listen to the show Elizabeth and Katie hosted with guest Bill Lightfoot, click blog talk radio

The show prompted us to write these:
25 Best Questions to Ask Your Aging Parents.

1. What is most important to you about your aging?

2. If there is one thing you want to ensure happens when you are older, what would it be?

3. What are your three most important values? How do they relate to health, money and aging?

4. Have you thought about who best understands you and your values to make decisions on your behalf?

5. Do you have a certain idea/belief that you want to direct these decisions?

6. When you think about becoming medically challenged, what do you want others to know or to do or not do?

7. Do you imagine yourself living a certain way if you have future health challenges?

8. Do you have a living will or an advanced directive? (or Medical Power of Attorney)

9. Do you know someone who would best be able to make medical decisions on your behalf? Have you spoken with this person?

10. Do you know someone who would best be able to make financial decisions on your behalf? Do you have a legal Power of Attorney? Have you talked with this person?

11..Do you have a will?

12. Where do you imagine yourself living for the remainder of your life?

13.. Have you prepared yourself financially to support your aging medical needs?

14.. Is there an assisted living/nursing facility you would consider if it becomes necessary? Have you investigated different care facilities for quality/cost/needs?

15.. Do you have Long Term Health Insurance?

16.. Is there a friend/family member you would like to be closer to in proximity? What would this require if they are not close?

17. When did you last update your documents? Do you feel the need to update your documents? (Many fail to do this once they have a document in place.)

18. Have you discussed any of these decisions with anyone else? If so, who?

19. Do you have legal representation?

20. Do you have spiritual/religious beliefs and or a representative or organization in your life?

21. Is there any information/ documentation available somewhere (safety deposit box etc.) that may be needed to care for you?

22. Do you own objects that are sentimental and most valuable to you? Do you have them listed in a document/are they a part of a will?

23. What else about your aging is important to you?

24. Have I missed anything?

25. How can I show you the most love and support as you age?

More important than any question you could ever ask is to show love and compassion for the elderly.

Our Best,
Dr. Katie Eastman, Bill Lightfoot and Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino

Dr. Katie Eastman
Katie is the Founder of Children’s Palliative Care Community. Mentored by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Dr. Eastman has dedicated her career to improving the quality of life for seriously ill and dying children and those who care for them. She has a Doctorate in child psychology and a Masters degree in medical social work. In addition, she has studied and lectured extensively topics related to grief and loss, pastoral psychology, thanatology and all aspects of pediatric palliative care.

Katie serves as a Chief Advisor on The Best Ever You Network and is the co-host of The Best Ever You Show on Blog Talk Radio.

Bill Lightfoot
Bill served with the Richmond Police Department for thirty-six years. He has served as an investigator and supervisor with the Property Crimes Unit, the Robbery & Homicide Division, The Narcotics Division, and the Criminal Intelligence Unit.Bill served with the Richmond Police Department for thirty-six years. He has served as an investigator and supervisor with the Property Crimes Unit, the Robbery & Homicide Division, The Narcotics Division, and the Criminal Intelligence Unit.

Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino
Elizabeth is the Founder and CEO of The Best Ever You Network and host of the top-rated blog talk radio program, The Best Ever You Show. Her father, James Hamilton is a stroke survivor since 2004 and a kidney cancer survivor since 2011.

Elizabeth was resuscitated in 1998 from an allergic reaction.

“Do my father’s memory problems prevent him from writing a legally binding Will?” Dr.Jane Lonie


Reblogged from Dr. Jane Lonie

For any will to be legally binding, its author must have (or be deemed to have had) the ability to understand the nature and effect of their will at the time of it’s writing. The capacity to understand the nature and effect of a will at the time of writing is referred to as ‘Testamentary Capacity’.

The same applies where an individual is looking to amend an existing will. He or she must be deemed to have testamentary capacity in order to make such changes in a legally binding manner.

Testamentary capacity is therefore determined by an individual’s ability to understand the nature and the effect of their will at the time that the will is made.  In the vast majority of cases where the integrity of brain function is not in question, there is no need for an individual to undergo formal assessment of their testamentary capacity.  However, where further evaluation is required in order to establish testamentary capacity, Clinical Neuropsychologists are arguably best placed of all clinicians to perform this type of evaluation and to provide expert opinion.

Having a diagnosis of dementia or any other condition affecting your thinking ability does not automatically negate your ability to write a legally binding will.  The testamentary capacity of an individual with dementia will depend on a number of matters including:

  • How long they have suffered with dementia.
  • The severity of their cognitive losses.
  • The type of thinking difficulties they experience (i.e. whether these relate to memory or language function).
  • The level of complexity of their estate.

In some cases, it may be possible to facilitate the testamentary capacity of an individual via the adoption of strategies to support their function in the affected area of thinking.

Some people get help from friends or family or simply write their will themselves.  The advantage of seeking professional advice is that a proper capacity assessment can be undertaken at or close to the time that the will is written, forming a safeguard against any future challenges on grounds of incapacity.

Where wills are challenged on grounds of an absence of testamentary capacity, Clinical Neuropsychologists may be called upon to provide an expert opinion on a retrospective basis.  In such cases, Clinical Neuropsychologists integrate specialist knowledge of the symptoms and course of brain diseases with details / circumstances of their client, to infer the likelihood of testamentary capacity at the time the will was written.

Philadelphia Abuser Shows Need for More Investigation & Record Keeping :


Reposted from by Attorney David Engler

The Philadelphia Enquirer reported December 9, 2011 on one of the nation’s most horrific example of abusing a ward or in Linda Weston’s case a “payee”. Weston is accused of imprisoning intellectually challenged adults in a Tacony cellar and stealing their federal benefits. Weston was the official recipient of Social Security benefits for 10 men and women from 1995 to 2011, according to a source familiar with the ongoing investigation.

“She had applied to be the “representative payee” for an 11th beneficiary, her biological daughter, the source said.

In an ongoing investigation, the Social Security Administration has found that Weston was getting the checks for four relatives, including children; five individuals who were not related; and one person who had the same last name but whose relationship to Weston has not been firmly established.

As of October, Weston was terminated as the payee for seven of the beneficiaries, the source said.

Of those beneficiaries, three were with Weston at the time of her arrest; two are dead; one no longer needed a representative payee; and one was switched to a more suitable payee.

Payments for the three others were suspended, pending the results of an investigation by the administration’s Office of Inspector General, the source said.

Police continue to probe the 2005 death of Donna Spadea, 59, while in Weston’s care in Philadelphia.

Another person who died under Weston’s care was Maxine Lee, 39, of Philadelphia. In November 2008, she was found dead in a house that Weston was renting in Norfolk, Va. Norfolk police said Lee died of natural causes. A medical examiner attributed Lee’s death to meningitis, with severe malnutrition as a contributing factor.

Weston had served less than four years in prison for a 1984 conviction for starving to death a man, 25, she kept trapped in her Philadelphia apartment. She was arrested in October with her daughter and husband after the landlord of a Tacony apartment house found four intellectually handicapped people locked in the building’s cellar.

A sweep of the apartment where Weston was staying turned up identification records for as many as 50 people, including power-of-attorney paperwork, forms of identification, and Social Security numbers. Police said it suggested a vast fraud operation.

People who are convicted of crimes are banned by law from accepting government checks on behalf of others, but it is a self-reporting system.

The social security administration is very lax on who is appointed as a representative payee and should be encouraging more professional organizations or registered guardians to act as payees. Each year billions are stolen in benefits from the poor by those who are claiming to help.

The answer is not only better background checks but accurate record keeping that can be reviewed by other family members, a court or agency at any time. Our company, has pioneered the nation’s first online real-time reporting system for wards. Such systems ensure proper recordkeeping and help to minimize if not eliminate fraud.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) is proposing a bill that would give the Social Security Administration access to FBI databases in order for caseworkers to conduct criminal background checks. It’s a start.

10 Warning Signs of Financial Exploitation

The National Center on Elder Abuse defines Financial or Material Exploitation as:

The illegal or improper use of an elder’s funds, property or assets.

Examples include, but are not limited to, cashing an elderly person’s checks without authorization or permission; forging an older person’s signature; misusing or stealing an older person’s money or possessions; coercing or deceiving an older person into signing a document (e.g., contracts or will); and the improper use of conservatorship, guardianship, or power of attorney.


The Center lists the following warning signs and symptoms of exploitation and other forms of financial abuse:

Sudden changes in bank account or banking practice, including an unexplained withdrawal of large sums of money by a person accompanying the elder;
The inclusion of additional names on an elder’s bank signature card;
Unauthorized withdrawal of the elder’s funds using the elder’s ATM card;
Abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents;
Unexplained disappearance of fund or valuable possessions;
Substandard care being provided or bills unpaid despite the availability of adequate financial resources;
Discovery of an elder’s signature being forged for financial transactions or for the titles of his/her possessions;
Sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives claiming their rights to an elder’s affairs and possessions;
The provision of services that are not necessary; and
An elder’s report of financial exploitation.

Source: The National Center on Elder Abuse, Administration on Aging

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