AARP’s family caregiving & caregiver info

The AARP website is full of good, helpful info for caregivers and caregiving stories.

The entryway: Caregiving Basics. Then there’s Care at Home, Nursing Homes, Medical, Financial & Legal, Life Balance, Community, Local Resources & Solutions, and Stories.

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Covid-19 Resources

There’s so much chatter about this novel virus. Here, we want to help you cut through the chatter and get straight to what you actually need and to the info you can trust. So we’ve put this page of resources together for you. All links will open in a new window or tab so you don’t lose our website. ~ Joe, Walt, and the rest of the team Updated July 26, 2020 PS: We have some Elder Law resources as well. Masks First this from the WHO, because so many people don’t know how to wear their fabric masks properly and it’s important for us all to know. And in case you’re worried about oxygen deprivation while wearing a mask… Doctor Runs 22 Miles Wearing Face Mask to Show it Doesn’t Cut Oxygen Levels Newsweek magazine, by Basit Mahmood, July 23, 2020 Excerpt: [Dr] Tom Lawton, who works at the Bradford Royal Infirmary in Yorkshire, north England, said he decided to run with the mask on, following his concerns for people with respiratory illnesses who want to wear a mask but are too scared to do so over false information. He recorded that oxygen levels never fell below 98% of what it would usually be. Read the full article here at Transmission How Long Does the Coronavirus Last on Surfaces? Wired Magazine, March 14, 2020 Researchers looked at how long the virus can survive on cardboard, plastic, and stainless steel, as well as after being aerosolized and suspended in midair. Some easy to understand info and explanations of terms. Read this article here at CA updates:California Department of Public Health Covid-19 updates includes numbers, demographics, and more. Click here. CA updates: Office of the Governor of California on Twitter If you’re on Twitter, you might want to follow […]

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$23 Million win upheld for disabled siblings defrauded by contractor & attorney

– Con Man Took Advantage of Disabled Man, Sister to Defraud Them of WWII-Era Santa Monica Family Home – LOS ANGELES (March 15, 2017) – This month California’s Second Appellate District, Division Two, Court of Appeal upheld an award of $21 million in punitive damages and $2.2 million in compensatory damages against building contractor Noam Bouzaglou, his shell corporation, Ness Adam, Inc. and attorney Andrew J. Stern who perpetrated a fraud against Kathleen and Tim McGinty, in order to obtain their modest family home in Santa Monica. Kathleen suffers from autism. Her brother suffered throughout his life from bipolar disorder, depression and substance addiction, and was getting by on his small monthly disability payment. Joseph Girard, principal at LA Elder Law, represented Kathleen McGinty and Jeanne Haworth, the current trustee for the McGinty estate, in the original case decided in favor of the plaintiffs in 2014. “Nationwide we know many elderly are the victims of financial fraud, and we know people with disabilities are victimized by crime at rates higher than the rest of the population, often the target of crime because of their disabilities,” said Girard. “This appellate decision affirmed the 2014 judgment that sent a very strong message with the $23 million award to would-be fraudsters looking to prey upon the disadvantaged and the elderly.” In 2006, Delores McGinty, Kathleen’s mother, set up a special needs trust for Kathleen’s benefit. The main asset of the trust was the 1,477 square foot single family home in Santa Monica, built by their father, a returning WWII veteran, for a few thousand dollars from a Sears Roebuck and Co. pre-cut home kit. Owned free and clear, the home was the residence for Delores and her daughter. Son Tim became the trustee after the death of his mother Delores in 2009 and moved […]

Silence your smartphone without missing calls or alerts

We all know the irritation of having to hear a room full of rings and pings. Instead, of being one of those annoying people, you can silence your phone — but not miss a call or message alert.

The trick: a light flashing alert

Set your phone to flash its camera light instead. Then, when in a crowd, flip the silence button (iPhone) or silence your Android (if your version has this setting) and you’ll still have the flashing light. As long as your phone is in sight, you’ll know when someone seeks you.

We particularly love this trick because it can be hard to determine whether the phone you’re hearing is your own, but the light is right there on your phone.

Recognizing Elder Abuse and Getting the Help You Need

If you or any of your loved ones have experienced any of the following situations or have been hurt, abused, attacked, neglected or mistreated, you (or they) may be a victim of Elder Abuse. Common Forms of Elder Abuse Physical Abuse: Being hit, pushed around, tripped, pinched or having your hair pulled. Entrapment and Imprisonment: Not being allowed to leave the home when you want. Feeling trapped. Not being able to get away from somebody when they’re angry at you because they follow you around. Being cornered in a room and not being able to get away from a person’s anger or rage. Emotional and Psychological Abuse: Being yelled at. Being blamed for problems that aren’t your fault. Being made to feel bad about yourself, guilty, or responsible for the problems of others that simply aren’t your fault. Financial Abuse: Having money stolen for you. Being over-billed for services. Having your signature forged. Being tricked or coerced into signing documents. When a loved one is given documents to sign, when they are not emotionally or mentally able to make decisions for themselves is also a form of financial abuse. Neglect: Not having your physical needs met by somebody who is responsible for doing so. This can mean not being fed, not being helped to the bathroom, or not being rolled over in a bed frequently enough to prevent bedsores when you are not able to move yourself. Neither You nor Your Loved Ones need to Suffer You don’t have to stand for that kind of treatment, and we’re here to help. Its critical that you contact us as soon as possible to help put an immediate stop to the problem, and to keep things from getting worse. How to get help, today Once you recognize that there is an issue, time […]

It can be hard to recognize elder abuse.

Estate planning is a necessity for unmarried couples

Estate Planning is a necessity for unmarried couples

If you have a partner but aren’t married and want some or all of your belongings to go to them, it’s important that you have an estate plan. California laws do provide for your spouse should you pass away without a will or a trust. This is not the case if you’re not married. There are other considerations as well. For example, should you become incapacitated, you may want this person to make health-related decisions for you, pay your bills or make your financial decisions. The way to do this is to sign a DPA (Durable Power of Attorney) before anything happens to you. This will allow your partner to make decisions for you, should the need arise. You can specify which responsibilities and types of decisions you do and do not want wish for your partner to take on. Regarding your belongings: if you own a home or have savings, your best bet may be to establish a trust. If not, a simple will may suffice. In any case, we do provide a free consultation. Please call our office at (310) 823-3943 to schedule a time for us to meet.

Asset Protection and Estate Planning Considerations for Business Owners

When you form a corporation around your business, you limit your personal liability. In other words, a corporation can protect your personal assets from the liability of a business lawsuit.

But what happens if you, the individual, are sued? The value of your business will be considered a personal asset and could very well be included in a judgment.

So not only do you need to protect your personal assets from your business liabilities, you need to protect your business from your personal liabilities as well.

Many business owners make the mistake of believing that a standard Trust will protect all of their assets. However, this is often not the case, especially for those who are business owners themselves.

You also need to know that a standard trust may not…

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Use your Estate Plan to share what you love with those who share the passion

Do you find peace on long hikes, slow bike rides or gardening? Do you love books or films, collect coins or stamps? What hobbies are you passionate about?

Whatever those loves, you likely shared them with some of the people close to you.

Those friends you hike with, bike with, or enjoyed the intricacies of coins with… These are people with whom your friendships are special.

As you create you Will, after going over your financial assets consider using your Estate Plan to go beyond — to pass your belongings to the great people you shared those hobbies with.

You can use it to say thank you to the people who have touched your life—by sharing something of that hobby or passion with.

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Client Spotlight – The Blantons

Eloise and Dr. Carlton Blanton — both graduates of Los Angeles’ USC — learned and recognized the value if having a great School Principal at early ages.

Knowing that a great principal is an important key to having a worthwhile school and motivated students, they have taken action to help find and build such principals.

The newly created Dr. Carlton and Eloise Blanton Endowed Scholarship at USC Rossier will specifically support students who aspire to be school principals. Their endowment of $160,000 to USC Rossier will support the studies of students who, as the Blantons put it, “€œhave resiliency, bounce back from adversity, are good listeners, and are highly motivated.”€

The Law Offices of Joe Girard is proud to be the legal counsel and trust advisors for these fine philanthropists for ten years now. Having helped them to plan their estate and build their wealth we continue as consultants on most of their legal and estate planning matters.

We invite you to read the entire article at

Law Offices of Joseph C. Girard Wins $23 Million Verdict in Elder Abuse Case & Fraud Against Contractor & Attorney Who Enforced Sale of Family Home

Disabled son deeded property built by his parents in 1948 to unscrupulous contractor

The Los Angeles-based Law Offices of Joseph C. Girard and LA Elder Law, specializing in elder financial abuse legal matters, obtained a $23 million jury verdict on behalf of their clients Jeanne Haworth and Kathleen McGinty against a contractor who maliciously entered into an agreement to renovate a family home. He and his attorney manipulated the owner into deeding the property to raise funds for work that was never needed.

The jury found that the contractor, Noam Bouzaglou, acted with recklessness, oppression and malice toward the McGinty family, and awarded the trust $23 million in punitive damages for the contractor’s abusive conduct. The Court also returned the family home back to the trust. The jury also found that the attorney, Andrew Stern, acted in concert with the contractor, was professionally negligent and engaged in fraudulent conduct.

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Caregiver compensations agreements help with caring for your loved ones

Caring for an aging relative is difficult — and often under appreciated — work.  Many people who serve as caregivers often feel as if they have two jobs — their full-time day job at the office, and the part-to-full-time job of caregiver at home. As their parents age and decline, most of these caregivers end up not only giving up more and more of their time, but also, eventually, their opportunity for more income. Caregivers need to know that it doesn’t have to be this way; that if their elderly loved one (and perhaps the rest of the family) agree, the caregiver can be compensated according to mutually agreed upon terms of a Caregiver Agreement, also known as a Personal-Care Contract.

Elder law attorneys have known about Caregiver Agreements for a long time, but very few caregivers themselves are aware of this useful contract.  A Caregiver (or Employment) Agreement serves to document a caregiver’s responsibilities and hours, and to set a rate of pay that’s in line with local practices and incomes. The contract would then be signed by both the caregiver and care recipient, and eventually shared with the rest of the family.

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How to Prepare to Care for Aging Parents

If you are the child of parents who are currently over the age of 65 you’ve probably given a little bit of thought to the day when one (or both) of your parents may need Long Term Care.

Understandably, most adult children prefer not to think about the day when their parents may not be able to care for themselves, but in some cases it simply cannot be avoided, especially if your parent is already showing early signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia.

If you are concerned about your parent’s future, there are steps you can take now to make the transition to giving and receiving care later easier on both you and your parents.

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When families disagree about elder care, try mediation before litigation

Siblings trying to come together to help mom or dad through the aging process will often run into more road blocks than they expect; and quite often these road blocks are internal. Can mom stay home for a few more years, or does she need round the clock help? Should the sister who lives down the street from dad get financial reimbursement for driving him to doctor’s appointments and the grocery store four times a week? How do you tell mom you think it’s too dangerous for her to drive by herself anymore?

These kinds of questions (and more) can end up leading to huge family fights, and in some severe cases, to litigation. This article in Smart Money suggests that when siblings can’t agree on elder care for aging parents, there is an alternative to litigation: An Elder Mediator.

Elder Mediators are mediators who specialize in elder law, caregiving, and elder decision-making issues. These mediators can “help families work through concerns — and fights — involving caregiving, inheritance, living arrangements, estate planning and related issues.”

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Support for Caregivers of Blended Families

We frequently help divorced or remarrying couples update their estate plans to protect their new blended families, so we know just how significantly the stress of divorce, family upheaval, and tighter finances can impact a family, and how those effects can last years into the future.

We have seen first-hand how the effects of divorce can continue to make waves 20 or even 30 years down the road — not just for the divorced couple, but for their grown children now acting as caregivers.

Adult children of divorced parents often find themselves …

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Don’t overlook memories as an important part of an Estate Plan

When thinking about an Estate Plan most people think primarily about their large financial assets: Real property, bank accounts, investment accounts, family businesses, etc.

Often though, the most heart-wrenching family rifts and disputes are not over the money, but over the little things that have little or no monetary value.

Your parents’ wedding rings, grandma’s heirloom candlesticks, mirror, or locket… These are the items that end up costing families more in harsh words, hurt feelings, and legal fees than any expensive property or valuable bank account.

These are the items that have a high emotional value — but many parents or grandparents don’t consider this when making out their Wills or Trusts.

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The High Emotional—And Financial—Cost of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects everybody it touches—husbands, wives, children and grandchildren—they all bear witness to their loved one’s slow demise.

Sadly, emotional stress is not the only stress that accompanies Alzheimer’s disease; those loved ones serving as caretakers may carry a huge amount of financial stress as well. The cost of caring for an Alzheimer’s patient can run anywhere from $64 a day to $77,380 a year, and because Alzheimer’s disease can be such a long-lasting disease (a person can suffer from Alzheimer’s for up to 20 years) the costs of care can end up being astronomical. It’s obvious that people can’t do it alone.

Long-term care insurance can be very helpful in paying for the costs of care necessary for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s… if your loved one has thought ahead and purchased the policy before they or their spouse began suffering from symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Some people may not have thought ahead and hope that government programs will be able to help with the high cost of care. Medi-Cal can be helpful (Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of long-term care)… if you fall in the right category and know how to navigate the complex system.

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If you suspect a Will has been tampered with

The question of will forgery or undue influence of a Testator is not a common question, but one that does come up periodically in any Estate Planner’s office. The movies have given people certain expectations when it comes to a death in the family and probating a will: a book-lined office, the entire family assembled for a formal reading of the will, shocked and angry reactions as a loved one’s fortune goes to an unknown and unlikely character…

This Hollywood portrayal may be generally off base, but the basic premise is based on the very real feelings that come with the death of a loved one: helplessness, confusion, familial bonds, and sometimes even betrayal.

A Will doesn’t have to be forged for there to be strong feelings of anger or suspicion when the contents end up being different than the family was led to expect. And while forged or secret Wills may not be as common as the movies would have us believe, they aren’t completely unheard of either.

So what should you do if you suspect that the Will of a loved one has been forged or tampered with?

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Don’t let your valuable antiques end up in a yard sale

Have you seen Antiques Roadshow — the PBS TV show in which antique experts travel around the country to critique and appraise antiques brought in by local people? If so, you’ve seen people bring in an old knick-knack they found in grandma’s attic and discover it’s worth hundreds or thousands of dollars!

Now imagine that for every person who makes this valuable discovery on the show, there are at least three people who sell their own unrecognized treasure for a few dollars at a yard sale. It’s painful to consider, isn’t it?

How can you ensure that your family recognizes the value of your treasures?

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5 Things To Discuss With Your Doctor On Your Next Visit

Ensuring you get the medical care you want in an emergency is a team effort which includes your attorney, your doctor, your healthcare agent, and your family and loved ones. However, none of these people can be part of the team if they are unaware of your preferences.

Here are five things to discuss with your doctor to make sure he or she is in the loop:

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