China, Criminal California Judge, and Fraud Alert

First it was China, and now it’s the Netherlands.

Both countries have come up with a not-so-novel idea for addressing the needs of their aging population: require the families to help.

China requires the children of parents older than 60 to visit with their parents frequently. It also mandates that the children make sure the parents’ financial and spiritual needs are met. The Netherlands, a generous welfare state, is calling on seniors’ relatives to volunteer more at retirement homes. It calls the plan a program of “moral obligation,” brought about by the austerity measures that are being taken by the government health service.

In Texas, no such requirement exists. For now.

A California judge was sentenced to probation for taking advantage of his 97-year old neighbor. He had befriended her and, after obtaining her power of attorney, took $250,000 from her assets. After she died and her estate went into probate, the transaction was discovered. The Judge was disbarred and forbidden from acting as a caregiver for an elder or dependent adult other than family members.

The latest elder fraud alert involves the Affordable Care Act. Scammers are contacting people on Medicare and telling them that the ACA requires them to buy an insurance plan from the Health Insurance Marketplace. The scammer then asks for personal information like birth dates and social security number. Thing is – it is illegal for a broker or health insurance company to sell someone with Medicare an ACA marketplace plan. Seniors should report all scam attempts to the Federal Trade Commission website.

If you have a question regarding wills and trusts, estate planning, guardianship, probate, fiduciary duties, or any other legal matter regarding elders call us. Hammerle Finley Law Firm has been helping people for more than 30 years.

Virginia Hammerle is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and an Accredited Estate Planner by the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils. She can be contacted at legaltalk@hammerle.com. The information contained in this article is general information only and does not constitute legal advice. ©2013 Virginia Hammerle