Eight Crazy Nights’ Of Estate Planning Topics To Discuss With Your Family And FriendsIn many ways, the holiday season is the perfect time to think about estate and personal planning.By Cori A. Robinson
Dec 24, 2019 at 2:45 PM(Image via Shutterstock)
Comedian Adam Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song” has become a holiday classic for all regardless of whether or they celebrate the Festival of Lights. A familiar refrain (in all four editions of the song) is the affirmation that “instead of one day of presents” the children who celebrate Chanukah “have eight crazy nights!” (also the name of a Sandler holiday movie).
Surely, part of the crazy that Sandler references is the interaction with family, the giving and receiving of gifts, and, in addition, personal reflections on our own lives. In many ways, the holiday season is the perfect time to think about one’s own estate and personal planning, especially as it coincides with the entry of 2020.
And so, my gift to you are eight estate and personal planning topics for you to think about and discuss with your family and friends, one for each night of Chanukah, crazy or not.
Cori A. Robinson is a solo practitioner having founded Cori A. Robinson PLLC, a New York and New Jersey law firm, in 2017. For more than a decade Cori has focused her law practice on trusts and estates and elder law including estate and Medicaid planning, probate and administration, estate litigation, and guardianships. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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Enjoy your holiday, and remember, this one is to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Blessings to you and yours.
140,000 people around the world died last year... from measles?!?!
Hearing aids may help delay dementia, depression in elders
Vishwadha Chander5 Min Read
Among people who’d been diagnosed with hearing loss, those who used hearing aids were up to 18% less likely to be diagnosed with dementia, depression or fall-related injuries over the next three years, compared to people not using the devices, researchers report in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
More than 27 million older Americans live with hearing loss. But only 12.3% of those with a formal diagnosis get hearing aids, the authors note.
“Prevalence of hearing loss is estimated to increase as our population grows older, and we know there are strong associations between uncorrected hearing loss and conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia,” lead author Dr. Elham Mahmoudi of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor told Reuters Health by email.
Past research has linked prolonged sensory deprivation - such as loss of hearing - with social isolation and cognitive decline, the study team notes. Hearing loss has also been tied to depression, anxiety and balance trouble with increased risk of falls.
Using insurance claims data, Mahmoudi’s team studied 114,862 people age 66 and older with hearing loss.
“For each patient, data was collected over four years - one year before they were diagnosed with hearing loss, and three years after,” Mahmoudi said. “This was done to ensure the patient had not been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, depression or anxiety, and injuries from falls in the year before their diagnosis.”
Only 12.3% of the study subjects used hearing aids, the authors found. Hearing aid use was more common among men (13.3%) than women (11.3%), and among non-Hispanic whites (13.6%) compared to black (9.8%) or Hispanic (6.5%) people.
The gender and race differences are significant, the authors note, because the cognitive conditions being studied are more common among women than men, and among African-Americans compared to whites.
Hearing aid use was highest in north-central states at almost 37%, and lowest, at 6%, in the mountain states.
While everyone in the study had health insurance, hearing aids are typically not covered or only partly covered, and the cost falls on the individual, the study team points out. On average, hearing aids cost between $2,000 and $7,000.
“We not only need to advocate for insurance coverage for hearing aids, but also educate the public about the risks of uncorrected hearing loss,” Mahmoudi said.
The aging U.S. population makes this study significant, noted Dr. Linda McEvoy of the University of California, San Diego, who wasn’t involved in the research.
The study lacked data on patients’ education levels, socioeconomic status or lifestyle that could influence the risks for dementia and other study outcomes. This, McEvoy said, is an important limitation.
“If hearing aid users in the current study have higher levels of education than non-users, then some of the protective associations of using the aid may be the effect of education, not the hearing aids,” McEvoy said in an email.
The study wasn’t designed to determine how hearing aids might reduce risk for physical and mental decline, and randomized clinical trials to test if hearing aids have this protective effect are needed, the study team notes.
Until then, Mahmoudi believes, it would help to make hearing aids more affordable.
“Beyond the costs, low prevalence of hearing aid use has been linked to complexity of the hearing-care system in the U.S., stigma, and poor perceived benefit and need,” she said. “People also do not have a single point of contact.”
Although hearing aids are expensive, she noted, “the costs of the conditions they could prevent or delay are substantially more expensive.”
“The costs of caring for cognitively-impaired older adults are high. If hearing loss contributes to that risk, then hearing aids may be an easily implemented solution to reduce some of that burden on our healthcare system.”
'Fake lawyers' with bogus degrees a problem across Canada
People are posing as fake lawyers and it’s a big problem
Take these important steps to be sure you have someone who is really in the business.SHARE
TORONTO -- There is a disturbing epidemic of “fake lawyers” scamming vulnerable Canadians out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, with eight caught in B.C. earlier this month alone.
Lawyer Tanya Walker says that the practice of obtaining fake degrees, law or otherwise, is “quite common” online and worth a billion dollars worldwide.
“The most vulnerable segment of the population [to fake lawyers] are baby boomers, aging people because they may not be in tune as much with technology as the younger generation,” Walker said on CTV’s Your Morning Friday.
Walker said that new immigrants or those wishing to move to Canada are also vulnerable, as there may be a language barrier and may not know how to verify a lawyer’s credentials.
Fake lawyers can do “a lot” of damage, Walker said, as “the judgment is not automatically overturned because you are represented by a fake lawyer, you have to demonstrate that there was a miscarriage of justice.”
If the victim of a fake lawyer is unable to prove a miscarriage of justice, the original judgment can still stand, she said.
Walker said that with real, regulated and licensed lawyers, clients with an issue can report them to the law society and pursue compensation up to $500,000 – or sue the lawyer and pursue a payout from their insurer. None of those options are available with a fake lawyer.
“All a judge does for you when you win is write that you have won [against a fake lawyer], it’s up to you to collect, so if the person does not have any assets… you are out of luck,” Walker said.
Walker said that if you are in need of a lawyer, always verify the lawyer’s credentials, try to visit their office, call the law society and double check their registration number and “be suspicious if they do not have any pictures on their website or it’s too good to be true.”
Lawyers are generally only allowed to accept “around $7,500 in cash” per file, Walker said, so anyone asking for exorbitant amounts like $50,000 should “send up a red flag.”
Jeff Sodoma, MPA, Esq. is a lawyer based in Virginia Beach, Virginia
Hello, there! Welcome to my blog. I will use this blog as a platform for my writing. I will write about topics in the legal world, certainly, as well as everything else under the sun, because I have many interests (and viewpoints). All views expressed in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are mine alone. One of my interests is music--my wife believes that I should go on "Beat Shazam" because I know so many songs--and I will be, from time to time, analyzing song lyrics and how they relate to the legal world.