Scams targeting the elderly are spreading.
According to Federal Trade Commission data, 26 percent of 2012 fraud complaints made to the agency were made by people age 60 and older (the highest of any age group). That figure represents an increase from 2008, when their rate stood at 10 percent, the lowest for any age group.
According to a 2010 survey by the Investor Protection Trust, an organization that promotes education about financial matters, 20 percent of Americans age 65 and older have been the victims of some kind of financial abuse.
Metropolitan Life Insurance reported that financial abuse cost seniors $2.9 billion or more in 2010 — a 12 percent increase in two years.
The problem is likely much worse than statistics reveal, because experts estimate that only 10 percent of fraud is reported. Many fraud victims are embarrassed to have been tricked or do not believe that reporting the crime will make any difference.
Law enforcement officials acknowledge that the sheer instance rate of fraud means that many cases cannot be investigated within the limited available resources.
Learn more from an estate planning lawyer at Littman Krooks by visiting http://www.elderlawnewyork.com/.
Many young professionals dream of early retirement, but they are unlikely to achieve it without proper planning. Many more claim that they cannot afford to save, but saving for a retirement is truly a matter of setting priorities and making a plan. Here are some tips.
The first step is to set your savings goals and make a budget. Start tracking your expenses to find out how you can save more.
Make your savings automatic. To make that change, it is often easiest to enroll in your company’s 401(k) plan. If funds go directly into your 401(k) and bypass your checking account, saving becomes a lot easier.
Live below your means. Many people do the opposite, constantly going into debt to own things they cannot afford. Instead, spend less than you make and invest the rest.
Make smarter investments. Your savings contributions can fly on autopilot, but your investment choices should be well-considered each time you make one. A diverse portfolio can provide a good return on investment without too much risk.
Create a fun fund. Make saving fun by purposely setting aside money for luxuries. Get in the habit of rewarding yourself for saving, rather than going into debt for instant gratification.
Talk to an estate planning lawyer at Littman Krooks today or visit http://www.elderlawnewyork.com/
A recent study has found that partial retirement is becoming more popular with aging Americans.
Analysis from the University of Michigan Research Center has found that 20 percent of workers between the ages of 65 and 67 hold a “bridge” job between working full-time and living in full retirement. That figure represents an large increase from 1960, when between 5 and 10 percent of workers held a bridge job.
The researchers also found that workers are slowing down earlier. 15 percent of workers aged 60 to 62 are partially retired. The study found that, in 1960, partial retirement in this age group was almost nonexistent.
The study defined “partial retirement” as holding a job in which the earnings are 50 percent or less of the highest income the individual has had in his or her lifetime.
Researchers said the change has been affected by the general unemployment rate and by the economy, with some workers needing to put off full retirement. Also, according to the research, some older individuals may be financially secure but want to stay active. They do not want to work full-time, so they are willing to work part-time for less pay.
Contact an Elder Law attorney in New York at Littman Krooks by calling (914) 684-2100
Choosing the right long-term care services and supports can be difficult. If you are looking for long-term care in New York State, you should be aware of NY Connects: Choices for Long-Term Care.
This free, state-funded service can provide you with personalized information over the telephone about options including assisted living residences, nursing homes, senior centers, adult day care, home care, hospice care, transportation, payment for medicine and many other similar concerns.
Speaking with a NY Connects counselor can be very helpful if you know you need assistance but are unsure what kind of help is available or which long-term care option is best for your situation.
The service is available whether you are eligible for a government program, using insurance or paying for services yourself. Calls are confidential and are answered by trained specialists. Help is available in several different language, and TTY is available for the hearing impaired.
In Westchester County, NY Connects can be reached at (914) 813-6300. More information is available at www.nyconnects.ny.gov.
Contact a New York estate planning lawyer at Littman Krooks at (914) 684-2100
Visits from loved ones in the hospital can greatly improve a patient’s mood and assist in his or her recovery, but most hospitals restrict visitors to the human kind. Although many hospitals have pet therapy programs that use trained dogs, most do not allow visits from family pets.
A few hospitals are bucking that trend, allowing patients’ own dogs and cats to visit under certain conditions.
Among them is North Shore University Hospital on Long Island, which allows personal pets to stay with patients around the clock in its palliative care unit. Another Long Island facility, the Hospice Inn, also allows pets, and a few other hospitals around the country have adopted similar policies.
The policies vary, but they generally require a doctor’s order and an attestation from a veterinarian that the pet is up-to-date on shots and otherwise healthy. Most hospitals require dogs to be on a leash and cats to be taken in and out by carrier.
Hospital officials who have studied the issue say that the relatively mild risks, like animal bacteria transmission, are outweighed by the benefits, including comfort and reduced stress for patients.
Learn more by contacting a New York estate planning lawyer at (914) 684-2100.
Over the past two decades, the percentage of people age 65 and older who live with their adult children (or other relations) has risen. According to the American Community Survey, which is part of the U.S. Census, that share is 9 percent.
Experts indicate that the increase is not the result of the recession and weak recovery. Instead, it is at least partly due to the larger number of seniors who were born in another country. These seniors are four times more likely to live with their adult children.
Age makes a difference as well: older seniors live with relatives much more often. Just 6 percent of seniors age 65 to 69 live with family members, while 15 percent of seniors age 85 and over share their home.
Seniors are also more likely to live with their adult children if they are female (as female life expectancy is longer), currently unmarried and living in a metropolitan area with few other seniors.
Contact a White Plains elder law attorney at (914) 684-2100
The AARP recently reported a surge in scams targeting seniors in New York City. The actual increase in fraud may be even higher than the AARP suggests, as it is estimated that one third of elderly scam victims do not report the crime.
Scammers often target elders because they are more likely to be home during the day and to have good credit or home equity. Moreover, they are perceived as more trusting and less willing to hang up on a telemarketer. Scams targeting the elderly range from telephone calls attempting to obtain personal information (requesting Social Security numbers on a Medicare-related pretext, for example) to more elaborate scams involving phone reverse mortgages.
Officials say that a legitimate home equity conversion mortgage is insured by the Federal Housing Authority. Seniors may be used as straw buyers in property-flipping scams or drawn into phony reverse mortgages.
Due to the increase in fraud activity, seniors should be vigilant against any unknown person trying to obtain their personal information.
Learn more by contacting New York Guardianship Lawyer, Bernard A. Krooks.
The Care Circles of Westchester is a new program that provides family caregivers with assistance from volunteers.
A care circle is a group of volunteers who are willing to help a person who needs care — such as an elderly person — with the tasks of daily living, including laundry, dog-walking, and rides to doctor’s appointments.
The Care Circles is part of Westchester’s Livable Communities Initiative. One of its goals is to help seniors age in their homes and communities, rather than in facilities. A ready community of volunteers who help with daily living tasks can advance that goal.
To learn more about the program, contact Colette Phipps at firstname.lastname@example.org or (914) 813-6441.
Or contact White Plains estate planning attorney, Bernard A. Krooks at (914) 684-2100.
Scammers and con artists often target older people. Elders may also be more likely to fall victim to fraud, either because they are unfamiliar with some common scams or because the effects of early Alzheimer’s or other dementia allow others to take advantage of them more easily.
Of course, when older loved ones are no longer able to make financial decisions for themselves, then a power of attorney is appropriate. But when elderly parents are living independently, but potentially at risk to financial predators, knowing how to protect them can be tricky.
When talking to one’s parents about the risk of fraud, it is important to avoid shaming or blaming them; they may become defensive and resist sharing information. The simplistic solution of “just hang up the phone” is not likely to be convincing, either. Instead, have a conversation about what kinds of calls, letters and emails have been received. Talk about the facts of common scams. Are they aware that government agencies will never make unsolicited calls and ask for personal information? Do they know that notices to pay a fee to collect contest winnings are fraudulent?
One can also appeal to a parent’s natural desire to protect others. Ask them whether they have seen certain warning signs: alertness can reinforce their own healthy skepticism.
Contact a White Plains estate planning lawyer to learn more.
The population of New York City is aging rapidly. There are 1 million people over the age of 65 living in the city at present, and that number is expected to increase by 50 percent by the year 2030, the fastest increase in history. Many older New Yorkers rely in part on family members who act as caregivers. A recent AARP survey found that most unpaid, family caregivers experience emotional and financial strain, making resources to help them that much more important.
One of the best sources for information and assistance for NYC caregivers is the New York City Department for the Aging, which can be reached by phone at (212) 504-4115 or on the web at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dfta/html/caregiver/support.shtml.
Another comprehensive source of information is the NYC Caregiving and Respite Directory, available from the New York State Caregiving & Respite Coalition at
For more information about our elder law services, contact Littman Krooks, LLP.