Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, February 25, 2017

New Study Finds Link Between Excess Sugar & Alzheimer's

SugaarA new study’s finding claims that scientists have found a link between Alzheimer’s disease and excess sugar. More specifically, there is a correlation between a person’s blood sugar glucose and the disease, evincing that people with high sugar diets could be at a greater risk of developing the disease. An Australian university found that excess glucose damages an essential enzyme associated with inflammation response in the early stages of the degenerative neurological condition. Glucose can damage the proteins in cells through a reaction called glycation, which in turn damages an enzyme called macrophage migration inhibitory factor. Consequently, researchers believe that this process presents the “tipping point” in Alzheimer’s progression. Further, abnormally high blood sugar levels is a characteristic of diabetes, and these patients have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s. 

See Excess Sugar Linked to Alzheimer’s: Study Finds a ‘Tipping Point’, Fox News, February 24, 2017. 


February 25, 2017 in Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Food and Drink, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 24, 2017

Woman Wins Right to Die After Suffering from Eating Disorder

Right to die2A woman who battled a severe eating disorder for most of her life has died after winning the right to refuse forced feeding. A New Jersey judge granted her the right to “live free from medical intervention.” The legal battle began when her court-appointed guardian entered an order allowing her to join palliative care instead of being force fed through a feeding tube. The case brings attention to those who suffer from disorders and want to enforce their right to die. 

See Ellie Kaufman, Woman with Eating Disorder Dies After Court Grants Her that Right, CNN, February 22, 2017. 


February 24, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

One of England's Most Evil Killers Is Fighting for His Right to Die

Right to dieThe Moors Murders have haunted England since the 1960s, but now, one of the killers is fighting for his right to die. Ian Brady is currently in poor health and fighting to be removed from a secure hospital back to a prison in his native Scotland. Scottish prisons do not force-feed inmates, so Brady would like the chance to refuse food and die. However, the hospital where he is currently staying claims that his chronic mental illness is keeping him from being transferred. Brady lost his first legal fight to move locations back in 2013 and his most recent one earlier this week. 

See Elizabeth Armstrong Moore, UK’s ‘Most Evil’ Serial Killer Is Fighting for Right to Die, Fox News, February 22, 2017. 


February 23, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

How Cannabis Is Helping America's Elders

Elder marijuanaA New York City nursing home is taking unusual steps to help residents use medical marijuana as an alternative to prescription drugs. The Hebrew Home at Riverdale will allow residents to buy marijuana from a dispensary, keep the products in locked boxes in their rooms, and administer it on their own. Elderly Americans are increasingly turning to marijuana as an alternative, one with fewer side effects, for aches and pains. Additionally, in the State of Washington, as a response to demands from residents, at least twelve assisted living facilities maintain formal medical marijuana policies. However, several nursing homes and assisted living facilities are concerned about the penalties that could result from allowing residents to indulge in such practices. As research continues to progress the idea, one thing is for sure: America’s elders are increasingly exploring alternatives for fighting pain.  

See Winnie Hu, When Retirement Comes with a Daily Dose of Cannabis, N.Y. Times, February 19, 2017. 

Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.  


February 22, 2017 in Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Americans Retiring Abroad Must Plan Ahead

Retiring abroadAs many Americans look to retire overseas, they will need to seek advice on the best way to plan for their ultimate destination. Between 2010 and 2015, the number of Americans receiving Social Security benefits abroad jumped from 400,000 to 550,000; similarly, the number of Americans annually retiring abroad increased by 17%. Not only are American retirees looking for a better climate, but they are also searching for better costs. Other reasons for retiring overseas include maximizing their nest egg with the strength of the United States dollar and benefiting from nationalized healthcare systems. 

However, retiring abroad does have its concerns—the first being financial. It is necessary to plan for any tax implications and impact on retirement benefits. Before fleeing the United States for a relaxing retirement lifestyle, Americans will also need to make sure they have solid estate plans that will put inheritances into the right hands. Further, contingency plans are always essential, so retirees need to maintain a location in the United States or set aside money to use for a potential return. Ultimately, American retirees should consider all social and psychological concerns as they venture into retirement abroad.    

See Christopher Robbins, More Americans Are Retiring Abroad—But Do They Have a Plan?, Financial Advisor, February 15, 2017. 


February 18, 2017 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 17, 2017

Immigration Policies Could Increase Costs for Seniors

Long term careAs President Trump moves to reduce the number of immigrants, retirees will see an increase in price for assisted care and nursing facilities. In turn, this could force seniors out of their homes and cause them to spend substantially more on these health care needs. Approximately one in four homecare aides are undocumented immigrants, forcing Latino and Muslim nurses to worry about potential deportation. If this correlation continues, seniors will be forced to spend more or undertake a lower standard of living. Ultimately, the trend shows that Trump’s immigration policies will cause a decrease in the availability of long-term care needs for seniors.  

See Ted Knutson, Trump Immigration Moves Could Mean Big Bills for Seniors, Financial Advisor, February 17, 2017. 


February 17, 2017 in Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Health Insurance Providers Are Witnessing a "Death Spiral"

Health insuranceThe CEO of Aetna, one of the United States’ largest health insurance agencies, claims that statistics indicate that health law has entered into a “death spiral.” This is a result of healthier people dropping out, while premiums continue to increase. The Trump Administration is working on new efforts to make tax compliance with Obama’s health law less burdensome, hopefully changing the direction of the law and market. However, insurance companies are reducing their presence in the markets started by ObamaCare but looking forward to gaining more flexibility to design tailored coverage. 

See ObamaCare in ‘Death Spiral,’ Aetna CEO Says, Fox News, February 16, 2017. 


February 16, 2017 in Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Should You Buy Long-Term Care Insurance?

Long-term careDeciding between long-term care insurance and self-insuring is a difficult question many people face. It is often a matter of whether you want to retain the risk or share it with an insurance company. Insurance companies offer various products, so it is important to understand what you would like to cover and what premiums you can afford. If you decide you want to purchase a long-term care policy, there are several considerations to keep in mind. Some points to examine include determining how many years to insure for, changing policy premiums, deciding between a cash plan v. reimbursement plan, and reviewing any waiting periods. These considerations can make long-term care insurance advantageous, but the longer you take to use the benefits, the more sense it makes to self-insure. 

See Roxanne Alexander, LTC – To Buy or Not to Buy, Evensky Katz Foldes Financial, February 14, 2017. 

Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.


February 16, 2017 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Caregiving Costs More than You Think

Expensive caregivingA recent survey claims that Americans drastically underestimate the costs associated with caring for their loved ones. Caregivers make up a large percentage of the population; specifically, out of the 1,000 people surveyed, 40% were caregivers and 20% expected to step into that role. According to the current caregivers, caregiving expenses compromised nearly one-third of their budgets. However, only 25% of future caregivers thought financial support was a key attribute of caregiving. Because caregiving expenses are enhanced by the unintentional failure of Americans to plan for long-term care, it is important to understand the financial burden that caregiving can bring to a family and how best to alleviate those costs. 

See Christopher Robbins, Caregiving Costs Higher than You Probably Think, Financial Advisor, February 8, 2017. 


February 9, 2017 in Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Clinic Tricks Patients into Thinking They Had Alzheimer's

Clinic lies about alzheimersMore than fifty former patients from a now-closed Ohio clinic are suing the clinic’s director and owner, claiming that they tricked them into thinking they had Alzheimer’s disease when they actually did not. Some of the patients claim that they underwent treatment for almost a year before realizing that they were not suffering from the disease. As a result, the patients’ families were devastated, and several contemplated taking their own lives. Ultimately, it was found that the clinic director did not have a license to practice medicine.   

See Clinic Falsely Told Dozens They Had Alzheimer’s, Suits Say, Fox News, February 8, 2017. 


February 8, 2017 in Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)