Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Why We Should Not Use "Elderspeak" with Dementia Patients

ElderspeakOftentimes, names like “sweetie” or “dear” signal terms of endearment, but why might this gesture be taken as patronizing? A new study shows that elders suffering from dementia are usually exposed to “elderspeak”—a loud, slow form of baby talk for seniors—which makes them feel incompetent, leading to social isolation and cognitive decline. Communication training can help to reduce the number of diminutives, terms of endearment, and collective pronouns that caregivers often use with their patients.

See Mary Kekatos, Don’t Call Me Sweetie! Why We Should Never Use ‘Elderspeak’ to Talk Down to Dementia Patients, Daily Mail, March 24, 2017.

March 25, 2017 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Self-Driving Cars Could Help Transportation Efforts for Aging Americans

Autonomous vehiclesSelf-driving cars might be a viable means of getting from place to place for older adults in the near future. Currently, approximately 16 million Americans sixty-five and older live in communities where the public transportation is poor or nonexistent. That number is expected to grow rapidly as the baby boomer generation continues to remain outside the major cities. Autonomous vehicles could be the key for closing this concerning mobility gap for an aging society, while automakers are vying in the race to reduce or eliminate the amount of time a person actually spends driving in a vehicle. However, there are several impediments that would need to be worked out, as the elderly understandably have a harder time adjusting to such technology. Accordingly, automakers should be aware of older drivers because if they do not trust the technology, the business will potentially slow.

See Mary M. Chapman, Self-Driving Cars Could Be Boon for Aged, After Initial Hurdles, N.Y. Times, March 23, 2017.

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

March 24, 2017 in Current Events, Elder Law, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

New Tools for Elder Financial Abuse Are on the Rise

Elder financial abuse2Artificial intelligence, data, and virtual reality may become future tools for elder financial abuse. In the age of technology, elders rely on direct mail and telephone solicitation to become familiar with non-profits and give to charity, which means charity scammers can still easily defraud them. Further, with these new options, fraudsters will have intimate knowledge on how to appeal to the emotional triggers of elders. The potential for manipulation is huge.

See Ted Knutson, Al, Big Data May Become Tools for Elder Financial Abuse, Financial Advisor, March 22, 2017.

March 22, 2017 in Current Events, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 13, 2017

CLE on Advanced Elder Law & Guardianship Law

CLEThe State Bar of Texas is holding a CLE entitled, Advanced Elder Law & Advanced Guardianship Law Courses 2017, which will take place April 6–7, 2017, at the Westin Memorial City Hotel in Houston, Texas. Provided below is a description of the event:

Advanced Elder Law Course Topics Include:

  • Anatomy of a Will
  • Case Law Update: Texas and National
  • Dealing with MERP Claims through Probate Proceedings
  • MERP: It Ain't a Lien and Here's Why
  • How to Deal with the Transition between VA and Medicaid
  • Title Issues on Gift Deeds, Lady Bird Deeds, and Transfer on Death Deeds
  • Client Self Defense Against Abuse, Disputes and Neglect
  • Medicaid Applications: The View from 30,000 Feet
  • Handling Odd Types of Property
  • BYOD: Technology Tips for Elder Law Attorneys
  • Communicating Complicated Elder Law Concepts to Clients Who May Have a Hard Time Understanding Complicated Concepts

Advanced Guardianship Law Course Topics Include:

  • What's New in Guardianship
  • Tool Kit for Contested Guardianships
  • Supports and Services: Alternatives to Guardianships
  • Temporary Guardianships and Other Remedies v. TROs
  • The Interaction of POAs in Guardianships
  • Runaway Ad Litems
  • Fees and Costs in Guardianships
  • Effective Use of Management Trusts with or in Lieu of Guardianships: Guardians of the Estate
  • Creditors' Claims in Guardianships

Reserve Your Hotel Room Now to Get the Discounted Rate!

Call the Westin Memorial City Hotel at 281-501-4300 before the March 16 deadline to get the special rate of $189/night. Inform the hotel at the time of your reservation that you will be attending the State Bar of Texas course. You can also make your reservation online!


March 13, 2017 in Conferences & CLE, Current Events, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Dr. Robert Kane Never Stopped Pushing for Long-Term Care System Reform

KaneDr. Robert Kane spent most of his life studying aging and campaigning against nursing homes, burdensome regulations, and a failing long-term care system. Kane was in the midst of leading a project to find solutions in order to fix the problems with America’s long-term care system, arguing that the system was ill-suited to treat chronic conditions. In his last forty years, Kane was known for his critiques and scientific analysis of aging and long-term care systems in the United States and abroad. The longtime University of Minnesota professor passed away on Monday at the age of 77. 

See Jackie Crosby, Obituary: U’s Robert Kane, Renowned Expert on Aging, Never Stopped Pushing for Change, StarTribune, March 9, 2017. 


March 10, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Elder Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Article on Virginia Filial Responsibility Law

Filial lawsSylvia Macon recently published an Article entitled, Grow Up Virginia: Time to Change Our Filial Responsibility Law, 51 U. Rich. L. Rev. 265 (2016). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

On its face, the Virginia law seems laudable, requiring private payment by family members for costs that would otherwise be incurred by the state. However, upon closer examination, significant issues regarding implementation and fairness arise. The Virginia statute has not lain dormant, but rather has been implemented without report. Other states have recognized the futility of filial responsibility laws and have preempted such abuse by repealing their laws. Virginia should act now to either repeal the statute or amend it to ensure its citizens avoid inequitable outcomes like the defendant in Pittas.

This comment discusses the background and development of filial responsibility laws in England, the United States, and Virginia in Part I. Part II explains the purpose behind implementation of such laws while Part III discusses the problems enforcing the filial responsibility law may cause. Lastly, Part IV explains why past reasons for keeping the law are no longer valid.


March 5, 2017 in Articles, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 3, 2017

Katherine Jackson Looking to End Elder Abuse Feud

Katherine jacksonMichael Jackson would be none too pleased to learn that his family has ignited another legal battle after his passing. Trent Jackson, Michael’s cousin, is calling in TJ Jackson, Michael’s nephew, to determine who is the victim and the villain after Katherine Jackson filed a lawsuit against Trent, claiming he committed elder abuse. By calling in TJ, Trent hopes to absolve himself of any wrongdoing, while casting doubt on the motives of other family members, who may be trying to fall closer in line to the matriarch’s bank account. Because Michael cut his siblings and dad out of his will, his estate pays Katherine a monthly stipend, and upon her death, the balance of Michael’s fortune is to be divided amongst his three children and various charities. 

See Katherine Jackson Grandson to Settle Family War, TMZ, March 3, 2017. 



March 3, 2017 in Current Events, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Will Alzheimer's Bankrupt Medicare & Medicaid?

Alzheimers3Alzheimer’s is the most expensive medical condition in America, and it is threatening to bankrupt Medicare, Medicaid, and the life savings of millions of Americans. As the life expectancy for Americans increases, our health span, particularly our brain span, is failing to keep up. Americans eighty-five and older have a 40%–50% chance of having Alzheimer’s. In 2016, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, total health care, long-term care, and hospice care was estimated at $236 billion for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. 

Currently, $1 of every $5 in Medicare and Medicaid funding goes toward the care of Alzheimer’s patients. With the expected increase in disease diagnosis over the next decade, the number will increase to $1 for every $3, which could cause funding to collapse and prevent funding of other age-related diseases. As a result of this grim possibility, medical professionals are urgently seeking new treatments for Alzheimer’s. They also point to four areas that people can concentrate on to prevent the uprising of the disease—eat right, exercise, sleep, and stress reduction.  

See Lindsay Carlton, Could Alzheimer’s Really Bankrupt Medicare and Medicaid?, Fox News, March 1, 2017.  


March 3, 2017 in Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)

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)