Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Previously I had blogged about the legal battle over removing life support from Frenchman, Vincent Lambert. The New York Times reported recently on his death, Vincent Lambert, Frenchman at Center of Right-to-Die Case, Dies at 42.
His family and his spouse disagreed on his wishes. "His wife, Rachel Lambert, said that he had clearly stated that he would not wish to live in a vegetative state. His parents argued that ending his life support amounted to the murder of a disabled person. Siblings and other family members took different sides in the dispute." As the article notes, "[e]uthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal in France. But the law allows patients who are terminally ill or injured with no chances of recovery to decide to stop treatments if the measures “appear useless, disproportionate” or if they seem to have no other effect than 'artificially maintaining life.'" An article about the final court decision is available here.
In a related matter, the Judge for the Florida Schiavo case has written a chapter for a book, as explained in this article:
Inside the Terri Schiavo case: Pinellas judge who decided her fate opens up. You should read it.
Monday, July 1, 2019
So last week I posted how elders had an impact on climate change. Now I write about the impact climate change has on elders. In case you weren't aware, there's a heat wave in Europe. In fact, one of my dear friends is teaching in our summer abroad program in Spain and he unexpectedly texted me to tell me how hot it was. So last week's story in the Washington Post on the heatwave in France seems timely.
A heat wave killed 15,000 in France in 2003. As temperatures soar again, officials are taking no chances. explains about the various steps that French authorities are taking to offset the effect of the heatwave hitting their country, These record-breaking temperatures "scientists say are becoming more common in Europe as a result of climate change." Officials in Paris have taken a number of steps to help residents cope with the heat. "The heat particularly threatens children, pregnant women and the elderly, city authorities warn. The city has set up a special phone service for elderly and sick people, and authorities have asked hospitals and retirement homes to be on alert. Older residents left alone made up many of the victims of the 2003 heat crisis." The heat is record-breaking, according to the BBC.
Unusually hot temperatures are not limited to just Europe. The Tampa Bay area of Florida (where the College of Law is located), whose residents are used to hot and humid conditions this time of year, issued a heat advisory on June 26, 2019."[I]t’s rare for temperatures in Florida to climb beyond the low 90s in the summer ... But with a high pressure system in the Atlantic blocking most of those cooling storms... the high ... should reach at least 96 – in the shade. Heat index values, meaning the temperature it feels like outside, will be 104 in Tampa and as high as 110 in the southern Bay Area."
Thursday, May 30, 2019
Here's an inspiration for you. Whether you are a big band aficionado, love swing, rock 'n roll, metal, classical, rap, or something else, your appreciation of music has no age limit. This story made me happy! 2 elderly men sneak out of nursing home to attend heavy metal festival covers the story.
You're never too old to rock on. Two elderly men managed to slip away from their nursing home in Germany to attend the Wacken Open Air, the largest heavy metal festival in the world, over the weekend, authorities said.
According to Itzehoe police, the pair was eventually found Friday at 3 a.m. local time at the festival after their retirement home in Dithmarscher reported them missing. Police told the Deutsche Welle the men were found "disorientated and dazed."
The metalheads were apparently reluctant to leave the four-day festival in Wacken. They had to be escorted home with a taxi and a patrol car as a "precaution," police said.
Of course, safety is an issue. I don't mean to make light of what might have happened. But dudes, rock on! (P.S. One of my colleagues who is a big music fan offered to represent them for free if they need lawyers).
Monday, May 27, 2019
Dr. Jay Wolfson, who served as the guardian ad litem in the Schiavo case, recently sent me a link to a BBC story about Vincent Lambert. Vincent Lambert: Life support must resume after court reverses ruling explains that after the Paris Appeals Court ruling, doctors had to resume life support for Mr. Lambert, in a vegetative state since an accident in 2008. His spouse supports terminating life support, while his parents oppose it. When reading the article, I couldn't help but notice the similarities to some occurrences in Schiavo.
The dispute has spread beyond the family of Mr. Lambert. "The UN's Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities had called on France to intervene and delay the move to withdraw the life support while they investigated his case further. France's ministry of health said it was not bound by the committee."
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Apparently researchers and gamers are collaborating -- on a "game" that could be used to "identify individuals who might have early and mild symptoms of dementia that medical test aren't able to detect." The game, developed in Germany, and called Sea Hero Quest, reportedly uses virtual reality technology to have a "player" manipulate a virtual boat on a game board. Players are "given a map and shown checkpoints, then the map is taken away and players must navigate to these checkpoints in the game world without the map."
Some of the data reported strike me as, hmmm, surprising. I suspect this game might have greater validity if the players have established, previous skills in using the gaming tools, as well as interest or patience with the technology. There might also be some serious ethical questions for how the "game" is employed as a diagnostic tool. For more details, read "A Video Game Developed to Detect Alzheimer's Disease Seems to Be Working."
Thursday, April 4, 2019
The GAO published a new report examining the experiences of other countries with phased retirement of workers. Older Workers: Other Countries' Experiences with Phased Retirement reports on "17 countries with aging populations and national pension systems similar to the Social Security program in the United States. These countries also have arrangements that allow workers to reduce their working hours as they transition into retirement, referred to as 'phased retirement.'"
GAO's four case study countries—Canada, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom (UK)—were described as employing various strategies at the national level to encourage phased retirement, and specific programs differed with respect to design specifics and sources of supplemental income for participants. Canada and the U.K. were described as having national policies that make it easier for workers to reduce their hours and receive a portion of their pension benefits from employer-sponsored pension plans while continuing to accrue pension benefits in the same plan. Experts described two national programs available to employers and workers in Germany, with one program using tax preferences. Experts also said Sweden implemented a policy in 2010 that allows partial retirement and access to partial pension benefits to encourage workers to stay in the labor force longer.
Even with unique considerations in the United States, other countries' experiences with phased retirement could inform U.S. efforts. Some employer-specific conditions, such as employers offering employee-directed retirement plans and not being covered by collective bargaining are more common in the United States, but the case study countries included examples of designs for phased retirement programs in such settings. Certain programs allow access to employer-sponsored or national pension benefits while working part-time. For example, experts said the U.K. allows workers to draw a portion of their account based pension tax-free, and one U.K. employer GAO spoke to also allows concurrent contributions to those plans. In addition, experts said that certain program design elements help determine the success of some programs. Such elements could inform the United States experience. For instance, U.S. employers told us that while offering phased retirement to specific groups of workers may be challenging because of employment discrimination laws, a union representative in Germany noted that they reached an agreement where employers may set restrictions or caps on participation, such as 3 percent of the workforce, to manage the number of workers in the program. Employers in the U.S. could explore whether using a similar approach, taking into consideration any legal concerns or other practical challenges, could help them to control the number of workers participating in phased retirement programs.
Monday, March 4, 2019
The Law Library Journal has published a comprehensive bibliography on Physician-Aided Dying. Physician-Assisted Death: A Selected Annotated Bibliography, prepared by Alyssa Thurston, who is head of Reference Services at Pepperdine University School of Law Library in Malibu, Calif., provides a comprehensive update on this important topic.
Here is the abstract of the paper. "Physician-assisted death (PAD), which encompasses physician-assisted suicide and physician-administered euthanasia, has long been controversial. However, recent years have seen a trend toward legalizing some form of PAD in the United States and abroad. The author provides an annotated bibliography of sources concerning PAD and the many issues raised by its legalization."
The introduction offers some helpful information for the reader:
¶3 This bibliography compiles selected secondary and primary materials on
PAD. Secondary sources include books, book chapters, law review and law journal
articles, bibliographies, websites, and current awareness materials, and are mostly
limited to publication dates of 2007–2018.10 Many of these materials discuss multiple
issues within the broader topic of PAD, and I have categorized them by subject
based on what I perceive to be their primary themes.
¶4 Most of the included materials focus on the United States, but a number of
sources also discuss other countries, and one section is devoted to international
experiences with PAD. In addition, PAD is often debated alongside other end-oflife
topics, such as withdrawal or refusal of medical treatment,11 palliative care,12
hospice care,13 or the use of advance directives,14 and some of the scholarship listed
in this bibliography concurrently address one or more of these subjects in depth.
Thanks to my colleague, Professor Brooke Bowman, for alerting me to this helpful resource!
Sunday, February 3, 2019
The BBC ran a story recently about elders in Japan committing crimes, to spend time in jail. The elders may be lonely, or may have outlived their savings and can't afford to live independently anymore. Why some Japanese pensioners want to go to jail
[One individual noted in the story] represents a striking trend in Japanese crime. In a remarkably law-abiding society, a rapidly growing proportion of crimes is carried about by over-65s. In 1997 this age group accounted for about one in 20 convictions but 20 years later the figure had grown to more than one in five - a rate that far outstrips the growth of the over-65s as a proportion of the population (though they now make up more than a quarter of the total).
Further, recidivism is an issue with this age group: "2,500 over-65s convicted in 2016, more than a third had more than five previous convictions." The article notes that shoplifting is the most common crime. One researcher "[i]n a paper published in 2016 he calculates that the costs of rent, food and healthcare alone will leave recipients in debt if they have no other income - and that's before they've paid for heating or clothes. In the past it was traditional for children to look after their parents, but in the provinces a lack of economic opportunities has led many younger people to move away, leaving their parents to fend for themselves." The article explains low pensions are part of the issue as well as increasing isolation and loneliness.
Thanks to two of our alums for alerting me to this article.
Monday, January 28, 2019
Elder drivers is a topic I cover in my class every spring, and it's one guaranteed to generate a robust discussion. So a recent story about Prince Phillip allows me to bring in current events to this topic. The Washington Post ran this article, Britain’s Prince Philip, 97, crashed his car. Rescuers say it’s ‘amazing people weren’t seriously injured.’.
Of course, age alone is not an indicator of good or bad driving, but stories like this one allow the students to think about the various issues and how we may as a society address them. Geographic location and financial stability also play into the options available for those who shouldn't (or can't) drive. In our area, public transportation isn't as plentiful as other urban areas. The students, of course, would open up a ride-sharing app on their smart phones and order a car. Elders may not be able to afford to do so, or even know it exists. There are a number of issues that can then arise for those who lose the ability to get places. And of course, we all have an interest in getting unsafe drivers off the road.
I am guessing that Prince Phillip likely has many more transportation options that an average 97 year old in the U.S. Families frequently need to have "the chat" with their elder relative about stopping driving. The Washington Post article addressed that. "So, who might ask Philip to hand over his car keys? 'It will be the Queen, she’ll be the only one who can really tell him...'”
Friday, January 4, 2019
Recent news reports are focusing on the history of Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at the purported age of 122 years and 164 days, a record that is still unsurpassed.
Some are convinced that she was not that old, and the possible motivation for the fraud is interesting. Did a daughter assume the identity of her mother, rather earlier in the history, to avoid paying inheritance taxes? One researcher notes the lack of any evidence of dementia as a clue.
For more, see "Researchers Claim World Record for Longest Life a Case of ID Fraud" from CBS News.
Friday, November 23, 2018
With Thanksgiving 2018 behind us and family on our minds, it seemed timely that the New York Times ran an article about the newest entry into robot caregivers. Meet Zora, the Robot Caregiver explains that this small robot, perhaps "more cute toy than futuristic marvel ... is at the center of an experiment in France to change care for elderly patients." The nursing home using Zora found that residents, with dementia or needing 24 hour care,forrmed emotional attachments to it. A nurse, out of sight of residents, controls the robot via a laptop, giving it commands to speak and do activities such as exercises and games.
The article focuses as well on the shortcomings of any robotic caregivers-that is, they aren't human. Regardless, we all know about the looming caregiver shortage. Will robot caregivers fill that shortage?
The experience at Jouarre provides a window into a future when we will rely more on robots to help care for loved ones as they age.
Zora Bots, the Belgium-based provider of the robot at Jouarre, says it has sold over 1,000 of the robots to health care facilities around the world, including in the United States, Asia and Middle East. It is part of a growing emphasis on robotics focused on care. A robot dog made by Sony has been marketed as a companion for older adults.
France, the article explains faces ongoing and serious issues regarding health care
[H]ospitals have been facing a national crisis, with health care professionals striking and protesting budget cuts and staff shortages. A rise of suicides of nurses and doctors has made national headlines, and France’s health minister acknowledged that the hospital system was “running out of steam.”
The challenge will be creating machines capable of doing more complex jobs. Lifting a patient’s mood with a song is different from providing health care. The French hospital, which bought the robot with the help of a charitable grant, brings out Zora just a few times a month.
In Australia, a hospital using a Zora robot studied the effects on patients and staff. The researchers found that it improved the mood of some patients, and got them more involved in activities, but required significant technical support.
The experience of the French hospital staff has been similar.
However, these robot caregivers are not health care providers-at least not yet. What the research has shown is that the residents can feel emotional bonds with the robots and they can help residents feel happier, or even, as the article notes, confide things in the robots that they won't tell human caregivers.
Monday, October 29, 2018
Law students from Penn State's Dickinson Law attended sessions hosted by LeadingAge and National Continuing Care Residents Association (NaCCRA) on October 28 in Philadelphia. It was my pleasure to share this experience with students. I see these opportunities as a great way to think about the wider world of business and law opportunities, and to consider how law and aging can intersect.
In the morning, we heard from A.V. Powell about best practices for actuarial evaluations to promote greater understanding of financial issues for continuing care and life plan communities across the country. At lunch we met Parker Life's CEO Roberto Muñiz, shown here on the right with Dickinson Law student Mark Lingousky, and discussed Roberto's ongoing projects such as working to established coordinated care options not just in Parker's center of operations in New Jersey, but also in Roberto's family home in Puerto Rico.
After lunch we attended a LeadingAge educational program on "Legal Perspectives on Provider Operational Issues," presented by four attorneys from around the country. Afterwards the students commented that they were surprised by how many of the topics had come up in one of Dickinson Law's unique 1L courses, on Problem Solving and Lawyering Skills. It is great to see such correspondence between real life and law school life. Of particular interest was hearing how residential communities are coping with issues connected to legalization of marijuana, including medical marijuana and so-called recreational marijuana, both from the context of resident use and potential use by employees.
On the drive home from Philadelphia, I had the chance to debrief with the students about what most interested them at the conferences. They quickly said they appreciated the opportunity to talk with engaged seniors about what matters concerned them. Indeed, after the attorneys leading the afternoon program took a quick poll at the outset to ask how many of the members of the audience were attorneys (outside or inside counsel), operational staff, or board members, one student leaned into me and said, "They forgot to ask how many people in the audience were residents or consumers of their services!"
Music to our ears, right Jack Cumming?
October 29, 2018 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Ethical Issues, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, International, Legal Practice/Practice Management, Programs/CLEs, Property Management | Permalink | Comments (1)
Friday, October 26, 2018
My first close look at filial support law in Germany arose in 2015, when I met a German-born, naturalized U.S. citizen living in Pennsylvania who had received a series of demand letters from Germany authorities asking her to submit detailed financial information for the authorities to analyze in order to determine how much she would be compelled to pay towards care for her biological father in German. Her father had become seriously ill and did not have inadequate financial resources of his own. As I've come to learn, the name for Germany's applicable legal theory is elternunterhalt, which translates into English as "parental maintenance."
Since 2015, I've heard from other adult children living in the U.S., but also in Canada and England, about additional cross-border claims originating in Germany. They write in hopes of getting objective information and to share their own stories, which I appreciate. In some instances, such as the first case I saw in Pennsylvania, a statutory defense becomes relevant because of past "serious misconduct" on the part of the indigent parent towards the child. The misconduct has to be more than mere alienation or gaps in communication. Sometimes misconduct such as abuse or neglect is the very reason the child left Germany, searching for a safer place.
Most of the adult children who reach out to me report they had never heard of elternunterhalt. Their years of estrangement are often not just from the parent but from the country of their birth. Even those who still have a relationship with the parent in Germany often learn of the potential support obligation only after their parent is admitted to a nursing home or other form of care. They face unexpected demands for foreign payments, while they are often still looking to fund college for children or their own retirement needs.
National German authorities began to mandate enforcement of elternunterhalt in 2010 in response to increasing public welfare costs for their "boomer" generation of aging citizens. Enforcement seems to have been phased in slowly among the 16 states in the country. I've read news stories from Germany about confusion and anger in entirely domestic cases.
A claim typically begins with letters from a social welfare agency in the area where the needy parent is living. The first letters usually do not state the amount of any requested maintenance payment, but enclose forms that seek detailed, documented information about the "obligated child's" income and certain personal expenses or obligations (such as care for minor children). The authorities also seeks information about any marital property and for income for any spouse of "life partner."
Whether or not the information is supplied, at some point in a wholly domestic German case the social welfare office may initiate a request for a specific amount of back pay as well as current "maintenance." Such a request cannot be enforced unless the child either agrees to pay or a court of law decrees that payment must be made. The latter requires a formal suit to be initiated by the agency and litigated in the family divisions of the German courts. The amount of any compelled payment is determined by a host of factors, including the amount of the parent's pension, savings, and any long-term care insurance, and the child's own financial circumstances.
Cross border cases have been pursued within the EU with some reported results. As for parental maintenance claims presented to U.S. children, enforceability is less clear. According to some of the letters sent by German authorities, Germany takes the position that a German court ruling in a cross border elternunterhalt claim can be enforced in the United States under "international law." The letters do not explain what legal authorities are the basis for such enforcement.
The Hague Convention on International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance was approved by the European Union, thereby affecting Germany, in 2014. The treaty is mostly directed to the mechanics of international child support claims and is built on past international agreements on child support; however the treaty also provides that the Convention shall apply to any contracting state that has declared that it will extend the application "in whole or in part" to "any maintenance obligation arising from a family relationship, parentage, marriage or affinity, including in particular obligations in respect of vulnerable persons." See Article 2(3).
October 26, 2018 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Ethical Issues, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, International, Legal Practice/Practice Management, Property Management, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (1)
Monday, October 1, 2018
The New Yorker has a podcast that offers another take on a topic that we often explore on this Blog: Why do older persons sometimes "fall" for an obvious con job, such as as offshore lotteries or stranded grandchild scams? The wilder the facts, the greater the "obvious" risk, but that doesn't deter some "investors." One daughter is determined to get to the bottom of her deceased father's tragic loss. of his entire life savings. I recently heard the first of a two-part podcast called "The Long-Distance Con" (it aired for the first time 3 days ago) and found it pretty darn interesting. Here's a summary of the first part:
On the day that Maggie Robinson Katz learned that her father had only a few days to live, she also found out that her wealthy family couldn’t pay his hospital bills: his fortune had disappeared. Katz didn’t learn how until several years later, when she began listening to a box of cassette tapes given to her by her stepmother.
The tapes record her father, Terry Robinson, speaking on the phone with a man named Jim Stuckey, a West Virginian based in Manila, about a kind of business proposition. Hidden in jungles and caves in the Philippines, Stuckey said, were huge caches of gold bullion, uncut U.S. currency, and Treasury bonds; if Robinson put up the money to pay the right people, Stuckey could get the treasures out.
It seemed absurd to people around Robinson, and the Treasury Department warns of scams that sound just like this.
But Robinson, a successful retired executive, fell for it hook, line, and sinker. His daughter Maggie struggles to understand why and how, talking with TheNew Yorker’s Maria Konnikova and others.
This is part one of a two-part series. Here is the link to the first, 27 minute podcast.
Friday, September 28, 2018
The Aging, Law and Society Collaborative Research Network (CRN) invites scholars to participate in a multi-event workshop as part of the Law and Society Association Annual Meeting scheduled for Washington D.C. from May 30 through June 2, 2019.
For this workshop, proposals for presentations should be submitted by October 22, 2018.
This year’s workshop will feature themed panels, roundtable discussions, and rapid fire presentations in which participants can share new ideas and research projects.
The CRN encourages paper proposals on a broad range of issues related to law and aging. For this event, organizers especially encourage proposals on the following topics:
- The concept of dignity as it relates to aging
- Interdisciplinary research on aging
- Old age policy, and historical perspectives on old age policy
- Sexual Intimacy in old age and the challenge of “consent” requirements
- Compulsion in care provision
- Disability perspectives on aging, and aging perspectives on disability
- Feminist perspectives on aging
- Approaches to elder law education
In addition to paper proposals, CRN also welcomes:
- Volunteers to serve as panel discussants and as commentators on works-in-progress.
- Ideas and proposals for themed panels, round-tables, or a session around a new book.
If you would like to present a paper as part of a the CRN’s programming, send a 100-250 word abstract, with your name, full contact information, and a paper title to Professor Nina Kohn at Syracuse Law, who, appropriately enough also now holds the title of "Associate Dean of Online Education!"
September 28, 2018 in Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Ethical Issues, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, International, Programs/CLEs, Property Management, Retirement, Science, Social Security, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations, Statistics, Web/Tech, Webinars | Permalink | Comments (0)
Friday, August 31, 2018
Professors Adam Hofri-Winogradow (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and Richard Kaplan (University of Illinois) have an interesting new article, addressing how different countries analyze property transfers to caregivers. They recognize that, broadly speaking, reviewing authorities tend to treat family members differently than they treat professional caregivers when it comes to questions about undue influence or other theories that may invalidate a transfer as unfair. Further, they recognize that policies may differ for live-in caregivers versus hourly helpers. Also, on a comparative basis, countries may differ on how a governmental unit provides employment-based public benefits for home carers, thus perhaps influencing how family members view pre- and post-death gifts to caregivers.
From the abstract:
In this Article, we examine how the United States, Israel, and the United Kingdom approach property transfers to caregivers. The United States authorizes the payment of public benefits to family caregivers only in very restricted situations. The U.K. provides modest public benefits to many family caregivers. Israel incentivizes the employment of non-family caregivers but will pay family caregivers indirectly when assistance from non-relatives is unavailable. All three jurisdictions rely on family caregivers working for free or being compensated by the care recipients. We examine the advantages and disadvantages of several approaches to compensating family caregivers, including bequests from the care recipient, public benefits, tax incentives, private salaries paid by the care recipient, and claims against the recipient's estate. We conclude that while the provision of public benefits to family caregivers clearly needs to be increased, at least in the United States, a model funded exclusively by public money is probably impossible.
For more, read Property Transfers to Caregivers: A Comparative Analysis, published in June by the Iowa Law Review.
Sunday, August 26, 2018
The New York Times reported recently on some innovations in The Netherlands, in Take a Look at These Unusual Strategies for Fighting Dementia. It opens describing a virtual bus ride "simulation that plays out several times a day on three video screens" and moves into explaining that this virtual bus trip "is part of an unorthodox approach to dementia treatment that doctors and caregivers across the Netherlands have been pioneering: harnessing the power of relaxation, childhood memories, sensory aids, soothing music, family structure and other tools to heal, calm and nurture the residents, rather than relying on the old prescription of bed rest, medication and, in some cases, physical restraints." Another recreates a trip to the beach, both of which can spur conversations about previous trips.
The Netherlands has a preference for paying for care in the home rather than in facilities. I've previously blogged about one facility in The Netherlands (De Hogeweyk). In The Netherlands, "facilities, which are privately run but publicly funded, are generally reserved for people in an advanced state of the disease." One component of the Dutch approach is the physical surroundings designed to create a certain era or location. Another is creating small households of residents.
The article is accompanied by a number of great photos of involved residents. I plan to ask my students to discuss whether the Dutch model would work here in the U.S. What do you think?
Monday, July 16, 2018
The National Academies Press has released Future Directions for the Demography of Aging.This volume contains the proceedings of a workshop and the overview explains
Almost 25 years have passed since the Demography of Aging (1994) was published by the National Research Council. Future Directions for the Demography of Aging is, in many ways, the successor to that original volume. The Division of Behavioral and Social Research at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to produce an authoritative guide to new directions in demography of aging. The papers published in this report were originally presented and discussed at a public workshop held in Washington, D.C., August 17-18, 2017.
The workshop discussion made evident that major new advances had been made in the last two decades, but also that new trends and research directions have emerged that call for innovative conceptual, design, and measurement approaches. The report reviews these recent trends and also discusses future directions for research on a range of topics that are central to current research in the demography of aging. Looking back over the past two decades of demography of aging research shows remarkable advances in our understanding of the health and well-being of the older population. Equally exciting is that this report sets the stage for the next two decades of innovative research–a period of rapid growth in the older American population.
Part 1 looks at trends in health and health disparities, Part 2 examines the implications of social and environmental factors, Part 3 covers families and intergenerational issues, Part 4 covers employment and retirement, Part 5 discusses cognitive issues and disability, Part 6 reviews global aging and Part 7 offers new approaches. You can purchase the softcover book here, download a free pdf of the book by clicking here or read the book online.
Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Recently a U.S. reader of some of our "Filial Friday" posts in the the Elder Law Prof Blog inquired about Germany's reinvigorated use of filial support laws. He asked:
"Is an inlaw responsible for adult support in Germany? For example, if an [American] person is married to a German [living in the U.S.], the German doesn't work [in the U.S.] and has no income, will the American spouse's income be garnished to pay for the adult care of the mother in law?"
In reading an English translation of Title 3 provisions of the German Civil Code on "Obligation to Maintain," I find that only a spouse of an indigent or "lineal" relatives are identified as having an obligation to maintain "each other." See Sections 1601 and 1608.
However, when adult children in the U.S. receive requests from Germany authorities, they are often asked to provide detailed financial information, including identification of all marital property in the U.S. Recent German correspondence I reviewed asked the American daughter, "Do you or your spouse/partner in a registered civil partnership hold assets?" The married daughter was then asked to identify the "type of assets, including cash, savings, capital, land or property, and the value." This type of request for financial information seems to arise under Section 1605 of the Civil Code, which provides:
"Where the person with an obligation to maintain lives under the matrimonial property regime of community of property, his obligation to maintain towards relatives is determined as if the marital property belonged to him."
Further, Section 117 of Germany's Social Security Law provides that where the government is providing social welfare benefits, liable family members must "inform the social welfare body of their income and asset situation."
So far, I haven't seen an American child of an indigent German parent "compelled" to pay maintenance, despite German government inquiries and letters suggesting this is possible if family members fail to cooperate voluntarily. I suspect there are instances where the demands for financial information are frightening enough that some Americans agree to provide "some" voluntary support. I'm always interested when Americans receive requests from foreign authorities under this new wave of filial law obligations. The cross-border fact patterns are perfect for my Conflict of Laws course. One of these days, we'll probably see some formal test cases.
Americans aren't the only ones surprised by the vigor with which German authorities are seeking reimbursement for state care costs from relatives. Here's one man's dilemma from 2014, captured in a German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, as translated into English for the Financial Times.
Thursday, June 14, 2018
The Evolution of Email Scammers: Moving from Granny, to Granny's Lawyers and Financial Companies as Their Targets
In my Elder Protection Clinic days, I met with family members of older adults victimized by off-shore scammers. In one notable case, the older mother, normally a savvy woman about her personal finances, had succumbed to the flattery of someone posing as a financial advisor, who offered her various new "investments." He knew just how to work her, appealing to her "business acumen," using internet maps to learn about her neighborhood and thus to make it seem his office was in a building near her bank in a suburb of Pittsburgh. Even after her daughter, with the help of a legitimate financial advisor who caught the unusual activity on the mother's accounts, shut down any easy means of access to her mom, the mother continued to believe the perpetrator was just bad at financial advice, and not totally corrupt.
The elderly mother's judgment on who to trust was impaired, but the impairment was specific and hard to recognize because she otherwise functioned fairly well. The combination of the perpetrator's flattery, his appeal to her once-strong financial skills, and the fact that she was lonely, trapped in her house as her physical strength was waning, all contributed to the success of the scam. It all began with a single email.
A recent announcement by the FBI of a coordinated law enforcement effort to disrupt international scammers reveals how the scamming industry has evolved. The FBI explains:
Operation WireWire—which also included the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of the Treasury, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service—involved a six-month sweep that culminated in over two weeks of intensified law enforcement activity resulting in 74 arrests in the U.S. and overseas, including 42 in the U.S., 29 in Nigeria, and three in Canada, Mauritius, and Poland. The operation also resulted in the seizure of nearly $2.4 million and the disruption and recovery of approximately $14 million in fraudulent wire transfers.
A number of cases charged in this operation involved international criminal organizations that defrauded small- to large-sized businesses, while others involved individual victims who transferred high-dollar amounts or sensitive records in the course of business. The devastating impacts these cases have on victims and victim companies affect not only the individual business but also the global economy. Since the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) began formally keeping track of BEC [business e-mail compromise] and its variant, e-mail account compromise (EAC), there has been a loss of over $3.7 billion reported to the IC3.
BEC, also known as cyber-enabled financial fraud, is a sophisticated scam that often targets employees with access to company finances and trick them—using a variety of methods like social engineering and computer intrusions—into making wire transfers to bank accounts thought to belong to trusted partners but instead belong to accounts controlled by the criminals themselves. And these same criminal organizations that perpetrate BEC schemes also exploit individual victims—often real estate purchasers, the elderly, and others—by convincing them to make wire transfers to bank accounts controlled by the criminals.
Foreign citizens perpetrate many of these schemes, which originated in Nigeria but have spread throughout the world.
Law firms were among the most frequent targets of the scammers, who posed as clients to access funds held in the law firms' trust accounts. For more on the industry, read "It's Time to Stop Laughing at Nigerian Scammers -- Because They're Stealing Billions of Dollars," from the Washington Post.
June 14, 2018 in Cognitive Impairment, Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Ethical Issues, Federal Cases, Federal Statutes/Regulations, International, Property Management | Permalink | Comments (0)