“(Super) Heroes Are Made Not Born!

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OMG!! Stan Lee the MAKER of super heroes died!  As most of us know, he was the creative genius behind most of Marvel’s super heroes, BUT his wife Joanie was the business force behind their successful business.  He left a $70 million estate.

Joanie was the woman behind the man!  She pushed him to break the “perfect man” mold and show super heroes as flawed humans doing the best they could with what they had.  She also handled the business side and no one could get to our super hero without his business partner’s approval. Why?  Because, without Joanie, Lee would have lost tens of millions of dollars because he couldn’t say ‘no’.

Joanie and Stan did what Parent Your Parents advocates – they preplanned! BUT they preplanned for Stan to die first – it never occurred to them that Joanie would predecease Stan.  As a consequence, in the last year of Stan’s life, $1.4 million disappeared from his bank account.  During that time,  he hired several lawyers and accountants to advise him on his money and estate.  All we know is that they took his money, there is no evidence of cogent estate advice.

The National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) studies show that one in nine seniors report financial exploitation, abuse, and neglect annually.  One in twenty adults indicate some form of perceived financial mistreatment.  Older adults are simply more susceptible to being influenced by others.  This means there can be several documents floating around which in turn can create tangled webs in estate planning.  When an estate isn’t clearly delineated, lawyers win.

This is why the Parent Your Parents mantra: PrePlanis so important.  Plan for long term care, plan for incapacitation, plan for estate distribution and PLAN IT ALL TOGETHER.  Whether it’s $70,000 or $70 million find a trusted advisor, draw up the documents and put them in a safety deposit box.  Never assume that one is going to die before the other – accidents happen.

Do this earlier vs. later – it’s so much easier to plan in your sixties and seventies and it allows you to LIVE LIFE  . . . no matter when, where or how you die, your wishes are known!



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Stay Relevant, Smart & Sexy

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The past year the news has often included the failure of the Broward County Sheriff’s department to prevent the bloodletting on Valentine’s Day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. And it should be  . . . these teens have started a movement in the United States.  They’ve become activists and made us all ask — why can’t we keep our schools safe?

September 13th,  2017 fifteen people died at the Hollywood Hills Rehabilitation Center.  Why?  The generator didn’t work after Irma and there was no power.  Twelve of the fourteen deaths were ultimately ruled homicides — a nice world for murder. This past month  an 87 year old man had a $10,000 lien placed on his home because the electrical contractor who had installed his generator failed to obtain the required permit.  (The total fine was $510.00)

This, faithful readers, is why i am passionate about the rights of seniors.  Twelve murders!  All in the care of a state licensed nursing home!?!  All these people died a slow and painful death .  Governor Scott revoked their license but that’s lclosing the barn door after the horses are gone.  There’s no trial date nor media inquiry.

An 87 year old man buys a generator for hurricane protection  (and the generator did just that) is punished by Miami Dade County for the electrical contractor’s $510.00 mistake?!?   The County cannot send someone to the home of a known senior who has never had a lapse in payment of taxes?!?  It was ABC’s Channel 10 News, Leave it to Layron, who fixed the problem for him. Thank you, Layron!

Seniors Aren’t Sexy!   The weatherbeaten, wrinkled faces don’t have the panache of the fresh faced high schoolers whose future lies ahead.  When was the last time we had an in-depth look at how seniors are treated in the United States?  Well, fellow baby boomers —- look in the mirror — yes, we have botox and facelifts but the lines are still coming and so is medicare and ignominy . . . unless we stay relevant!  I say, let’s use the botox and facelifts to remind ourselves that we still have more money, more buying power and want to grow old having fun.  Anyone can be sexy  . . . the Kardashians have proven that! We need to be smart!  Then we can be sexy!

Exercise, Stretch Read the news, Learn to use the internet, Plan your Financial Future and be sure there’s money for a party to celebrate your life!

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Tough Love – Parenting Your Parents

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It’s not easy to parent your parents — it’s not a pleasant role — it means Mom, Dad or both are getting weaker and none of us want to admit the role reversal has begun.

When I consult with clients I hear time and time again — Mom doesn’t want to leave her home, Dad is not going to allow any one else to pay his bills,  There is no need to force anyone — the name of the game is to persuade in an assertive, caring and respectful manner.  For their sakes and yours, embrace the role!

After Mother’s decline into Alzhiemers, my brother and I were thrown into the role reversal with little or no direction.  Here’s what we learned:

Accept Your Role. No one else can do it with your love so embrace it and consider it an honor.  But for them, you wouldn’t’t be here.

Be Assertive.  Yes, at times you will have to tell Mom or Dad (or both) what to do.  Of course Mom doesn’t’t want to move from her home — you have to tell her (gently and politely) that she must.  You explain the reasons, answer her questions and, as she did with you, persuade her that “this’ is the best way.

Pay Attention to the Basics.  Are your parents showering regularly?  Are they having regular meals?  Are they taking their medication on a timely basis?  If not, see above — it’s time to be assertive and decide how best to move them forward.

Insist.  Or, if you prefer, be firm.  When your parents resist keeping on insisting.  “Dad, we have to do this, we’ve gone over it a million times – let’s not fight about it.”  Again, no yelling or shoving – just gently insist.

Prepare all the financial and legal documents.  Taking the helm of your parent’s finances is a daunting but necessary task.  Make yourself, or your sibling, a signer on their checking accounts then have them sign a Power of Attorney for both financial and medical decisions. This must be done before they lose their mental capacity.  If you don’t do this it will be much more difficult and costly when they lose their ability to make decisions.

At the end of the day, here is what you have to remember – when it comes to parenting your parents you have three choices:

  • You care for your parents yourself
  • You hire someone to care for your parents
  • You allow them to enter a Medicaid facility

These alternatives all have pluses and minuses.  Most of the decisions are based on finances and nothing and no-one is perfect so after you’ve been assertive, and insistent forgive yourself – your parents did!

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