Saturday, November 2, 2013

Law 101

I'm not a lawyer, but I know this much:

The people are supposed to have constitutionally protected rights and liberties - civil and human - but they are being deprived of those rights in courts across the country responsible for their "best interests."

Those courts are the ones where guardianships and conservatorships are handled - or mishandled?

And that's because the law is NOT clear and unambiguous.
Due process requires notice, opportunity and a fair and impartial hearing.

It isn't working that way in "protective" proceedings all across the country.

Elderly and disabled people who don't know their rights are being sucked into "The Protection Racket," without notice, and then being abused and financially exploited, even if they receive notice.

A NASGA member was victimized by a judge because there was a word missing from the statute:

Here's the statutory language: "The court may schedule the hearing in less than seven (7) days from the date of service on the respondent; provided, that actual notice of the hearing is given to the closest relative and the respondent."

That should be clear enough for most people: provide notice and then hold a hearing. But because there was a word missing from the statute, the judge took advantage of that omission, despite the fact that HE TEACHES LAW!

What's the missing word? "Prior."
"Prior" means "before," as in: You can't take a person's property before he has notice and an opportunity to appear and participate in a hearing.

The law was not terribly unclear - even I understand it: You serve the person FIRST and then you hold a hearing.

Not that judge! He used telephone notice to hold a so-called "hearing" without the victim, after which he had the clerk issue a hearing notice for a future date. By that time, because of an unlawful order by the judge, the victim was no longer in control of his property - control had already been given to a "conservator" - and he could not hire a lawyer!

That judge must have forgotten what he learned in law school. So did the legislators when they amended the law. They left that word out - again!

Dickens said "The law is an ass." No, it's not the law! It's the tricky way the legislators write it!

That's just an example of how due process isn't working in our state courts.

Congress promised to protect the elderly.
Why aren't they doing it?

By a NASGA member.

See: "The Protection Racket" (May 24, 2010)

Cooks, Caregivers Struggled to Aid Abandoned Care Home Patients

Maurice Rowland knew that the closure notice stuck on the front door of his workplace meant the assisted-living residential facility was to be closed Thursday night because of a license revocation.

But why, he wondered, were 19 of the center's 32 residents still there - some with Alzheimer's, others with what he believed to be schizophrenia, all of them hungry and wanting dinner.

Almost all the caregivers had left. The manager and owners were nowhere to be found. Rowland was the cook, hired three months earlier to prepare meals for the residents at Valley Springs Manor in Castro Valley.

"I didn't know what was going on, but I couldn't just leave them there," Rowland said Tuesday from his Hayward home. "We had built a friendship. So I did the best I could."

Over the next 40 hours, Rowland and two caregivers - none of whom had been scheduled to work or asked by management to stay - frantically cooked, cleaned and bathed the residents, gave them their medications, and helped them in and out of their beds and wheelchairs. But they were in over their heads, and there were medication foul-ups. Residents became ill, and Rowland and the caregivers called 911 six or seven times, he said, before emergency responders finally took the last of the residents Saturday.

Full Article and Source:
Cook, Caregivers Struggled to Aid Center's Residents

See Also:
Castro Valley Care Home Patients Abandoned

Friday, November 1, 2013

ABC Action News: Who is William Bercheau?

William Bercheau started our investigation into the professional guardian program in Florida when the ABC Action News I-Team discovered he was placed in an Alzheimer's unit, even though there was strong evidence he didn't belong there. 

 Since then, we've been digging deeper... preparing to reveal what we discovered in a series of stories starting Monday.

William Berchau was born in Lithuania in 1914.

He fled to Germany during Joseph Stalin's rise to power, then immigrated from Germany to the United States to escape Adolph Hitler's regime.

Berchau had a long career as an employee of the Illinois Central Railroad.  He and his wife retired in Clearwater, Fla.

Shortly after her death in 2010, he attempted to sell his house and was soon taken into the Florida Guardian Program.

Patricia Johnson was appointed his professional guardian late that year. He has tried to have her removed on several occasions, to no avail.

Watch the video of William Berchau telling his story in his own words.

See also:
ABC Action News:  Questionable Guardianship Real Estate Transactions

Developmentally Disabled Woman Was Subjected to Years of Mistreatment, Reports Show

Mary Lou Steff was treated no better than the cows and chickens she was told to tend during the day and sleep next to at night in a rickety Springville barn.

Perhaps worse, according to investigators and relatives of the 66-year-old developmentally disabled woman who want to take custody of her.

For more than a decade, Steff lived under the care of her brother and sister-in-law, who abused and neglected the woman, authorities say.

What happened to her reads like a Charles Dickens novel, although the accounts are contained in county reports.  Her brother and sister-in-law slapped her in the face and denied her breakfast to speed up her morning chores, and when they went away, they locked her out of the farmhouse, forcing her to take refuge in a barn a strong wind might knock down, according to the county report and people who saw what was going on. She was not allowed to bathe, see doctors or have her eyeglasses replaced when they broke.

“Mary Lou was able to share the horrific details of her life but was not able to remember when certain things happened,” according to recently completed investigator’s report to Surrogate Court. Others, including witnesses, have filled in the details.

But Mary Lou’s sister-in-law denied that the disabled woman was neglected or mistreated, and in fact said she was treated well.

Full Article and Source:
Developmentally Disabled Woman Was Subjected to Years of Mistreatment, Reports Show

Oklahoma: New Nursing Home Hidden Camera Law Begins Today!

Oklahoma is one of the worst states when it comes to nursing home quality, according to a national study conducted by a nonprofit elder advocacy group.

On its report card, Families for Better Care gave the state an "F" rating.
Proponents of a new law hope hidden cameras will change that. 
Undercover cameras caught two caretakers abusing 96-year-old Eryetha Mayberry at an Oklahoma City nursing home. Police arrested the two women shown in the undercover video -- Caroline Kaseke and Lucy Gakunga.
Kaseke bonded out of jail and has not shown up for court, authorities said. There’s currently a warrant out for her arrest.
The video prompted legislation allowing hidden cameras to be installed in nursing homes statewide.
It was signed by Gov. Mary Fallin in May and goes into effect on Nov. 1.

Full Article and Source:
New Nursing Home Hidden Camera Law Begins Friday

Worldwide Effort Identifies 11 New Alzheimer's Genes

A collaborative worldwide effort resulted in the identification of 11 new Alzheimer's genes -- doubling the potential for medications, U.S. researchers say.

Margaret A. Pericak-Vance, director of the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami, and Lindsay A. Farrer of Boston University, led the analysis teams for the American Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Consortium.

 The international team collected genetic information from 25,500 Alzheimer's disease patients and 49,038 controls from 15 countries to perform this two-stage meta-analysis that resulted in the discovery of 11 new genes in addition to those already known, and the identification of 13 other genes, yet to be validated.  One part of the genome, which plays a role in the immune system and inflammatory response, is associated with multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease, suggesting the diseases might have a common mechanism involved, and potentially a common drug target, the researchers said. 

Worldwide Effort Identifies 11 New Alzheimer's Genes

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Elderly at Risk and Haphazardly Protected

Workers found 82-year-old Vincenzina Pontoni submerged in a deep whirlpool bathtub. She had drowned. Pontoni, a resident of an assisted living facility near Cleveland, wasn’t supposed to be left alone; her care chart stated that facility workers were to stand by while she was bathing “for safety.” But records show she had been unsupervised for at least an hour that day in 2010, with deadly consequences.

State law in Ohio does not require assisted living facilities to alert regulators at the Ohio Department of Health when a resident dies under questionable circumstances, so administrators at Pontoni’s facility never did. While law enforcement did an investigation – ruling the death an accident – the people actually charged with safeguarding seniors in assisted living never so much as visited the facility in response to Pontoni’s death. Indeed, the Department of Health was unaware of how Pontoni died until notified by a reporter investigating assisted living for ProPublica and “Frontline.”

When asked about Pontoni’s death, and whether the Department of Health feared other care issues had been overlooked, Tessie Pollock, a department spokeswoman, said it did not appear that any regulation had been violated by the Cleveland facility. She encouraged the families of residents in the state’s assisted living facilities to be vigilant on behalf of their loved ones.

Ohio’s hands-off approach to regulating assisted living is hardly an aberration.

Over the past two decades, assisted living has undergone a profound transformation. What began as a grassroots movement aimed at creating a humane and innovative alternative to nursing homes has become a multibillion-dollar industry that houses some 750,000 American seniors. Assisted living facilities, at least initially, were meant to provide housing, meals and help to elderly people who could no longer live on their own.

But studies show that increasing numbers of assisted living residents are seriously ill and that many suffer from dementia. The workers entrusted with their care must manage complex medication regimens, safeguard those for whom even walking to the bathroom can be dangerous, and handle people so incapacitated they can be a threat to themselves or others.

Yet an examination by ProPublica and “Frontline” found that, in many states, regulations for assisted living lag far behind this reality.

Full Article and Source:
Elderly at Risk and Haphazardly Protected

See Also:
Life and Death in Assisted Living

State-by-State Key Rules and Regulations Governing Assisted Living Facilities (ALF's)

ProPublica set out to compile the key rules and regulations governing assisted living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This information was gathered from state regulatory agencies, an examination of state codes and other records, and a 2013 review prepared by the National Center for Assisted Living, an industry trade group.

Review State-by-State Key Rules and Regulations Governing Assisted Living

Defendant Refuses to Communicate With His Attorneys; Exploitation Case Still Set for Trial

Defendant Richard Edwards’ actions with regard to refusing to communicate with his attorneys are detrimental to no one but himself, he was told by a judge Tuesday.

Mr. Edwards, 44, is charged with felony exploitation of the elderly. The defendant allegedly took $110,000 from the life savings of a 100-year-old retired teacher.

Circuit Judge Dan Kellogg told the defendant he’d only hurt himself by not talking with the two attorneys.
The judge also heard a motion Tuesday for a continuance filed by Christopher Bowers and Robert Young. The two attorneys have filed repeated motions to withdraw from the case, and Mr. Kellogg has denied them. Mr. Bowers and Mr. Young notified the court Tuesday that prosecutor Ron Holliday had provided additional discovery on Oct. 16.

That information, from testimony given by Donnie Embrey, 46, was the opposite of what their client had told them. Mr. Embrey entered a guilty plea in September to taking about $242,000 from the victim. Both attorneys wanted more time to take depositions from Mr. Embrey and other possible witnesses.
Mr. Bowers notified the court that he’d appealed Mr. Kellogg’s previous ruling, refusing to allow the attorneys to withdraw.
“I doubt the Court of Appeals will address this issue,” Mr. Holliday said.

Full Article and Source:
Exploitation Case Still Set for Trial

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

ABC Action News: Questionable Guardianship Real Estate Transactions

When we started looking at real estate transactions in guardianship cases in Pinellas County, FL, we found some disturbing trends.

We discovered that judges routinely approved the sale of wards' homes (in most cases, their largest asset) without obtaining appraisals from a certified appraiser.

Guardian Patricia Johnson has used fellow Pinellas Park City Council member Richard Butler (who was her campaign manager) to conduct nearly all of the sales of ward's homes since 2010.
Records show Butler has sold 14 of Johnson's ward's homes for a total of $1,252,500.

On Sept. 13, 2013, Richard Butler listed Jennie Shabych's home located at 2863 26th Ave N., St. Petersburg and got a contract on it the same day. Shabych, however, was not incapacitated by the judge's order until September 16th, 2013.

Claudette Batton's home 216 54th St. N., St. Petersburg sold twice on Nov. 8, 2012. The first time, it sold for $52,500, then again for $58,500.

Rebie Jimenez's home at 5965 15th St N., St. Petersburg sold for $85,100 on Oct. 5, 2012 and was resold on Feb. 28, 2013 for $170,000.

Ronald Till's home at 6141 26th Ave N., St. Petersburg sold for $69,000 on Sept. 27, 2012. It was resold for $132,000 on Mar. 22, 2013.

Questionable Guardianship Real Estate Transactions

Arizona Wants a Database to Track People Under Court-Ordered Mental Health Treatment

The Arizona Criminal Justice Commission wants a database to keep track of people who are under court-ordered mental health treatment.

The database known as the Mental-Health Registry is under construction and will be managed by the state Supreme Court, according to the Arizona Capitol Times (

It will tell police officers whether a person exhibiting possible signs of mental illness is undergoing treatment under the supervision of the court or deemed mentally incompetent by a court.

Proposed legislation also would close gaps in laws that prohibit certain people from possessing a firearm, such as those who are under indictment, under guardianship for mental incapacity or found to be mentally incompetent.

The state currently reports people who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, the database used for checking the backgrounds of gun buyers.

However, only about 10 percent of them are reported because of an inadequate digital record-keeping system.

The state doesn't report people who have been determined to be incompetent.

Full Article and Source:
Correction - Mental Health Database Story

Home Health Aid Accused of Exploitation

A Minneapolis woman who provided home health care for a Rochester woman will make her first court appearance Monday after being accused of stealing jewelry and pawning it.

Danielle Marie Johnson, 30, was charged in September in Olmsted County District Court with financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult and theft, both felonies; and pawning the property of another, a misdemeanor.

The alleged victim, a quadriplegic, suffers from lung disease and mental health issues, according to court documents.

Full Article and Source:
Home Health Aid Accused of Exploitation, Theft From Rochester Woman

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Castro Valley care home patients abandoned

Fourteen sick and elderly patients were abandoned at a Castro Valley assisted living facility when the staff apparently walked out Thursday after the state ordered the home closed, Alameda County sheriff's deputies said.

Paramedics called to Valley Manor Residential Care at 17926 Apricot Way on Saturday afternoon found a notice on the door from the state Department of Social Services ordering the site to be closed as of Oct. 24.

Inside, they found the patients, many of them bedridden, attended by only a handful of staff members.

"Thursday came around, and the majority of the staff left and the majority of the patients remained," said sheriff's Sgt. J.D. Nelson.

The staff members who stayed, including a cook, a janitor and what is believed to be a single caretaker, "stayed because they felt bad for the patients," Nelson said. "They weren't getting paid or anything."

The patients all were taken by ambulance to other centers in the county, and none seemed to be suffering additional health problems from their abandonment.

The transport wasn't easy, Nelson added.

"We had people who were bedridden, in wheelchairs, amputees and people with mental problems. It ran the gamut," he said.

Deputies are still trying to determine how many people were at the center when it closed to ensure that none of the patients had wandered off on their own, Nelson said.

As of Saturday night, sheriff's investigators had not been in touch with the center's owners or the state officials responsible for the closure.

"Right now we have a lot more questions than answers," Nelson said. "There's a question of what happens when the state closes a home, whether they send anyone in afterward to see what happened."

The incident is being treated as a criminal case, and the investigation is continuing.

"All we know is that 14 people were left here today that shouldn't have been there by themselves," Nelson said.

Full Article and Source:
Castro Valley care home patients abandoned

Ex-judge Hale agrees to six-month law license suspension

Former Franklin County Environmental Court Judge Harland H. Hale will be suspended from practicing law for six months if the Ohio Supreme Court accepts an agreement he reached with the court’s disciplinary counsel.

The agreement includes an admission by Hale that he committed judicial misconduct by dismissing a speeding ticket in December 2011 for a lawyer who represented him in state and federal lawsuits.

Hale, who sat on the bench for a decade, announced his retirement on May 9, one week after the disciplinary counsel filed a complaint against him over the incident. He said at the time that he would continue his career as a lawyer.

Hale was scheduled for a September hearing before a three-member panel of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, but instead he reached what is known as a “discipline by consent” agreement with the disciplinary counsel.

The panel approved the agreement and recommended it to the full 28-member board. The board considered the agreement on Oct. 11 and recommended it to the Supreme Court.

The agreement and six-month suspension aren’t official without approval by the court. Joseph M. Caligiuri, chief assistant disciplinary counsel, said yesterday that there is no timetable for the court’s decision.

“It’s in a holding pattern now,” he said. “They can accept it or reject it. They can’t modify it.”
Lawyers facing a disciplinary hearing are always encouraged to reach an agreement with the disciplinary counsel, Caligiuri said.

“A minority of the cases result in a consent to discipline,” he said.

Hale and a Cincinnati lawyer who represented him in the case did not return messages yesterday.
The Dispatch reported in April 2012 that Hale had dismissed a speeding ticket in December 2011 for lawyer Patrick M. Quinn, who was representing him in lawsuits related to sexual-harassment complaints.

Hale dismissed the ticket “without any involvement from the prosecutor or Quinn” and signed a judgment that “falsely stated: Prosecutor dismisses,” according to the agreement.

Four months later, he engaged in improper communication regarding the case by separately contacting Quinn and Chief City Prosecutor Lara Baker-Morrish. He asked each to sign an entry indicating that the ticket was dismissed “with the consent of the Columbus city attorney’s office and the defendant.” Baker-Morrish refused.

Hale eventually vacated the dismissal and removed himself from the case. Quinn pleaded guilty and paid a $55 fine and $116 in court costs on the day that Hale withdrew.

Quinn represented Hale in three lawsuits that stemmed from complaints of inappropriate behavior against the judge by a court employee and a defendant in a drunken-driving case. All three cases eventually were settled out of court.

He is the first Franklin County judge to be named in a complaint by the disciplinary counsel since 2005, when then-Domestic Relations Judge Carole Squire was accused of abusing the rights of those who came before her and not following the law. She was defeated for re-election one year later, and the Supreme Court suspended her law license for one year in October 2007.

Full Article and Source:
Ex-judge Hale agrees to six-month law license suspension

See Also:
Ohio Judge Accused of Misconduct for Dismissing His Own Lawyer's Speeding Ticket

Ohio: Judge Accused of Dismissing His Lawyer's Traffic Ticket Quits

Casey Kasem Near Death but Alert, Children Suing Wife Jean for Conservatorship NOT Will and Money

Casey Kasem is near death but alert, according to some statements from sources close to the matter. This announcement comes after his children announce they may be suing his current wife, Jean.
Reports indicate that the children are seeking conservatorship of their father and are not looking to alter his will or get money from the legendary broadcaster.

Kasem, who has made a fortune from his distinctive radio voice and delivery style, is not in good health. The popular top 40 host has Parkinsons and has lost the ability to speak. His agent of 35 years, Don Pitts, told CNN about his client’s health:
"He has Parkinson's, has it very bad. It took his speech, and for somebody who made millions of dollars using his voice--for him to lose that gift, that beautiful instrument--it must be frustrating. But he's handling it very well. His mind is very sharp, his brain works well. You can tell in his eyes he understands everything you're saying. He just has trouble translating it from the brain to his vocal cords."

In an even sadder turn of event, Mr. Kasem’s children have been prevented from seeing their own father. At one point, the kids were camped outside of residence with signs.
The siblings recently spoke to New York Daily News, telling the publication of their intentions moving forward. Kerri Kasem discussed the legal actions they may pursue in order to see their ailing father again:

“We haven't heard anything from her yet. We're giving her a chance to respond privately, and if she doesn't, we're taking legal action. I think we're going to wait until Monday or Tuesday. If she doesn't answer our letters, we'll have to do it in court. We hope it doesn't come to that."
The children want to declare their sister Julie as conservator of Casey. Kerri, who is now 48, discussed why Julie is the logical choice:

"Her forte is working with people in hospice situations. We just want to be sure our dad is being cared for properly. We don't want to be in charge of his money, just his health care."

Full Article and Source:
Casey Kasem Near Death but Alert, Children Suing Wife Jeanfor Conservatorship NOT Will and Money

Monday, October 28, 2013

Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Angela Stokes says she will defend against court complaint recommending she undergo psych exam

Cleveland Municipal Judge Angela Stokes

Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Angela Stokes said she plans to defend herself against a recent complaint filed by the Ohio Supreme Court's Office of Disciplinary Counsel that charges she abuses staff and defendants. The complaint also recommends she undergo a psychiatric exam.

"While the recent complaint filed before the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline of the Ohio Supreme Court contains allegations concerning alleged abuse, I am most troubled by the assertion that I may be suffering from a mental illness which interferes in my ability to serve as a judge," said in a statement released exclusively to the Call & Post, the state's largest black-owned newspaper. "I have never had mental health issues and will vigorously defend, in the appropriate forum, any suggestion along these lines."

Stokes also complains about the Plain Dealer's Monday editorial calling on her to step down.

"While the recent editorial of The Cleveland Plain Dealer cites Disciplinary Counsel's Complaint against me as if it is fact; nothing could be farther from the truth," she said. "I am in the process of formulating my defense with the assistance of counsel, and will indeed provide evidence which places the allegations in context."

The 49-page complaint states that Stokes abuses court resources, abuses lawyers and court staff and defendants who appear before her. The Call & Post did not write a story examining the complaint.
The Plain Dealer has previously documented the same complaints about Stokes and written columns about her, including one that noted the Disciplinary Counsel was tracking her.

Full Article and Source:
Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Angela Stokes says she will defend against court complaint recommending she undergo psych exam

Bill would allow “concerned parties” to petition to detain individuals with mental illness

Family members and concerned parties could get the right to petition county officials to detain individuals with mental illnesses in an emergency if a new bill is approved by the Legislature.

The bill, which received a public hearing Tuesday along with 11 other bills, would not only allow law enforcement officers to take mentally ill individuals into custody but would also allow any “interested parties” to petition for emergency detentions.

The bill would empower families to help individuals who are in imminent danger and gives such parties the opportunity to challenge the county’s decision, bill sponsor Rep. John Jagler, R-Watertown, said. 

Assembly Committee on Health member Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, said she is concerned the bill’s language of “interested parties” is too broad because it could essentially allow any person to file a petition.

Jagler said he intends to clarify the language used, but intends for the interested parties to include family members and attending physicians.

Counties are also required to respond to the party’s request within 24 hours and provide a written response if their request is turned down under the bill. Parties would then be able to petition the court if their request is turned down and a judge could decide whether a temporary hold of the individual is necessary.

Sarah Diedrick-Kasdorf, senior legislative associate for the Wisconsin Counties Association, said it is possible counties would turn down requests because county employees are already working with the individuals but cannot reveal such records because of doctor-patient confidentiality.

Diedrick-Kasdorf said the bill could also likely lead to an increase in emergency detentions because families would have no other option if their request was denied.

Counties would also be required to pay court and attorney fees if their response to a family’s request is reversed by a judge, which would dramatically increase costs for counties, Todd Liebman, corporation counsel for Sauk County, said.

Taylor said she is concerned about the costs for the county, as Dane County already struggles with funding for mental healthcare.

“When I first read this, I thought, ‘This is going to cost a fortune for the counties,’” Taylor said.

Jagler said the payment of fees is a financial safeguard, since the “loser” of the petition, whether it be the family or the county, pays the court costs.

Rep. Pat Strachota, R-West Bend, said there is also a possibility of frivolous suits, such as a husband or wife in a contentious divorce trying to detain their significant other.

“When you’re talking about personal situations where someone is lying out of spite, that would be a felony,” Jagler said of Strachota’s example. “To give false testimony to try to get somebody committed is a felony. If a person tries to go down this avenue to get somebody detained, the court costs would go to the petitioner, but if a judge agrees with the petitioner, the county would pay the court costs.”

Full Article and Source:
Bill would allow “concerned parties” to petition to detain individuals with mental illness

7 Signs Your Aging Parent Needs Financial Help

The Alzheimer's Association says that one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia. If that weren't bad enough, by 2050, the number of people with Alzheimer's is expected to nearly triple.
Unfortunately, it doesn't take an advanced case of Alzheimer's to disrupt one's ability to manage money. The concentration and memory skills required for many financial tasks means that even those in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia may find it impossible to keep their finances on track.
"Early stages (of dementia) involve forgetfulness," says Kelly Thomas, a social worker with the Alpena Regional Medical Center and a nearly 20-year veteran in the field of home care. "By the time they are in the middle stages of dementia, they are already having financial problems."
While it may often be obvious that a confirmed Alzheimer's sufferer needs assistance, even those who haven't been diagnosed with a specific type of dementia may need help with their finances as they age. If you see the following signs around your parents or other older relatives, it may be time to ask what you can do.
1. Overdraft and shut-off notices

If you see notices on the table when you come to visit or your parents complain about mounting bank fees, it could indicate they are no longer able to balance their checkbook or keep track of the due dates for their bills.
2. Growing credits on recurring bills

On the flip side, some individuals with dementia may end up with large credits on their bills. Since they don't remember sending in a payment, they may send in multiple checks each month.
3. An empty bank account at the start of the month

If it is the start of the month and your parents have already burned through their money, they obviously have a money-management problem. If they don't know where the money went, it could also be a sign of dementia.
4. Stacks of unopened mail or items filed in unusual places

When visiting, a stack of unopened mail is a red flag. Adult children should also watch for items stored or filed in curious places. If your parent is filing paperwork in a new or random spot, it that could be a sign they have either forgotten what to do with the paperwork or, for those with early dementia, are compensating for their forgetfulness by trying a new method of organization.
5. Uncharacteristic purchases

If your normally prudent parent suddenly buys a new car, flashy smartphone or other major purchase that doesn't fit their needs or lifestyle, it could be an indication of slipping financial management skills caused by declining cognitive abilities.
6. Increased gambling

Thomas says she often sees gambling problems with seniors who have dementia. They may no longer be able to keep track of how much they have in their checking account or how much they have lost while playing. While spending a day at the casino may be normal behavior for some seniors, a change in habits could signal a bigger problem.
7. Strange mail and phone calls

Nicholas Reister, an attorney with Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge in Grand Rapids, Michigan, says once a senior has started making poor financial choices, scammers can come out of the woodwork.
"Once there is some blood in the water, it seems to trigger all sorts of things," says Reister. "Things looking like charity, things looking like offers to claim large prizes."
Strange mail and an uptick in telephone solicitations may be a sign Mom and Dad are giving their money to the wrong people.

Options for stepping in

According to Reister, there are several ways to take over the finances for an aging parent.
  1. If a trust has been set up, a successor trustee may be able to step in and take over money management.
  2. If a durable power of attorney has been created (one is often drawn up at the same time as a will), the person appointed to that role can take over finances.
  3. If neither a trust nor a durable power of attorney exist, children can petition probate court for a conservator or guardian to be appointed.
Both Thomas and Reister say it's always best to set up these types of arrangements with your parents long before you think there may be a problem. If you wait too long, a parent may no longer be deemed legally competent to create a trust or name a power of attorney. That leaves adult children with the only other option: going to court.
Starting the conversation

Conversations about money can be awkward for adult children and parents alike. Children may want tackle less sensitive topics like health insurance and long-term care preferences before jumping straight into a discussion of day-to-day finances.
When it is time to talk money, Thomas says new estate recovery laws may make some seniors warm up to creating a trust in advance. Some estate recovery laws now require the sale of a house to reimburse the state for Medicaid care. Children can research the laws in their state and use that knowledge to open a discussion. Parents who may otherwise be defensive about discussing money may open up if they know the family house could be in jeopardy, Thomas says.
"Most (seniors') main concern is staying in their house, followed by giving it to their children," she says.
If you see signs that your parents are not managing their money well, Thomas recommends first ruling out other medical issues, such as vision and hearing problems, before assuming they have dementia. In addition, she notes some conditions such as bladder infections can cause symptoms that mimic dementia. A complete physical should be able to rule out other causes of an apparent mental decline.
Finally, Reister cautions adult children to tread lightly when helping their parents. Asking your parents if you can help them open the mail and balance the checkbook can be a respectful way to offer assistance. Hiding their checkbook or even removing it from the house, while a tempting strategy for some, is theft.
"Kids should only take the most minimally intrusive steps needed," says Reister, noting that seniors are still adults and have been for many, many years.
His final word on handling aging parents is one that all adult children may do well to remember: "Protect them with dignity."
The original article can be found at
7 signs your aging parent needs financial help

Full Article and Source:
7 Signs Your Aging Parent Needs Financial Help

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Tonight on T.S. Radio: David Scheid: The Criminals on the Bench

David Sheid joins the show to talk with us about a magistrate in Michigan who had him plucked from his seat in the courtroom, arrested, and hauled two counties away to a court friendly sheriff's department.

Why? You ask?  David had encountered this judge previously over a fraudulent speeding ticktet.  In fact, David had documented the abuse of the court on numerous ocassions.  This same judge recognized David as he sat among other "court watchers".  He had not spoken to anyone.  He had not caused any kind of disturbance.

What was David eventually charged with?  Tune in and find out!  Corruption in our courtroom is never more evident than when court is in session and a black robed criminal is calling the shots.  The law be damned!  These courts have nothing to do with the law, nothing to do with your rights.

Ask any judge in the country......the law is what they say it is, even if they have to lie, or make up a new one on the spot.

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm EST

LISTEN LIVE or listen to the archive later

Culture of Death: Belgium Eyes Child Euthanasia

Since euthanasia was legalized in Belgium in 2002, Belgians have been euthanized for blindness, depression, anorexia nervosa, and a botched sex-change operation.
Now, Belgians want to allow euthanasia for children.
Under legislation currently being debated in the Belgian Parliament, terminally ill or suffering children under 18 could be euthanized if they request it, their parents consent to it, and an expert deems the child capable of understanding their decision.
The bill is widely supported and is expected to become law.
'Kids Never Choose Death'
Supporters of Belgium's proposed euthanasia law say it is necessary and compassionate, but critics say it is only the next phase in what they call "a culture of death."
Euthanasia is now considered medical therapy in Belgium.
Not only do two-thirds of Belgians favor the new euthanasia bill, but in a controversial poll, three quarters said it would be OK for parents to euthanize their sick children without the child's consent.
"The child does not have the maturity to get married or to buy alcohol or to buy cigarettes if he is 14. Now we are saying that because he is suffering, he might have the possibility to ask for euthanasia," Carine Boucher, with the European Center for Bio-ethics in Brussels, said.
Michel De Keukelaere, a law student and the founder of the March for Life in Brussels said, "Children never choose to die. I don't believe a child under 18 who is sick and who is ill wants to die."
"Who will give the suggestion to the child that one of the solutions is euthanasia?" Boucher asked. "A child doesn't know what euthanasia is. A child doesn't know what death is."

Full Article and Source:
Culture of Death: Belgium Eyes Child Euthanasia

ACA palliative care provisions open new door for probate, property rights abuse

Palliative care is a term with which increased numbers of Americans have become familiar since 2009 with the debate and passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Stated simply, it’s medical care administered as a replacement to medical treatment. It’s also key to the “death panels” Obamacare opponents predict.

Following the June 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the new healthcare law, the Center to Advance Palliative Care issued this statement:
The Center to Advance Palliative Care is pleased that the Affordable Care Act, with its aims to expand access to quality healthcare for all Americans, will continue to positively affect healthcare delivery in the United States. With increased access to care, and the development of enhanced quality measures, more seriously ill patients and families will receive the high quality, effective care they need to reduce suffering and live longer, healthier lives. This benefit is of the utmost importance to CAPC and the field of palliative care, as the patients we treat are the sickest, most vulnerable people in our nation’s healthcare system.
A 2009 article, Obamacare: Stimulus for estate abuse?, described how disgruntled family members, wannabe heirs or unscrupulous members of the legal industry will find Obamacare helpful with Involuntary Redistribution of Assets (IRA) actions in which probate venues or instruments like wills, trusts, guardianships and powers of attorney are used to divert assets from intended heirs or beneficiaries. Palliative care was also discussed:
Palliative care, a common end-of-life care component, is defined as any form of medical care or treatment that concentrates on reducing disease symptom severity rather than striving to halt, delay, or reverse progression of the disease itself or provide a cure. The goal is to prevent and relieve suffering and to improve quality of life for people facing serious, complex illness. While used with aggressive treatment, it is also a common alternative for patients who decline prolonged, expensive efforts. Performed under the guise of government-run health care, it’s likely to become a mandated, state-sponsored doping of sick Americans deemed unsuitable for proactive medical treatment. 
Elder financial abuse is frequently termed the crime of the 21st century. Estate looting and other probate abuse often fall into this category. Estate disputes frequently include allegations of undue influence with the role of medication being a common point of contention. If palliative care becomes a major tool in the government’s arsenal of health care cost-cutting measures, predators will seize this opportunity.

These concerns are now bolstered as CNS News reports how the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is “soliciting applications for federal grants worth up to $275,000 to research ways to provide elderly patients with ‘palliative care’ – even in hospital emergency rooms and intensive care units.”
The article explains:
Palliative care is commonly understood to mean medical treatment that focuses on relieving symptoms, including pain, instead of trying to treat or cure the underlying disease. 
But researchers will not be studying the use of palliative care to relieve the suffering of dying patients. “Hospice and end-of-life settings are not included within the scope” of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), the grant notices specifically state. 
Instead, they will be looking at new ways to provide elderly patients with palliative care long before they are at death’s door. 
The palliative care will be provided in “a variety of settings, including ambulatory care, hospitals (and specific sites within hospitals including specialty wards, intensive care units and emergency departments), assisted living facilities, and short- and long-term care facilities.” 
The federal money will be used to “advance [the] science of geriatric palliative care… in settings and at time points earlier in geriatric patients’ diseases or disability trajectories,” according to the grant notices (PA-13-354, 355 & 356). 
One of the grants is categorized under NIH’s R21 Exploratory/Developmental grants, defined on the agency’s website as “novel studies that break new ground or extend previous discoveries toward new directions or applications.”
“Isolate, medicate, steal the estate” is a phrase commonly associated with IRA acts. The medicate phase offers great opportunity for the use of undue influence that can lead to late-in-life and uncharacteristic estate plan changes. Abandoning proactive medical treatments to artificially incapacitate our seniors in the name of “palliative care” will aid unscrupulous individuals in estate hijacking pursuits. Similar concerns can be raised for the disabled or younger people with terminal illness or life-threatening injuries – especially individuals attached to a significant estate as legal settlements can provide.

The Obama administration and other congressional leaders claim this new system will be better for all Americans. The federal government wants us to trust it with a plan forcing a majority of Americans to forfeit a flawed, but functioning health care system in pursuit of a plan that already is driving up insurance costs, failing to attract the young, healthy people on who its premium structure is based and prompting a move of workers to the plan as employers drop increasingly-expensive coverage.

Full Article and Source:
ACA palliative care provisions open new door for probate, property rights abuse