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Guardianships: Professional guardian accused of breaking the law

Many families across Florida have loved ones who need special care. They might be older and unable to fully care for themselves or make their own medical decisions, so the best solution might be to appoint someone to be that person's guardian. Guardianships can be set up using a family member or trusted family friend, or even with someone who provides this service professionally. Though most professional guardians handle their role responsibly, there are times when that is not the case. One woman who works as a professional guardian was recently accused of providing improper care and the legal system is now working to determine if she broke the law.

The woman is accused of filing a "do not resuscitate" order for a client who had not requested one. A "DNR" means that if a person is under medical care, he or she will not receive CPR if his or her heart stops. The family of one of the woman's clients say that they did not know the woman had filed this order with the hospital where the client was receiving medical treatment.

Medicaid planning: Lyft allowed to transport Medicaid recipients

The increased care needs of senior citizens are something that many families have to deal with. It can be difficult to ensure that older people's needs are properly met. Careful consideration of Medicaid planning can mean a huge difference for elders who may not be able to take care of themselves the way that they used to do. Fortunately, there are also modern solutions for these problems. Florida recently passed a law that will allow the rideshare company Lyft to provide Medicaid beneficiaries with transportation.

Lyft will now be allowed to provide nonemergency transportation to Medicaid recipients. Since seniors are frequently in need of transpiration, but not always able to drive themselves, this measure will make a significant difference in their ability to access needed medical care. Senator Jeff Brandes, who sponsored the bill, hopes that it will provide a lower-cost option those who have difficulty paying for both transportation and health care.

Understanding the Federal Gift Tax Annual Exclusion for 2019

Everyone needs to consider how much to leave to their heirs after passing away. Although it seems like a simple transfer of assets, estate planning becomes complicated quickly. There exists a gift tax placed on the transfer of property or money to another person by which the giver receives nothing in return. 

There are exclusions to this rule. You can give up to a certain amount to a loved one and not have to pay taxes on it. A lot of people will not have to worry about paying such taxes unless they plan on giving away an extraordinary amount of money. However, so you stay on the right side of the law, it helps immensely to familiarize yourself with tax annual exclusions

Estate planning: States weighing public options for senior care

As people age, their health care needs often increase, through no fault of their own. Some of those people must move into a nursing home or other long-term care facility. Some states around the country are attempting to create programs that would allow senior citizens to continue to live in their own homes. The thought is that by doing so, states will save money in the long term, by reducing claims made on Medicaid. Florida seniors may want to pay attention to these efforts as a similar program here could have a significant impact on estate planning.

One state has approved a new payroll tax that will fund a benefit program to provide people with in-home health care and other forms of assistance. Another state is employing a similar program, but it will provide weekly benefits, rather than a lump sum, to those who have family caregivers working at least 30 hours outside the home every week. Many other state legislatures are similarly concerned about the care of older Americans, since there will be 98 million adults older than 65 by 2050, double the current number.

Stan Lee's former business manager charged with elder abuse

Older generations have a great deal to teach those who are younger. However, they are also susceptible to abuse from those around them since they often experience changes in their mental and physical abilities due to age. It is imperative that senior citizens here in Florida are protected by a thorough estate plan, including directives for handling medical and end-of-life care. Recently, the business manager for the late Marvel Comics creator, Stan Lee, has been accused of elder abuse. Authorities allege that the manager stole money from Lee and kept him from seeing his family against his will.

Prosecutors charged Lee's former business manager with five counts of elder abuse, alleging theft and false imprisonment of an elder adult along with other charges. They claim that the manager took more than $262,000 from several autograph-signing sessions that Lee conducted back in 2018. They also say that the manager moved Lee into a condominium out of his home in Hollywood in order to have more control and influence over him.

Military divorce rate continues steady decline

The divorce rate for active duty troops has been on a slow decline for 10 years, according to a Rand Corporation researcher. This trend could have an impact on military personnel in Florida. The overall military divorce rate is computed by comparing the number of service members who were married at the beginning of the year with the number who reported getting divorced by the end of the year. The Pentagon maintains data broken down by branch of service, gender and officer or enlisted.

According to the researcher, the most telling way to track the rate overall is to look at male enlisted soldiers, which is the largest subgroup. During the year 2009, the divorce rate among enlisted men was 3.3%. In the 10 years since, the rate has fallen to 2.7%. Among female soldiers, the divorce rate has consistently been higher than among male soldiers. In 2018, 6.3% of female soldiers got divorced, compared with 2.6% of male soldiers.

Elder law can help in protection against heat exhaustion

Hurricane season is fast approaching in Florida and, with it, the threat of power outages. Nursing homes are particularly at risk of issues caused by power outages because of the threat of heat exposure to the elderly residents. Several elderly people died of heat exhaustion following hurricane Irma. State elder law has since mandated that an alternate power source be in place in all assisted living and nursing homes.

The law states that all facilities be in compliance by June of 2018, and that was extended to January 1, 2019. There are still facilities that do not have alternate power in place. The law states that the facilities must have backup generators or other alternate power source that can control the building's temperature for at least 96 hours.

Craft a successful nursing home negligence claim

When your elderly loved ones need special assistance and you turn to professionals to provide that care, you expect a certain level of care. Unfortunately, some caretakers do not meet that standard.

When improper care leads to injury of your loved ones, you may be able to seek justice through a negligence claim. In order to make the claim successful, there are a few key aspects to consider.

Congress considering legislation to improve veterans' benefits

The people who have served as members of the armed forces have done great things for this country. Many civilians feel that the least that can be done to thank them is to ensure that veterans have access to sufficient benefit programs and other resources to sustain their quality of life. Congress recently approved legislation that will benefit certain Navy veterans and improve other programs for all those who have served in the military. Supporters hope that these veterans' benefits will have a positive impact nationwide, not to mention right here in Florida.

The veterans named in one part of the bill are known as "Blue Water" Navy vets. The Congressional Committee Chairman, Mark Takano, says this part of the bill is intended to extend benefits to veterans who have not had them for more than four decades. The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act will give benefits to several thousand veterans who fought during the Vietnam War and were exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange. Studies have linked the poisonous herbicide to many different diseases, including multiple kinds of cancer.

Divorce rates may be linked to financial disparities

Women in Florida are achieving substantial career success far more frequently than in the past, largely as a result of social changes that have advanced women's involvement in the workplace. However, some of the social messages that have inhibited women's achievement may continue to play a role in affecting interpersonal relationships. For example, one study shows that divorce is 33% more likely for couples in which the wife out-earns the husband. Of course, a number of issues that go beyond a disparity in income may contribute to divorce.

Some issues may be faced by all couples in which one spouse earns more than the other. The higher-earning partner may feel more entitled to make decisions about the family's financial future, leaving the lower-earning partner feeling condescended to or excluded. At the same time, men are far less likely to be stay-at-home parents than women. This means that even when the wife is the higher earner, the husband is likely to have an outside income. Some people may feel pressured to stay in bad relationships and avoid divorce because they cannot support themselves financially, but this is less common in marriages where the wife earns more.

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