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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.

Former lawmaker convicted of elder financial abuse

When people get to their retirement years, they are often counting on the savings and assets they have accumulated during their lifetime to pay for whatever they need. Unfortunately, there are those who try to take advantage of these people and victims may not have full cognitive and physical abilities due to their age. There are laws in Florida and elsewhere to protect seniors from elder financial abuse, which is often perpetrated by family members of the older person. However, one recent out-of-state case shows that sometimes elder abuse can come from outside the family as well.

A former state lawmaker was convicted recently on several charges relating to elder financial fraud, including theft and income tax evasion. Authorities say that he took over $3 million from two different women under false pretenses and did not report the money on his income taxes. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and told to pay $750,000 in restitution to the two elderly women. This is on top of money that authorities have already recovered from him, and any forthcoming money that might be recovered.

Bill to protect veterans' benefits with medical marijuana use

Those who serve the nation under a branch of the armed forces deserve the utmost respect and gratitude. One way that the United States does that is by ensuring that veterans have access to medical care and other benefits. In recent years, many states have approved marijuana for medical use. Though some veterans say that medical marijuana helps them cope with post-traumatic stress disorder and other ailments, the fact that it is not legal nationwide raises their concerns as to how it might affect their veterans' benefits. One Florida lawmaker has submitted a bill in Congress that seeks to protect veterans from losing their benefits if they use medical marijuana.

Existing law says that veterans will not lose their benefits if they are utilizing medical marijuana through state programs. The bill presented by Congressman Greg Steube would prevent any future administration from changing that fact. The bill would apply to states that currently legalize marijuana for medical use.

How to prevent financial elder abuse

Though modern technology has brought Florida families together in many ways, it is not without risk. The availability of information online has made everyone more vulnerable, but elderly people may be more susceptible to online scams. Some estimates say that as many as 20 percent of adults over the age of 65 have been affected by financial fraud of some kind. Fortunately, financial experts have several pieces of advice for those who want to avoid becoming a victim of this kind of elder abuse.

First, recognizing common scams can be helpful. Many people have likely noticed the increase in the amount of robocalls that come over the phone -- these are automated voices that often attempt to sell a product to the person on the other end of the line, or provide the individual with information. Some of these calls can be from scammers attempting to steal money from trusting individuals, often including seniors. However, older people can also be targeted for financial abuse by people that they trust. One study says that two-thirds of financial elder fraud cases involve a perpetrator that the senior citizen already knows and trusts.

Existing family relationships a common hurdle in estate planning

Though most people here in Florida prefer not to consider what the end of their lives might look like, it is an important conversation to have. That doesn't mean that it is a comfortable situation to navigate, particularly when one has to explain final wishes to family members who may not approve of one's choices. These potentially-volatile family relationships can be a serious obstacle to proper estate planning, as recent research indicates.

One financial services company conducted a survey of its financial advisors. The results found that an overwhelming majority, 73 percent, of financial advisors said that dealing with the sometimes-difficult dynamics of a family can be the most difficult part of estate planning. Some of them speculate that their clients may have trouble discussing the subject with their families because they are worried of potential arguments that may arise.

Ways to fortify your wishes through your will

A will can be beneficial to various estates, both big and small. In short, it provides a blueprint for distribution of the estate and helps to reduce or eliminate confusion.

If you are looking to develop or revise a will for your estate plan, consider a few important aspects. In fact, some elements can help to fortify your wishes through your will.

Medicaid planning important part of an estate plan

Families in Florida who are affected by Alzheimer's or dementia know just how much work it can be to provide for a disabled family member. However, most families want whatever is best for their loved one and will do what it takes to ensure that they receive proper care. There are several things that experts recommend that families should do when establishing disability or Medicaid planning for someone with dementia.

The primary action to undertake is to assemble certain legal documents that will aid in the care of the patient. A financial power of attorney can designate someone who will handle financial choices for a patient who is unable to do so for him or herself. A medical power of attorney is very similar, except that it is meant for medical decisions. A personal care plan outlines the exact directives to care for someone who is unable to care for him or herself. The personal care plan can guide the person or persons who are designated as the medical and/or financial power of attorneys.

Advance directive makes incapacitated patient's wishes known

When people consider the end of their life, they often think about things like how their personal property will be managed or how they might like their remains to be handled. Many do not realize that those are only part of the picture. Other aspects that Florida families may want to consider involve health-related decisions, such as whether they approve of using life support or who will make decisions for them if they are incapacitated. Experts say that an advance directive is the best way to address these concerns.

An advance directive has multiple parts. It can designate a specific person as a health care power of attorney who can make health-related decisions on behalf of the person specified. The agent can also legally sign documentation for the person he or she represents. The directive can also contain a living will, which can direct medical professionals not to keep a person alive if he or she will remain unconscious and never recover. The living will also can specify certain treatments that the person approves.

Owner of assisted living facility convicted of elder abuse

Older adults are a vulnerable group of people. Their loved ones often worry for their safety and will do whatever is needed to ensure they receive a proper level of care. When Florida families make the choice to put the elder in a nursing home or assisted living facility, they trust that the caregivers will treat the elders with the same level of attention to detail as they would themselves. Sadly, that doesn't always happen, as illustrated by a recent out-of-state trial where one man has been convicted of elder abuse and manslaughter.

The case pertained to the death of a 65 year-old man who was staying at an assisted living facility back in 2014. The man was jogging in the dark 10 miles away from the facility when he was hit and killed by a car. The patient had dementia, and prosecutors argued that the facility should not have accepted him since they were not licensed to care for patients in his condition. The state Attorney General said that the facility placed profit above the man's safety when they accepted him.

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