Most of us feel quite relieved when we get our estate planning done, particularly when it comes to naming someone to make decisions for us when we cannot (health care proxy) or providing advance directives concerning our last illness or injury (often referred to as a living will).
The American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging has developed a smartphone app that allows users to store and distribute their living will or health care proxy. The app is called “My Health Care Wishes.”
How Does It Work?
The app makes advance directives easily accessible when they are actually needed. The app enables individuals, and their family members to store their own, and each other’s documents and important medical histories on their smartphones. There can be a struggle to find needed information when a parent has a medical emergency and children are often scattered around the country, as is often the case. Distributing the information to each child’s phone would allow quick access to the information and any person with the information could email the information to the medical provider who needs it in real time, saving valuable time in the event of a crisis.
What Else Do I Need To Know?
Advance directives, such as a Living Will or Health Care Power of Attorney, legally authorize another person to make health care decisions if an individual loses the ability to make his own decisions. It is important for everyone to create and sign these directives and to be certain that their appointed agents know where to find the documents when needed. More info about the app can be found at www.myhealthcarewishes.org.
Questions? Contact us for more information.
For a loved one after death to become a victim of identity theft is the last thing any of us would ever expect to happen. Unfortunately it is a regular occurrence. There are some very important steps we all can take to prevent this from happening:
- Do not include the birth date, last address or most recent job in the deceased loved one’s obituary.
- Make sure someone is in the deceased loved one’s home during the published visitation and funeral times, to prevent a burglary/ theft of documents with sensitive personal information.
- Make sure each of the credit reporting bureaus gets a copy of the death certificate and ask each to add a “deceased alert,” which will freeze the credit file.
Equifax: PO Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374
Experian: PO Box 9701, Allen, TX 75013
TransUnion: PO Box 2000, Chester, PA 19022
- About one month after the loved one’s death, review your loved one’s credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com to ensure there is no suspicious activity. You may want to do this once a month for one year after the death since it takes that long for an account with a deceased notation to be removed from a credit report.
- Make sure that your funeral director has notified Social Security about the death of your loved one. You may also want to advise the IRS by calling 800-829-1040 to prevent someone from filing a tax return and claiming a refund in the name of the deceased loved one.
- Be sure to keep copies of any documentation you provide to these agencies, just in case a follow-up is needed
IDENTITY AND FINANCIAL ABUSE OF SENIORS IS ON THE RISE!
Unwary seniors are increasingly victimized by others regarding their identity and financial assets.
This often occurs when a credit or ATM/Debit card is lost or stolen. Seniors often delay reporting any missing or stolen credit or ATM/Debit cards. These events should be reported immediately to prevent substantial financial loss.
When a credit card is involved you can report the problem before any charges are actually paid and dispute any improper charges posted against the card. With an ATM/Debit card the theft/loss event becomes much more serious. The general rules for ATM/Debit cards are as follows and may vary by card provider:
- If ATM/debit card is reported lost/missing before being used again then no loss; $0
- Within 2 business days after lost/missing, loss is limited to $50
- More than 2 days after lost/missing, loss is limited to $500
- More than 60 days after lost/missing, unlimited liability (whatever is in the bank account and possibly linked accounts)
- The best way to limit risk of loss is to confine the use of it as an ATM/debit card as much as possible, or use it exclusively as a credit card instead. Many credit cards have applications that will alert to charges almost instantly.
- Questions? Contact us today for a consultation.