The Bledsoe Firm - January 2020

FINANCIAL ELDER ABUSE I t ' s a S erious P roblem and H ere ’ s W hat Y ou C an D o A bout it Elder abuse is an issue that’s not often discussed. It’s a subject that’s easy to sweep under the rug. However, over the past several years, the subject of elder abuse, including financial elder abuse, has been making more and more headlines. One high-profile legal battle centered on the late Stan Lee, one of the biggest names behind Marvel Comics. In the years leading up to his death in 2018, Lee was sitting on an estate worth tens of millions of dollars. Lee went public, alleging that an acquaintance and memorabilia collector had made attempts to take over his estate. It was a legal battle that outlived Lee. In May 2019, Lee’s former business manager was charged with five counts of abuse. While Lee did what he could to fight to save his estate from this unsavory business manager, many others aren’t as able or willing. This is particularly true when the family is involved — no one wants to cause rifts in the family. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, upward of 90% of those who take financial advantage of the elderly are known acquaintances, such as family, friends, neighbors, and caretakers. What can you do to protect yourself, your family, and your estate? When you are still of sound mind, that is the best time to plan for power of attorney as well as how to handle health care matters in the future. You want to make everything as clear as possible. For folks with aging parents, be sure to keep in contact with them through regular visits or phone calls. Ask them about their friends and the people they associate with, including caregivers and neighbors. Even look at medical bills. Duplicate medical billing can be a sign someone is attempting to take advantage. On top of everything else, never sign anything that you don’t have a clear understanding of, such as financial documents. Always ask for clarification or have someone you trust go over the details with you to make sure it is truly in your best interest.

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day. I was sure that I was in for a lot of punishment and a bad day. He said, “Come with me."

As we got to the school parking lot, he said, “I want to tell you something. I really appreciate you for helping me out. I’m going to buy you some Adidas shoes. I want you to come on my route with me and help me today.” It wasn’t what I was expecting. First, getting new Adidas shoes was a big deal. Second, I got out of school to spend the day with Dad. And third, I wasn’t in trouble for yelling at my mom. I went on his route with him. We drove a long way that day and had a great time listening to talk radio and talking about various things. We did not get back home until late that evening. Going on this long work route once a month became something I looked forward to doing. Over the years, I learned so much from him. In my next newsletter, I will share more about him and the things he taught me. —John Bledsoe

Inspired by The New York Times

Simple Pancakes From Scratch

Everyone should be able to make pancakes without a boxed mix. This recipe is no-frills fantastic and can probably be made without so much as a trip to the grocery store.

INGREDIENTS

• 2 eggs • 1 3/4 cups milk • Unsalted butter or canola oil, to grease skillet

• 2 cups all-purpose flour • 2 tsp baking powder • 1/4 tsp salt • 1 tbsp sugar, optional

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat a griddle or skillet to medium-low. 2. In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients (including sugar if you like a sweeter pancake). In a separate bowl, beat eggs into milk. Gently stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ones. Mix only until flour is moistened. Clumps are fine. 3. Add some butter or oil to the skillet. If the butter foams or oil shimmers, the temperature is correct. Pour in a pancake of any size, cooking until bubbles form, about 2–4 minutes. 4. Flip and cook other side for 2–4 minutes. Serve warm.

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