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Southeast Florida Summer 2024 Edition – OurSeniors.net Magazine

Hello there any seniors down in Southeast Florida? Yes, we know there are plenty of seniors down in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach! This is why you should check out www.ourseniors.net as the Southeast Florida Summer 2024 Edition for OurSeniors.net Magazine is officially out. Great articles to keep you informed, especially with all the current scams targeting seniors.

Contents

Summer 2024 | Volume 8 | Issue 3

Don’t miss another edition by donating! Visit OurSeniors.org/donate

Disclaimer: The information published in this magazine and our website is intended for residents of the USA. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various authors in this magazine and on this web site do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of OurSeniors.net Magazine or official policies of OurSeniors.net Magazine, OurSeniors Radio, OurSeniors Discounts, OurSeniors.org, Inc. and or its related entities. It may contain general information about medical conditions, public and private health service organizations and other third-party information including but not limited to testimonials. The information is not advice (legal, medical or otherwise) and should not be treated as such. Consult your licensed Professional such as Attorney and or Doctor etc. for further advice. No claim is made as to the accuracy, authenticity or completeness of any information and, is often provided in a generalized or summarized format for brevity. OurSeniors.net Magazine, LLC and or its subsidiaries, does not accept any liability for the information (nor for the use of any information) provided by this magazine and or website. The information presented by this magazine and website is provided on the basis that all viewers undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of the data related to their circumstances. Thank you for reading our magazine and visiting www.OurSeniors.net and please contact us if we can be of further assistance. All real estate advertised in OurSeniors.net is subject to the Federal Fair Housing Act. This federal law makes it illegal to advertise any preference, limitation or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or intention to make any such preferences, limitation, or discrimination. We will not knowingly accept any advertising for real estate which violates the law. All persons are hereby informed that all real estate advertised in OurSeniors.net is available on an equal opportunity basis. Information contained herein has been furnished by community owners, managers and agents. OurSeniors.net and or OurSeniors.online, OurSeniorsDiscounts.net and or OurSeniors.org, Inc. and OurSeniors.net Magazine, LLC do not make any representations as to opinions and facts. All terms and conditions of rentals are subject to change. OurSeniors.net reserves the right to refuse advertising space to anyone deemed unsuitable for placement in this publication. OurSeniors.net, OurSeniors.online, OurSeniorsDiscounts.net and or OurSeniors.org, Inc., and OurSeniors.net Magazine, LLC retains all rights reserved by copyright 2023 OurSeniors.net, and or OurSeniors.net Magazine, LLC. This publication or parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher. For further Disclaimer information please visit www.ourseniors.net and click Disclaimer on the footer of the website. Please note that websites and links are referenced in the magazine, and you may have complete access to our online version by visiting. https://ourseniors.net/editions/.

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To All OurSeniors Readers, Subscribers, Vendors, and Donors,

Helping OurSeniors Help Others

A popular saying tells us that “You get what you pay for.” If you want a good quality product or service, you pay the price. In most cases, that holds true. We all shop for bargains, but when something is free, we are skeptical of it. OurSeniors.Net and OurSeniors.org are exceptions to that rule. They offer the highest quality information and services available, but they are free to use.

How is this possible? One reason is the generous support of our sponsors like MetroHealth Clinics, Culver’s, Red Robin Restaurants and you can see the list of our current Donors here: Ourseniors.org/fundraiser/ Are you ready to Support OurSeniors and be on the list of Donors? When you read our print magazine, Ourseniors.org/about/senior-magazine/, or view it online, please make note of these fine businesses and professional practices. By patronizing them, you are helping OurSeniors to continue its many services and resources free-of-charge.

Those free services include unique programs such as our link with the Seniors Versus Crime Project of the Florida Attorney General. The Seniors Vs Crime Project strives to reduce the victimization of senior citizens who are targeted for specific crimes or scams based on their age. Operating in all 67 Florida counties, the Seniors vs Crime Program comes to the aid of senior fraud victims, helping them recover lost resources.

Seniors go through a variety of hardships as they age. The OurSeniors Team was created to help seniors seeking assistance when in need. We handle logistical complications like finding caretaker services, solving transportation problems, providing pharmaceutical assistance and help with many other problems. OurSeniors is a Free Resource, providing information and directing seniors to our vetted, qualified professionals. We can help find services like asset protection, estate planning, or retirement planning.

OurSeniors.Net provides these services and support through several means. The OurSeniors Lunch and Learn programs provide an opportunity for seniors to meet and socialize in person with their peers while receiving valuable information from professionals in law, medicine and other areas. The Approved Vendor and Pro Team listings give seniors and their families access to dependable professionals and businesses who specialize in providing service to seniors.

OurSeniors.Net Magazine has become recognized as the best senior-oriented publication in Florida. Each quarter, it brings entertainment, news, and encouragement to the senior community. The “Amazing Senior” section features, the accomplishments and life stories of Amazing Seniors of The Greatest Generation. These are true stories of accomplishments, trials, endurance that encourage all of us. Read these stories here: ourseniors.net/editions/amazing-seniors/

All these services are provided free of charge to seniors and their families. Today, if you are reading this letter, you too can make a difference! To continue providing these Free Resources to this growing community, we need your Donation Now! OPERATION Support OurSeniors.org provides an easy opportunity for you to do just that. All contributions go to ensure that our publications and services remain free to the seniors who need them. As a 501 C (3) organization, donations are tax-deductible.

Please go to www.OurSeniors.org/donate to find out more. Seniors love our magazine and other services, but we need your help to continue serving seniors. The increasing costs of producing and distributing OurSeniors.Net Magazine and other services have made this extremely difficult. Your donation now will give you a quarterly magazine mailed to your house, online access, Podcasts, Discounts and Newsletters. Best of all, it will give you a chance to help OurSeniors, the generation that truly made America great. Thank you.

-As always, you as a reader are part of everything that we achieve, and that will never go unnoticed.

OurSeniors.net Team

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Give While Your Live!

Lunch and Learn Flyer Summer 2024
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OurSeniors.org organization announces the launch of Operation Support OurSeniors.org. Operation Support OurSeniors.org is a fundraising campaign intended to help defray the costs associated with the many valuable services these organizations provide. OurSeniors.org is a 501 C (3) charitable organization and has been providing those services without charge for years. These benefits have been an invaluable aid to seniors and their families.
For years, OurSeniors has produced and distributed its printed and online publication, OurSeniors.Net Magazine, free of charge to readers and viewers. Senior readers have found inspiration, entertainment, and helpful practical information in the pages of this fine quarterly publication. Founder and President Julian G. Cantillo states, “OurSeniors mission is and will continue to be to serve OurSeniors, family, friends and caretakers.”

OurSeniors Lunch and Learn Event series has provided seniors with an opportunity to acquire useful and practical knowledge while socializing with peers. This socialization opportunity is an important element of its service to seniors. Along with the OurSeniors visitation program, it is an important part of the services provided to seniors. OurSeniors volunteers visit nursing homes and assisted living facilities in a continuing effort to prevent the feelings of isolation that can damage the physical and mental health of seniors.

One of OurSeniors’ most important activities is the maintenance of its association of vetted businesses and professional service providers. These individuals or organizations agree to adhere to a strict set of standards in dealing with seniors. They provide not only products, but also professional services like legal and medical practice. All these Approved Vendors agree to the OurSeniors Code of Ethics, insuring honest and fair dealings with seniors.
The services provided also include free newsletters, podcasts, and special discounts for readers. The bottom line is that the OurSeniors organization is a 501 C (3) whose purpose is to serve the needs of seniors in any way possible. Because of the increasing costs of providing these services, OurSeniors will not be able to continue free services without outside help.

Operation Support OurSeniors.org is a fund-raising event intended to preserve those free services to seniors. Seniors are the fastest growing demographic in the United States, and they face unmet needs and social challenges. OurSeniors.org is a charitable organization that steps in and fills the gap between seniors’ needs and their resources. Of course, contributions to Operation Support OurSeniors.org are tax deductible. All proceeds go to ensuring that OurSeniors publications and resources are free to the seniors who need them.

That is why we make this appeal. Patrons can help keep OurSeniors a viable, useful and free service to the senior community! Please help us continue this mission. Of course, donations made to 501 C (3) organizations like OurSeniors are tax deductible for the donors. So, give while you live! Go to this website www.ourseniors.org/donate/ or call us at 386-267-6898 to help us help seniors!

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Dr. Stephen Quaning 2 - MetroHealth

“Ask Dr. Q.” gives OurSeniors readers a chance to get expert answers to specific senior-related health questions. Dr. Steven Quaning is Medical Director and Chief Physician at Metro Health, a network of medical practices dedicated to senior care. He is Board Certified in Geriatric Medicine, medical care specifically aimed at seniors.

In our “Ask Dr. Q” feature, readers have an opportunity to get answers to specific senior medical questions. Here are some examples-

Q? How do APRNs benefit patients?

Answer. APRNs (Advanced Practice Registered Nurses) have completed extensive clinical training, making them well-qualified to provide basic medical care. There is a growing shortage of MDs, and these practitioners can fill the gap. Nurse practitioners are often more available than medical doctors, and you can typically get an appointment sooner. They often spend more time with you during your visit. This allows MDs to spend time dealing with more serious medical problems.

Treatment by APRNs gives the patient high-quality, lower cost, and quickly available medical care. MetroHealth is blessed to have a staff that includes both MDs and dedicated nurse practitioners.

Q? How important is better sleep to your health?

Answer. Few things are more important to good health than sleep. Prioritizing good sleep contributes significantly to your overall health and well-being. Insufficient or poor-quality sleep increases the risk of various health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, obesity, and dementia. Older adults still need the same amount of sleep, but unfortunately, sleep quality may decline with age.

This makes it especially important for seniors to maintain good sleep habits. These habits include sticking to a consistent schedule (go to bed and get up at the same time each day.) Create a sleep-friendly environment by keeping your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows. Avoid heavy meals and caffeine before going to bed. Limit nap time to 20 or 30 minutes a day and get sufficient exercise. Try to turn off TV and computer screens an hour before bedtime. The blue spectrum of light from these screens disrupts your day/night balance.

There is room for variance, but most sleep experts say that 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night are needed. If you sleep more or less, or if you are still tired after sleeping, talk to your doctor. He or she can check for conditions like sleep apnea and help get you into a better sleep pattern.

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Disclaimer. The information provided in Ask Dr. Q or on our website is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please note that not all questions submitted may be answered. Always consult your physician or healthcare provider for medical advice. For additional Disclaimer information please visit ourseniors.net/disclaimer/

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Understanding the difference between scams and fraud is quite easy, both are criminal offenses, whilst fraud is the more serious of the two. Many frauds are classified as felonies versus scams, which are typically classified as misdemeanors (https://www.darkowl.com). Further information on scams and frauds can be found in a federal Trade Commission “Glossary of Scams and Legal Terms” report (https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/topics/glossory-scams-legal-terms).

Scam and fraud statistics are staggering indeed, according to a Legal Jobs report on May 20th, 2023, report by Marija Lazic “41 Shocking Scam Statistics to Keep You Safe in 2022”. (https://legaljobs.io.blog.scam-statistics). :The author goes on to list the following alarming statistics:
In the US, one in 10 adults will fall victim to a scam or fraud every year.
Around 50% of people contacted by scammers engage with them.
38% of people contacted by debt collection fraudsters engage with them, and 12% lost money.
85% of doorstep scam victims are seniors over 65 years of age.
One in ten profiles on free dating sites is a scam. Oftentimes, fraudsters are looking for money. The report goes on to mention that percentages are lower on paid sites.
Over a quarter of shoppers are victims of online shopping scam/fraud attempts on Black Friday.
Americans are more likely to be victims of ID theft than any other nationality.
One in five scam complaints come from someone over 65 years of age.

Further information regarding this report can be found at https://legaljobs.lo/blog/scam-statistics/).

What is the definition of Scam?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a scam is defined as a dishonest plan for making money or getting an advantage, especially one that involves tricking people (https://www.dictionary.cambridge.org).

What is the definition of fraud?

Investopedia defines fraud as an act of intentional deception designed to exploit a victim (https://www.investopedia.com).

What is the definition of misrepresentation?

According to the Legal Information Institute, a misrepresentation is a false or misleading statement or a material omission which renders other statements misleading, with an intent to deceive (https://www.law.cornell.edu.wex).

What is the definition of phishing?

According to Merriam-Webster phishing is the practice of tricking internet users via deceptive e-mail messages into revealing personal or confidential information which can be used illicitly (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary).

What is the definition of smishing?

According to Forbes, Smishing, derived from “SMS” and “phishing,” is a type of cybercrime that uses deceptive text messages to manipulate victims into divulging sensitive personal information such as bank account details, credit card numbers and login credentials (https://www.forbes.com).

What is the definition of Vishing?

Vishing, short for voice phishing, refers to fraudulent phone calls or voice messages designed to trick victims into providing sensitive information, like login credentials, credit card numbers, or bank details (https://www.cisco.com).

Scam/Fraud Prevention Tips
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1. There are many public and private corporate websites offering fraud/scam prevention information. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) (https://bbb.org/all/scam-prevention), in addition to offering scam/fraud prevention tips also offers some quite unique services including:
A risk calculator to help determine individual scam type exposure,
An internal search engine to help find previous BBB scam reports,
An extensive library of scam prevention resources,
A test your knowledge quiz to see if you can spot con job activity,
A scam alert sign-up feature to stay one step ahead of scammers.

2. USA.Gov the official website of the United States Government offers information on where to report scams, and specialized information on identity theft scams, imposter scams, and unemployment scams (https://www.usa.gov/scams-andfraud).

3. Moody’s Analytics offers a treasure-trove of fraud/scam prevention strategies to help in fighting and winning the never-ending war on financial fraud (https://www.moodys.com).

4. AARP has a unique website (https://www.aarp.org.scam-fraud.into-2023.glo), offering:
An extensive fraud resource database,
A look-up engine to find dozens of tips on how to recognize and avoid scams – including videos,
A tracker to help ascertain frauds being committed in your area,
Fraud/scam updates
Fraud/scam prevention webinars and tele-town halls
Connection to AARPs “Fraud Watch Network” on Facebook and Twitter.

5. The United States Postal Inspection Service website (https://usps.gov/tips-prevention) offers several special features to help in the war on fraud. These features include:
Cybercrime tips
Identity theft tips
Mail fraud prevention tips
Child safety tips
Mail and package theft tips
Suspicious mail handling tips
Financial fraud tips

Conclusion

Fraud/scam prevention is not rocket-science. The way to turn a flicker into a flame and become a soldier in the war on criminality is to put the peddle to the metal and follow the age-old adage “scam prevention soars on the wings of knowledge”. Following some and/or all the suggestions offered herein will help to put the wind beneath your wings so you can soar far above the scammer’s deadly reach!

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Since its beginning in 2006, the Medicare Part D prescription drug plan has played a crucial role in providing Rx drug coverage to millions of Medicare beneficiaries. This plan is designed to help Medicare beneficiaries pay for self-administered prescription drugs, that is medicines you keep at home and take on your own.

Medicare beneficiaries can participate in Part D through either a stand-alone prescription drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug benefits. Through Part D, Medicare finances more than one-third of retail prescription drug spending in the United States. Part D has been a great benefit to seniors, but it has also had “gaps” in coverage.

The most famous of these was the “donut hole” in Rx drug coverage that existed in the original law. The donut hole was a gap in coverage that began when the deductible amount was paid and the “initial coverage period” reached a certain level. The senior then entered the “donut hole” in which there was no coverage at all. This lasted until drug spending reached a “catastrophic” level, at which point Part D resumed coverage.

The donut hole was a disaster for some seniors. It meant that suddenly, they were responsible for 100% of the cost of prescription medicines. While in the coverage gap, beneficiaries might delay filling prescriptions or skip doses due to the high costs. Some beneficiaries had to choose between essential drugs and other necessities.

Fortunately, the Affordable Care Act (the ACA or “Obamacare”) started to correct this situation. The size of the donut hole contracted yearly until it disappeared in 2020. There remains a coverage gap period, during which seniors pay 25% of the negotiated price of covered drugs. This is a great improvement over the 100% previously charged, but it can still amount to a financial burden to many seniors. Studies show that on average, seniors pay $3500 out of pocket before they qualify for catastrophic coverage. In 2025, the maximum out-of-pocket costs will be further reduced. Next year, individuals will pay no more than $2,000 out-of-pocket for the entire year.

This subject is complicated by the fact that there are variations in the Part D and Advantage Plans offered by individual private insurance companies. However, all Medicare Rx plans have 4 “coverage periods.” They are-

Deductible period, during which you will pay the full negotiated price for your covered prescription drugs. Once you have met the deductible, the plan will begin to cover the cost of your drugs. While deductibles can vary from plan to plan, no plan’s deductible can be higher than $545 in 2024, and some plans have no deductible.

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Initial coverage period, during which your plan will help pay for your covered prescription drugs. Your plan will pay some of the cost, and you will pay a copayment or coinsurance. How long you stay in the initial coverage period depends on your drug costs and your plan’s benefit structure. For most plans in 2024, the initial coverage period ends after you and your plan have accumulated $5,030 in total drug costs.

Coverage gap period, during which you will be responsible for 25% of the cost of your drugs. In the past, you were responsible for a higher percentage of the cost of your drugs (up to 100%.) Although the donut hole has closed, you may still see a difference in cost between the initial coverage period and the donut hole. For example, if a drug’s total cost is $100 and you pay your plan’s $20 copay during the initial coverage period, you will be responsible for paying $25 (25% of $100) during the coverage gap.

Catastrophic coverage, during which you pay nothing for the remainder of the year. In all Part D plans, you enter catastrophic coverage after you and your plan reach $8,000 in costs for covered drugs. During this period, you owe no cost-sharing for the cost of your covered drugs for the remainder of the year.

OurSeniors.Net strives to be your go to source for senior news and useful information. Closing the donut hole and shrinking the out-of-pocket costs under Part D is certainly good news. Thanks for reading our blog and keeping up with OurSeniors Radio, which you can watch and listen to on www.ourseniors.net and iTunes, Spotify, The Podcast App, Apple Podcasts, Pocket Casts, Overcast, and many other podcast services. It was created with seniors in mind, so don’t miss it. You can also subscribe to our channel on YouTube at OurSeniors.Net Radio.

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People who go into medicine are generally motivated to help others. For the doctors and corpsmen of the U.S. Navy and Marines, this can be especially true. Often, they find themselves in dramatic situations where their aid can literally make the difference between life and death. During his 46 years of Navy service, Ben Newman was in several of those circumstances.

As a young man, Ben sometimes visited the Navy Yard in his native Philadelphia. Seeing those ships made him want to be a part of the team, and in 1962 he enlisted in the Navy as a medical student. Each summer, he spent 45 days on active duty as a medical officer in the Philadelphia Navy Hospital. After graduation, he joined Destroyer Squadron 2 on active duty and was soon on his way to Dong Ha Vietnam. It was the northernmost city in South Viet Nam, a focus of combat activity, and a rude awakening for a young doctor.

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Nothing in his training had prepared Dr. Newman for this experience. He saw wounds from combat that would never be encountered in civilian practice. Early in his tour of duty, a young Marine who had stepped on a land mine arrived at the hospital. His foot, still in a boot, was held to his leg by just a piece of flesh. The attending doctor took it in hand, severed it with a knife, and threw it into a paper box.

Remembering the experience, Dr. Newman commented, “You are never the same after seeing something like that or someone dying. As the most junior guy there, I sometimes had to assign corpsmen to go out in the field with Marines. That was the worst job in the world because these guys might not come back. And a lot of them didn’t. You don’t forget that. I have a son who was a corpsman, and I am so proud.”

He quickly learned to respect and depend on the corpsmen at Dong Ha. Encountering combat, most people instinctively try to escape, but corpsmen run towards it. It is their job to be there when most needed, and many wounded soldiers owe their lives to these brave and skilled people.

In Dong Ha, his quarters were in a bunker, he ate only combat rations, and slept with his boots on, keeping one eye open for fear of being attacked during the night. He saw about 60 casualties every day. Duty hours were “as many hours as the job took.” Returning to the United States, Dr. Newman served stateside in Norfolk, VA at the Navy Clinic for one year.

Later, Ben separated from active duty but remained in the Navy Reserve. He opened a very successful private practice in Altamonte Springs, FL where he stayed for several years. He became associated with central Florida EMS and Emergency Rescue services, became a very competent helicopter pilot, and even got a commercial pilot’s license for fixed wing aircraft.

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During that “quiet time,” he was called back to active duty in 1991 to participate in Operation Desert Storm, where he spent three months as the General Medical Officer for the Marines in Egypt and Kuwait. The oil fires were so thick that you could not see the sun. Many wounded Marines were treated in the field under the threat of Scud missile attack. The nights were bitterly cold, and the days were scorching hot.

That was a short duty tour, but in 1998 he left his Family Medicine Practice and returned to active duty, serving as the Senior Medical Officer with Navy Security Group Activity at Winter Harbor, Maine and then as Senior Medical Officer on the USS Bataan. Just hours after the September 11 attack, the Bataan deployed to the middle east to take part in Operation Enduring Freedom.

Following a seven-month deployment aboard the Bataan, Dr. Newman returned to the Portsmouth Navy Hospital and soon assumed the position of the Second Fleet Surgeon. He was responsible for overseeing the medical departments of approximately 126 ships and aircraft carriers. In 2007 he retired from the Navy, ushered out with a ceremony that included the Navy Marching Band. But his service was not quite over. On the day of his retirement party, he received a call from the Pentagon asking him to run the Navy Safe Harbor Program (later the Wounded Warriors Program) in Washington. In 2008, he had his second retirement after a lifetime of service to his country, the Navy and the countless soldiers and sailors he had helped.

This life story should inspire Americans young and old. Ben Newman could have spent his career in a safe, comfortable private medical practice. Instead, he chose a path that placed him in spots most of us would avoid. He was often deployed away from family for long periods and at considerable danger to himself. He goes out of his way to praise the skill, devotion, and courage of his corpsmen and fellow doctors.

After a 46-year career, CAPT Benjamin Newman, MD truly deserves the title, “Amazing Senior!” Thank you for your service, CAPT Newman.

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The number one concern of most clients that I meet with for estate planning is how they can avoid probate. Either they or someone they know had to go through the probate process when a loved one died, and it was a complete nightmare. It cost too much. It took too much time. Now everyone in the family is fighting with everyone else. Any number of things can, and sometimes do, go wrong, and there are many ways to avoid the need for a probate to minimize those risks. But there also some situations where a probate proceeding can be a good thing.

The most common way for a married couple to avoid probate is to own everything jointly. At the first spouse’s death all the assets automatically pass to the survivor without the need for probate. Some filings are still needed to remove the deceased spouse’s name from the homestead or other real estate assets, but those are minimal. Of course, joint ownership only works for avoiding probate at the first death. Probate may still be necessary at the survivor’s death unless further steps are taken.

Avoiding probate in many cases depends on the assets in the estate. Personal property, including cars, can pass without probate if there is a will disposing of such assets. Other assets, like a savings or checking account, can pass without probate if there is a ‘pay on death’ designation for the account. Investment accounts, like stock brokerage accounts, can similarly pass with a ‘transfer on death’ designation. Still other assets, like life insurance or retirement accounts, allow for a beneficiary or series of beneficiaries to be named. Without a beneficiary designation named for these kinds of financial assets a probate proceeding will be necessary to determine who the new owner is.

The ultimate weapon in avoiding probate, of course, is a trust; in estate planning the most common trust is a revocable or living trust. Assets placed in a trust during the grantor’s lifetime are not subject to probate at the grantor’s death, but instead pass according to the terms of the trust, either outright to the beneficiaries or in further trust for their benefit. If the trust is not funded during the grantor’s lifetime, or if other funding arrangements are not made, then probate will be needed to move assets to the trust when the grantor passes.

senior print magazine

Trusts are most useful when other probate-avoidance strategies will not suffice, such as when the estate consists of a business or multiple real estate investments. Trusts are especially useful if the client owns real property outside of Florida. Without the trust, probate both in Florida and the other state may well be needed.

All this begs the question: when, if ever, should the client not avoid probate?

One of the key benefits of probate is that it settles who the creditors of the estate are and makes arrangements for paying them so that the beneficiaries of the estate don’t have to worry about them. In most cases, known or potential creditors have 90 days to file a claim against the estate once they’ve been notified of the probate. Without a probate proceeding, creditors have up to 2 years to file a lawsuit to recover debts owed by a decedent.

On a related note, probate may be necessary to get a ‘homestead order.’ This order determines that the decedent’s residence was his or her Florida homestead which means it is exempt from any and all creditors except a mortgage or lien holder, or the IRS. This includes Medicaid, so if the decedent spent significant time in a long-term care facility that Medicaid paid for, the agency cannot then force the decedent’s qualified heirs to sell the property to repay those benefits.

An experienced estate planning and estate administration attorney can help you determine whether and how to set up your estate to avoid probate and, when the time comes, can help your family navigate the necessary procedures to settle the estate when you pass. As always, talk to your professional advisors to determine your specific needs.

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Have you ever thought about the happiness you bring to other people? One of the traits of happy, successful people is the habit of reaching out to others, working together to accomplish good things. During our working years, this is a natural part of most jobs. At home, we have children to raise and family responsibilities to meet. Meeting these work and family responsibilities gives us a sense of purpose, of being needed.

But what happens when we retire, when the children are on their own, when we no longer have those responsibilities to meet? This is one of life’s “inflection points.” It signals an important challenge and a great opportunity. There is nothing wrong with taking that well-earned travel adventure or spending time on leisure activities. However, the novelty of these things can grow old, and they do not provide real purpose and meaning.

Staying active in your community can fill this void. Volunteering to help local causes helps not just the community, but the senior volunteer as well. Many organizations like Meals on Wheels, church groups, or OurSenior.org a registered 501 C (3) could not function if it were not for volunteers. In the United States, older adults tend to devote more hours to volunteer activities than middle-aged and younger adults. By doing so, these seniors enrich their lives in many ways, both personally and for the greater good. Here are some of the key benefits-

Social connection and belonging: Maintaining social connections and a sense of belonging is crucial for seniors’ emotional well-being. Retiring often means breaking old social connections. Community activities are a fantastic way to meet new people who share your interests. Volunteering alongside others or participating in community events can foster a sense of belonging and social connection, which can be especially helpful if you’re new to an area (think Florida) or feeling isolated.

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Improved mental and physical health: Studies have shown that community involvement can boost your mental and physical well-being. Helping others can reduce stress, combat depression, and give you a sense of purpose. You may also find that physical activities like volunteering at a park cleanup or community garden provide exercise benefits. Being part of social activities and interactions provides mental stimulation. Problem solving, and learning new things helps preserve cognitive function. Seniors who stay mentally engaged through community involvement may experience better memory retention and cognitive abilities.

Increased sense of purpose: Retiring and seeing your children off should not mean that your life no longer has direction and purpose. Giving back to your community and helping those in need can be a powerful way to feel like you’re making a positive difference in the world. This sense of purpose can be very satisfying.

Development of new skills: Community activities often provide opportunities to learn and develop new skills. Participating in a community theater production could hone your acting or public speaking skills, volunteering at Meals on Wheels might teach you about food service. Organizations like Habitat for Humanity may even teach basic trade skills like carpentry or masonry.

Greater understanding of your community: Getting involved in local activities gives you a deeper understanding of the needs and challenges faced by your community. This can help you become a more informed and engaged citizen.

OurSeniors.Net always strives to be your go-to resource to fill senior needs of all kinds. We would like to publish a guide to local community involvement organizations for each of the towns and cities we serve. Unfortunately, the large geography we serve makes this impossible in a small space. Instead, we suggest that you check out Florida’s Volunteer Services Department. This agency promotes volunteerism as a solution to critical, community-wide needs in Florida. They establish initiatives and support public and private efforts to encourage Floridians to serve. Check them out by clicking here- https://www.volunteerflorida.org/volunteer-services/. These are just some of the many benefits of community involvement. If you’re looking for ways to connect with others, improve your well-being, and make a positive impact, consider getting active in your community!

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