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Why A 204% Increase In Bankruptcy For Older Americans Is A Bigger Threat Than You May Realize

bankruptcy elder law Sep 10, 2018

As an elder law attorney, I see with much more frequency than most how certain issues related to aging cause financial distress in ways that families never expected...and certainly didn’t prepare for. That being said, even I was surprised to read some findings recently put out by the The Federal Reserve’s survey of consumer finances, via the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, about the drastic increase in bankruptcy filings for older Americans (age 65-74).

This study found that filings by older Americans increased by a whopping 204% in the years between 1991-2014. The reasons why, unfortunately, are not surprising to me - but they may be to you.  


It is very important to understand that these reasons, especially the two outlined below, are ones that can happen to any family - even families that were financially “secure,” or thought they were.  That is why it is so important to understand the root causes of this massive increase - so that we can be...

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8 Days Of Cooking, Drinking From Waterfalls, And Family - Nicole's Summer Iceland Trip

just for fun Aug 30, 2018

There's nothing more satisfying than a job well done...except a vacation from a job well done!

In 8 days we drove 1,363 miles through Iceland in a campervan. I cooked  more these days than I have in the entire last year . We drank from waterfalls and bathed in geothermal pools. We met people from all over the world  and picked up hitchhikers . And most importantly, we spent uninterrupted time together as a family  .

And as you know, at the Family & Aging Law Center - family is at the center of all we do.

A Trip of A Lifetime

At the end of July, I was lucky enough to go on a trip with my husband Marcus and son Marek to the beautiful island nation of Iceland.  While I've been there before, my husband had not ... and either way, it is a trip well worth making more than once.

We decided to do things a little differently this time, and chose to make a campervan trip around the entire island instead of staying in hotels.  The...

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Revocable Living Trust - The Facts

This article regarding revocable living trusts by Michigan lawyer Nicole Wipp and the Family & Aging Law Center PLLC is not, and should not be construed as, legal advice. It is for general informational purposes only. To better understand how this legal concept can be applied to you, consult with an attorney.


The Facts...

A trust is a contract between the Grantor (the person who creates the trust), the Trustee (one who controls the trust) and the beneficiaries (those entitled to benefit from the trust).

You, as Grantor, determine how the trust will be operated by the Trustee and who benefits, how and when. You can create a trust that permits you to be Trustee and give you the right to receive full benefits from it. This type of trust is often used as a substitute to your Will.  

Get Your Questions Answered - Make an Appointment By Calling (248)278-1511, or Attend One Of Our Workshops

A revocable living trust permits you to keep total...

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Don't Stay Thirsty! The Importance of Water Consumption and Aging

just for fun Aug 06, 2018

Summer calls for many ways to stay cool and refreshed, but your #1 source should be from drinking water. Whether you're headed to the lake, fishing, or gardening, it's extremely important that you stay hydrated in the heat. Interested in learning more about the positive benefits that come from H2O? Read on to quench your curiosity!

 Water and Aging

Unfortunately, our bodies means of continuously hydrating us decline with age. Older adults have reduced thirst signals, so it becomes extra important to monitor your H2O intake to be sure you are receiving enough water each day. Since older adults also have lower water reserves, compared to younger people, it makes it even more important to  increase your daily water consumption (and make it a habit!). In addition, older adults are more likely to regularly take medications that increase the risk of dehydration including those to treat heart failure and high blood pressure. Still not convinced? Learn more here!


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The Top 10 Benefits of Comprehensive Powers of Attorney

Whether for medical or for financial reasons, the benefits of a highly detailed, comprehensive power of attorney are numerous. Unfortunately, most powers of attorney are general in nature and can actually cause more problems than they solve. 

Much has been written about financial exploitation of individuals, particularly seniors and other vulnerable people, by people who take advantage of them through undue influence, hidden transactions, identity theft, and the like. Even though exploitation risks exist, there are great benefits to one individual (the principal) privately empowering another person (the agent) to act on the principal's behalf to perform certain financial functions or to make health care decisions when they are needed.


So, what can well written, thoughtful powers of attorney do for you and your family?  Here’s the top ten:

1. Without them, you lose control.  The best time to plan is “when you can.” Powers of attorney are a...

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Avoid Nursing Home Poverty And Spend Down - Jane's Story

Avoid Nursing Home Poverty & Spend Down - Jane's Story

The story below has been changed in order to protect the client's confidentiality, while retaining the truth of the details.  While the Family & Aging Law Center cannot guarantee results, we can say that the results below are typical for our office. 

Video Transcript:

Hi everybody, Attorney Nicole Wipp here with the Family & Aging Law Center.

So, today, I'd love to share with you a story about our client, Jane (*not her real name!). Jane, like so many of our clients, needed nursing home level care. Yet, her family was so scared - because they did not know what to do, just like so many people don't know what to do. They had been being told, "you HAVE to do a spend down, you have to spend down her money to $2,000 before she can receive benefits for care...she can't have two houses (which is what she had). She can only have one house! You've gotta sell one!" All of these things were being told to the...

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...But First Sunscreen!

just for fun Jun 28, 2018


Here comes the sun! Although summertime is filled with fun in the sun, it’s important that you regularly use sunscreen no matter what age, gender, or race you are. Do you know how to protect yourself from the sun’s rays? What are the long-term effects of too much sun? Read more to find out!


Where did sunscreen come from?

It is commonly thought that sun protection has been a priority for centuries. As to who created the first product, there are multiple answers considered to be true. An Australian chemist, Milton Blake; the founder of L’oreal Cosmetics, Eugene Schueller; an Austrian scientist, Franz Greiter; and a Florida physician, Benjamin Green, have all been considered in one group or another as the original creator.

Sun Statistics

  • 0 sunscreens can block 100% of the sun’s rays
  • 90% of visible signs of aging are due to sun damage
  • Up to 80% of the sun’s harmful UV rays can penetrate your skin, even on cloudy days 
  • Most people on...
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just for fun May 31, 2018


WE MADE IT! Yes, it's that time of year again SUMMERTIME! This also means the summer solstice is right around the corner. In North America, the first day of summer arrives on Thursday, June 21, 2018. What a perfect time to shed some light on this breathtaking phenomenon. What is so interesting about the summer solstice, the first day of summer, you ask? Keep reading to find out!


What does “Solstice” mean anyway?

Solstice means “sun-stopping” or “to stand still” in Latin, describing the way the sun often looks on this day. Historically, the summer solstice was an important date that helped farmers know when to plant, grow and harvest crops.

What happens during a Solstice?

The summer solstice results in the longest day, and the shortest night, of the year and occurs when the Northern Hemisphere is tilted more toward the sun. Summers are hot, not because Earth is closer to the sun, but because the tilt of the Earth’s axis...

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What You Need To Know About … Guardianships & Healthcare Powers of Attorney

Part One

When a person has a loved one in rehabilitation or in long term care, understanding how guardianships and powers of attorney really work is essential – even if the loved one is competent to make their own decisions. As clients frequently note to me, it’s what you don’t know that can hurt you.

First, What is a Guardianship?

A guardianship is a court procedure through which a person or organization is given the responsibility to make decisions about the medical care of another individual (but to be clear – only medical, not financial. The financial court proceeding is known as a conservatorship). In order to have a Guardian appointed:

  • A person (the “ward”) must be unable to make informed decisions independently (incompetent) and
  • The guardianship must be necessary to provide continuing care and supervision of the individual.


A Guardianship is Not the Best Solution for Most People – Consider Powers of Attorney Instead


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What Does Being a Mom Mean to YOU?

just for fun Apr 30, 2018

What is motherhood? What does it mean to be a mom?

These questions might be challenging to answer or maybe very simple. With Mother's Day around the corner, I've asked our local moms to answer this question in their own loving words.

This article was written by Victoria, our Relationship Management Director.

Being a "MOM" is the greatest privilege, as I have discovered by talking to so many of these super heroes ; AKA moms! Being a mom means giving birth, adopting children and raising a family. But being a mother is about so much more than that, isn't it? 

There's an immense, overwhelming and beautiful "thing” in the center of motherhood that seems near on impossible to put into words. Moms say it’s a feeling, or sense, not so much as an explanation.  Maybe that "thing" is best called unconditional love. Whatever it may be, I think it's safe to say that this beautiful unique love is deeply felt in a mother/child relationship. I believe all...

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