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Daughter Has Priority As Guardian Despite Conflicts

FEBRUARY 21, 2000 VOLUME 7, NUMBER 34 Esther L.K., an elderly Wisconsin woman (Wisconsin courts help preserve anonymity by using initials rather than last names), needed a guardian. Her family members assumed they would be appointed, but the court instead appointed a private fiduciary organization, Legal Guardianship Services, Inc. Esther’s daughter Patricia A.M. (with support …

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Premarital Agreement Protects Husband From Wife’s Creditor

FEBRUARY 14, 2000 VOLUME 7, NUMBER 33 Premarital agreements are increasingly common, particularly in second marriages and between older couples. Do agreements between couples really work? A recent Arizona case provides good evidence that premarital agreements really can protect both husband and wife. Christopher and Shelley Schlaefer were married in 1994. They had already signed …

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Despite Dementia Diagnosis, Wyoming Man’s Will Is Valid

FEBRUARY 7, 2000 VOLUME 7, NUMBER 32 Two years before Erwin W. Schlueter died in 1997 at age 85, he had completed his estate planning. He had signed a will, a durable power of attorney for financial matters and a durable power of attorney for health care. When his relatives contested the validity of the …

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Phoenix Leader In Private Fiduciary Industry Goes To Jail

JANUARY 31, 2000 VOLUME 7, NUMBER 31 Arizona, unlike most other states, has a network of professional guardians and conservators to handle the personal and financial affairs of incapacitated adults (and minors). Most of the time, that network serves the community extremely well. Once again, however, the image of Arizona’s professional fiduciary industry has been …

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Expert Testimony Required In Lawsuit Against Nursing Home

JANUARY 24, 2000 VOLUME 7, NUMBER 30 Fred O. Thompson lived in the Embassy Rehabilitation and Care Center in Iowa. While there, he developed serious bedsores, ultimately requiring surgery to repair the damage. After his recovery, he brought suit against the nursing home, alleging negligent care. His complaint was dismissed by the Iowa courts. Mr. …

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Grandparents’ Court-Ordered Visitation Rights Under Review

JANUARY 17, 2000 VOLUME 7, NUMBER 29 Should grandparents have the right to enforced visitation with their grandchildren? Does the U.S. Constitution permit states to impose grandparent visitation on parents? Does state law adequately protect both the interests of families and the well-being of grandchildren? These are the questions posed by the U.S. Supreme Court …

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Prenuptial Pact Prevents Wife’s Claim Against Probate Estate

JANUARY 10, 2000 VOLUME 7, NUMBER 28 Jerry Cantrell lived in Tennessee and owned property there and in Kentucky. Mr. Cantrell was single, but had five adult children from a former marriage. In 1994, he saw Analyn Rojo’s picture in a mail-order bride magazine, and he got in touch with Ms. Rojo. They arranged to …

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Nursing Home Must Disclose Personnel Records, Pay Fine

JANUARY 3, 2000 VOLUME 7, NUMBER 27 Velma Buchanan was a resident of Country Care Nursing Home in La Vernia, Texas. Shortly before her death, she was the victim of a sexual assault. Her assailant was identified as sixteen-year-old Travis Moorhead, an unlicensed nurse’s aide at Country Care. Ms. Buchanan’s sister Charlotte Alexander brought a …

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State Court Declines To Act On Medicare HMO Denial Of Care

DECEMBER 27, 1999 VOLUME 7, NUMBER 26 Gilbert Levy, like many Medicare beneficiaries, was attracted by the promise of HMO coverage for his Medicare benefits. The California man shopped carefully, and only signed up with PacifiCare Health Systems after he was sure that he would be able to choose his own primary care physician, and …

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New Law Penalizes Gifts By SSI Applicants But Permits Trusts

DECEMBER 20, 1999 VOLUME 7, NUMBER 25 On December 14, 1999, President Clinton signed the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999. While most of the new federal legislation deals with foster care programs, it also changes the law and practice regarding so-called “Special Needs” trusts. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, administered by but separate …

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