The NAELA Bulletin (9-21-10), reports that some are advocating for a separate
poverty index for seniors. While at first blush this might seem like a good idea (for example, seniors
have more medical expense), this could also lead to every other group (minorities, people living in
poor neighborhoods, handicapped people, etc.), also wanting their “own” index, not to mention an
index for different classes of seniors (healthy, minority, cancer survivors, etc).
The NAELA Bulletin (9-21-10), also reports that the administration is proposing a
crackdown on fraudulent claims for medicare reimbursement by providers who bill for services that
were never provided in the first place. Medicare fraud is estimated to costs taxpayers $55 billion per
year, and has also been a feature story on 60 Minutes.
Parts of the new health care law have already gone into effect. Parents can now keep
adult children on their policies until the child reaches 26, tax credits are given to small employers
who provide health care benefits to their employees and Medicare will provide a $250 rebate to
seniors who reach the Part D coverage gap. A better and more effective health care system is
necessary because a) nearly 50% of all adults have a chronic health conditions (AARP, 1-2010), and
b) health care expenses are currently projected to consume 20% of the economy by 2019.
Medical News Today reported in 2005 that obesity at midlife increases the risk of
Alzheimer’s later in life.
The Veteran’s Administration is easing rules regarding Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder, according to the New York Times (7-7-2010).
As always, I remind you that if I have done a trust for you, you should contact me
every five years or when there is a major life event. Remember, if you take your house out of the
trust to refinance your mortgage, be sure the house is put back into the trust when the refinance is
completed. And, ALWAYS be on the lookout for identity theft and guard your personal information
As promised, this year I planted 13 more trees to offset my carbon footprint, for a
total of 52 trees to date. I also donate to public television, public radio, the American Society of
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Doctors Without Borders and the Natural Resources Defense
Counsel. I do this with a broader interpretation of “estate” in mind, to include not just the money
I leave behind but trying to leave the world a little bit better, too.
If your Advance Health Care Directive or Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care was done years earlier, before the law was changed, and you do not have a HIPAA release form attached to it, you should contact me to get a HIPAA release form.
If you have a legal problem outside of my areas of practice, (wills and trusts, trust
administration, powers of attorney, conservatorships, probate, social security disability, occasional
personal injury matters, and, now expanded to include basic income tax preparation and basic,
conservative investment advice), please feel free to call for a referral to another attorney who can
possibly assist you.
TWO SPECIAL NOTICES:
1) Although I completed the Professional Designation in Personal Financial Planning
program at UCLA in 1996, I have not formally used this training in my practice. I am currently
taking the HR Block Income Tax class as a review. In 2011 I will either be preparing basic income
taxes in my own office or will work with HR Block or an accountant to provide tax preparation
services to my clients. If you need assistance, I hope you will keep me in mind and call me at the
2) In a related vein, I am now providing limited, basic and conservative investment
advice to clients who need assistance, usually limited to conservative stock funds, bond funds,
money market funds and CDs. I have had the pleasure of discussing investments informally with
many of you in the past. I will not be recommending individual stocks or risky strategies. I will not
be making trades in your name or taking control of your funds. I merely seek to provide basic,
conservative, advice to my clients who feel overwhelmed at the prospect of managing their
investable funds. Fees will be charged on either a percentage or hourly basis, depending on the
As of August 17, 2010, we are the proud guardians of a two year old with four feet. Holly
is a 47 pound black and white labrador-terrier mix, obtained from the local shelter. She is
boisterous, to put it mildly, and we are crazy about her (even when she eats a coaster, which she did
just last night).
Wishing you all a safe and happy thanksgiving season,
Brian Sheppard, PFP
Attorney at Law