How Does the State of Minnesota Define a Vulnerable Adult?

By Kris L. Maser

Under Minn. Stat. section 626.5572 sebd.21 a vulnerable adult is defined as:
a person 18 years or older who:

• Receives certain services from a qualified provider
OR
• Regardless of services received, possesses physical, mental, or emotional infirmity or dysfunction

What is the purpose of this definition?
• To trigger a mandated report
• To guide responders
• To guide law enforcement

Here are some factors to consider in determining if someone is a Vulnerable Adult:
• Current medical condition
• Current financial condition
• Living arrangements
• Involvement of family members/friends/neighbors
• Recent life events (death of a spouse, inheritance, change in medical condition)

Red Flags – financial exploitation:
• Opening new bank account or unusual bank activity
• Checks being signed by someone other than the vulnerable adult
• Accumulation of bills or debts even though a power of attorney document exists
• Recent signature of power of attorney, joint checking account, mortgage documents
• Use of the vulnerable adults’ debit/credit card for purchases uncharacteristic to the vulnerable adult
• Large even sums withdrawn from the vulnerable adult’s accounts
• Removing all forms of communication between the vulnerable adult and others
• Firing of caregivers
• Change in doctors
• Significant financial changes with no advice from the attorney or financial advisor

Red Flags – personal/emotional abuse:
• Poor personal hygiene
• Withdrawal
• Loneliness
• Depression
• Paranoia
• Confusion or disorientation
• Loss of weight/dehydration
• Recent company by unfamiliar family or friend, wandering
• Memory loss of recent events/family

Who are mandated reporters under the statute?

A mandated reporter is a professional or professional’s delegate while engaged in:
1. Social services
2. Law enforcement
3. Education
4. The care of vulnerable adults
5. Any of the health related occupations referred to in Minn. Stat. section 214.01, subd. 2 including:
     • Board of examiners of nursing home administrators
     • Office of Unlicensed complementary and alternative health care practice
     • Board of medical practice
     • Board of nursing
     • Board of chiropractic examiners
     • Board of optometry
     • Board of physical therapy
     • Board of psychology
     • Board of social work
     • Board of marriage and family therapy
     • Office of mental health practice
     • Board of behavioral health and therapy
     • A person that performs the duties of the medical examiner or coroner
     • Board of dietetics and nutrition practice
     • Board of dentistry
     • Board of pharmacy
     • Board of podiatric medicine
     • Veterinary medicine
6. Any employee of a rehabilitation facility certified by the commissioner of jobs and training for vocational rehabilitation
7. Any employee or person providing services in a facility as defined in subdivision 6
8. A person that performs the duties of the medical examiner or coroner

Anyone can be a voluntary reporter. Note that attorneys, financial planners and Certified Public Accountants are not mandated reporters.

If you need to make a report the common entry point number for:
• Hennepin County is 612-348-8526
• Ramsey county is 651 266-4012

For the common entry points for other counties go to the Minnesota Board on Aging or call the Senior Linkage Line at 1-800-333-2433.

Social Security (Part 6 of 6)

By Kris L. Maser

Divorced Spouse Benefits:?
• The ex-spouse must have applied for benefits.?
• The spouse must be at least 62 for reduced benefits or 66 for full benefits.?
• The marriage lasted for 10 years or more.
• The person receiving the divorced-spouse benefit is currently not married.
• Also note that more than one ex-spouse can receive benefits on the same worker’s record.
• Benefits paid to one ex-spouse do not affect those paid to the worker, the current spouse or other ex-spouses.
• The worker will NOT be notified that the ex-spouse has applied for benefits.
• The divorced-spouse benefits stop upon remarriage.?

Social Security (Part 5 of 6)

By Kris L. Maser

Here is how to estimate your Social Security benefits. If you are 60 or older you will receive an annual statement in the mail. This statement should help you estimate the benefit. Or you can go to www.SocialSecurity.gov and click on Estimate your retirement benefits or use one of the calculators on the social security website.

Please pay careful attention to the information that Social Security gathers for your benefits. The highest 35 years of earnings are averaged and used to calculate the benefit. If this information is recorded incorrectly (we have seen this with our clients), or not recorded at all, this could substantially alter your benefits. It is important to check the website or statement at least annually to ensure its correctness.

Before you think about retiring and begin to collect your Social Security benefits we strongly urge you to talk to a financial planner who is well versed in the arena of social security benefits and who is familiar with your income, assets, lifestyle and health issues. Some decisions are irrevocable.

Social Security (Part 4 of 6)

By Kris L. Maser

What if you apply for early for Social Security benefits?

If you were born between 1943 and 1954:
• At age 62 your benefit will receive 75% of your total benefit plus the 2.8% annual cost of living adjustment.
• At age 63 your benefit will be 80% of your total benefit plus the 2.8% annual cost of living adjustment.
• At age 64 your benefit will be 86.7% of your total benefit plus the 2.8% annual cost of living adjustment.
• At age 65 you will receive 93.3% of the total benefit plus the 2.8% annual cost of living adjustment.

However if you wait to take benefits until later (and you were born between 1943 and 1954), look at what happens:
• At age 66 your benefit will be 100%.
• At age 67 the benefit increases to 108%.
• At age 68 the increase goes to 116%.
• At age 69 the benefit increases to 124%.
• And at age 70 the benefit goes to 132%.

Where else in the current market will you get 8% return on your money? Additionally, don’t forget to calculate another 2.8% annual cost of living adjustments. If you can afford to wait (and that takes some thinking and planning), this can be quite an investment.

Power of Attorney

Kris L. Maser

Recently, I talked about the need for high school graduates to complete their Health Care Directives upon turning age 18 to enable parents to make medical and health care decisions on their behalf. (This presumes your child will appoint you as his/her parent and not his/her BFF.) It is important to have these new adults think about adding a Power of Attorney for financial matters to their disability planning arsenal.

The Minnesota Statutory Power Of Attorney is a document that your child can sign which will enable you to access his/her financial information and manage assets. While both my sons were in college out of state, they maintained accounts in Minneapolis. Organization was not a strong suit with my kids at the time they left for college. I think they were more interested in what the world was going to be like without their helicopter mom.

At the time they met with the attorney for the Health Care Directive, we asked that they also discuss the Power of Attorney for Finances. Once completed, the Power of Attorney for finances allowed us, as parents, to transfer assets from the kid’s accounts to pay for schooling, to help them with bill payment, to access their accounts to ensure that the accounts were not overdrawn and to oversee their spending habits.

We also contacted the colleges to verify that the college would accept the Power of Attorney and if not, what documents were necessary to allow us access to their financial information from the college.

Although we, as parents, thought we had educated our kids about money management, it was a different story once they were on their own. What was taught in principal didn’t carry over into practice right away. Having access to their financial information helped us minimize their financial issues so that they could focus on their studies (and on the other issues impacting college life).

In a nutshell, disability planning is not limited to the elderly. Not one of us knows what is around the next bend in our lives and each of us should be prepared with the documents necessary to help our loved ones help us in a time of need.

The Health Care Directive and the Power of Attorney for Finances are two documents that we all hope we never have to use. BUT in the event a crisis happens they are great tools to keep the court system out of family matters.

Welcome to the Maser Amundson, P.A. Blog!

We are excited to announce our new blog, where we’ll be posting timely updates, news and events.  Be sure to check back often to stay in tune with the latest on Elder Law!

Geriatric Chat Series Session 3: Transitions of Care Across Settings & Over Time

When: Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:30am to 12pm  CDT

Where: 10:30 am-12:00 pm Normandale Lutheran Church (Choir Rehearsal Room) – 6100 Normandale Road, Edina, MN
Event Status: confirmed

Geriatric Chat Series Session 4: Advanced Care Planning

When: Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:30am to 12pm  CST

Where: 10:30 am-12:00 pm Normandale Lutheran Church (Choir Rehearsal Room) – 6100 Normandale Road, Edina, MN
Event Status: confirmed

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