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Community Activist Flower Shop at Center of Estate Battle

SproutMattie Young battled to maintain her mother's legacy of a lifetime of service to a Florida community. Young is the daughter of the late Veronica Shoemaker, who was a Fort Myers community activist for many decades. Mattie struggled to keep the flower shop bearing her mother's name, after a contested will struggle that threatened her mother's legacy.

The Fort Meyers news-press.com reported on this saga in Shoemaker estate issue settled; florist shop stays open. Family members apparently reached an agreement that assured Mattie would continue to run the Veronica S. Shoemaker Florist Shop in the Dunbar community its founder served for decades.

"It's important that her legacy here, her legacy in the community and her spirit continue," Young said.

Veronica Shoemaker's will was challenged in court by her granddaughter Latoya Shoemaker, the daughter of her late son who died in 1982. Latoya argued that her grandmother lacked capacity to make a will, because she was suffering from the effects of Alzheimer's disease. Latoya claimed at one point in the dispute, that the signatures of Veronica Shoemaker were forgeries. The suit stated that Veronica Shoemaker was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2007.

Veronica’s will left the florist business to her daughter. She noted that, as she faced advancing age, Mattie had worked to maintain the store's place in the community. Veronica Shoemaker died Jan. 21, 2016, and the will was filed in probate court in June. It was challenged a month later.

An agreement was struck with the help of a mediator and was filed in court. The trial scheduled to begin that week, was canceled.

Although some of the terms of the agreement were kept confidential, Mattie, her niece Latoya Shoemaker and her brother Bennie will be given equal shares in what remains of Shoemaker's estate, after the final expenses are paid and any property sold. The will filed in court had provided for only a 10% percent share for Latoya.

Mattie will continue to operate the flower shop that her mother founded 42 years ago. She expressed relief that the episode was over and her mother's name will remain prominent in the community she inspired and served.

"She put everything she had into this corner," Young said at the store at the corner of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and the former Palmetto Avenue Extension, renamed Veronica Shoemaker Boulevard in honor of the first black person to win election to the Fort Myers City Council.

Reference: (Fort Meyers FL) news-press.com (April 26, 2017) Shoemaker estate issue settled; florist shop stays open

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NFLers Huddle Up: Make a Game Plan for Possible Dementia

Tablet with penA recent Washington Post article, entitled “Today’s NFL players should look hard at Sam Huff’s case; they could be next,” says you should prepare for a time when you might become incapacitated as a result of your career. Fail to make proper plans and a judge could end up determining where you live.
The NFL estimates that a player has about a 30% chance of contracting Alzheimer’s or dementia. Players receive literature from the NFL Players Association about concussions and advice from agents and lawyers about estate-planning, but they rarely see the real picture of how people will treat you with a stigmatizing brain disease.
You need to make a game plan, or a judge will decide if you’ve been abused, neglected or exploited. Enter Sam Huff, who’s a Hall of Fame linebacker who was very successful after football. He was a VP at Marriott and enjoyed thoroughbred horse breeding. He lived on his horse farm in Middleburg, Va., for 30 years with his partner, Carol Holden, until 2012 when dementia was diagnosed.
Huff’s daughter, Catherine, is seeking legal power to make all of Huff’s life and health-care decisions for him. Carol filed an emergency petition seeking to return him to his home and to her guardianship. There’s a court hearing scheduled.
Can you believe that of the 1,600 players in the NFL each season, more than 500 will contract some form of dementia. Here's a suggested blueprint for how to protect yourself, which may be just as important as wearing a helmet in action.
Here is some advice from the article whether you played on Sunday or caught the games on television:
Find a lawyer with experience in estate planning for Alzheimer’s and heed his or her advice. You need a specialist because Alzheimer’s planning requires a very thorough interdisciplinary legal knowledge, as well as insight into medical and criminal scenarios. An attorney experienced with dementia issues can educate you on why you shouldn’t give your child or spouse durable power of attorney without some type of neutral oversight.
Don’t create family problems. Appoint an independent third party “protector.” This can be a valued friend who has sound judgment and can monitor the conduct of the trustee over your trust and the attorney in fact under your financial power of attorney. This is a pretty new idea, but it helps to address potential financial abuse. A protector can make sure that any actions are in your best interests.
Declare legally that if there’s any change to your estate plan after your diagnosis, there needs to be a medical evaluation to ensure it’s your decision. Changes can be manipulations, especially if your power-of-attorney is also a beneficiary.
Legally provide that a geriatric care social worker be employed to facilitate your care. All of the agencies, facilities, and services create confusion and frustration for family members trying to help. But a geriatric care expert has the knowledge, social service resources, and experience to take care of living arrangements and quality care, which can ease the strain on the family.
Determine your wishes and provide for them. If you really want to live at home, look into how to do so with dementia and set aside the money. You might decide you want to live in a facility. Be sure you state in your estate plan that the location has a good nurse-to-patient ratio and specifically trained Alzheimer’s care.
While Huff’s situation shows there’s no such thing as a foolproof solution, you can start by working with a credible dementia-knowledgeable attorney.
Reference: Washington Post (Sept. 15, 2016) “Today’s NFL players should look hard at Sam Huff’s case; they could be next”

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Social Security’s Extra Dimensions

Bigstock-Senior-couple-standing-togethe-12052331“Over time, many people have wished that Social Security would become more user-friendly and quicker to provide its "customers" (you and me) with special services and work-arounds that respond to pressing needs or just make life a little easier.”
These extra dimensions are the agency's efforts to do more for its beneficiaries. AARP’s August 2016 article, “Discover Little-Known Social Security Benefits,” notes that many of these get little attention—so here are some of them.
Some years ago, Social Security officials saw that the long waiting time for decisions on disability applications was resulting in severe hardship for the seriously ill. As a consequence, the agency established the Compassionate Allowances List.
This program’s goal is to swiftly grant disability status to those who suffer from any of the 225 serious medical conditions on the list. They include rare diseases, cancers, traumatic brain injury, stroke, early onset Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, schizophrenia, cardiovascular disease, multiple organ transplants and autoimmune diseases.
The Social Security Administration says that folks who can show they suffer from any of these afflictions will receive approval in weeks rather than months or years.
If you see that a loved one isn’t good at managing money, Social Security can help with its Representative Payee Program. It matches people who require assistance managing their finances with people who are willing and able to help them.
If you're concerned that a loved one has become incapable of managing or directing the management of his or her benefits, speak with an elder law attorney who focuses on Social Security to discuss your concerns.
Social Security will typically look to family members or friends to serve as representative payees. If no one is available, they work with social service agencies to locate people to serve as representative payees.
The payee takes control of the benefits sent to the person by Social Security, and the payee manages the money for the needs of that person. The payee has to maintain records and submit reports of his or her actions to Social Security.
Reference: AARP (August 2016) “Discover Little-Known Social Security Benefits”

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