09 Aug 2013

Elder Abuse Addressed in Colorado…Finally.

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Before 2013, Colorado was only one of three states that didn’t have an elder abuse reporting law on the books. This year, the state legislature produced a bill that quickly ran through committees and both houses to help combat an issue I think is very important to our aging population. Prior to Governor Hickenlooper signing this bill into law, this was one of the major issues facing elder law here in the Rocky Mountain state.

Governor John Hickenlooper signed State Senate Bill 111, which protects our elderly population from those attempting to cause them harm. The law states that people in certain occupations (ranging from physicians to clergy members) are required to report abuse or mistreatment of seniors. This is key to assisting our seniors understand that there are individuals out there that are untrustworthy, dishonest and downright dangerous. At times our elderly citizens’ mental capacities aren’t what they used to be and can be a liability.

As an elder law attorney, I typically focus on asset protection planning, Medicaid and Asset and Attendance issues, but elder abuse is certainly an issue that most of us don’t discuss or address. It only comes to the forefront once an event happens and affects us directly. Once elder abuse is recognized, whether it is physical, emotional or financial, undue stress and inconvenience can be overwhelming. The resulting criminal and civil litigation can take a lot out of our older family members while tying up finances in an attempt to find justice.

While elder law can include litigation, I aim to work with clients prior to any elder abuse occurring to address and identify the causes and warning signs. This consultative approach can, hopefully, ensure elder abuse doesn’t happen and save a great deal of distress and difficulty. In addition, certain asset planning and financial investment programs can be applied with safeguards in place to combat unscrupulous or corrupt individuals attempting to cheat elders out of their savings, assets or property.

I am truly happy the state of Colorado has recognized the significance of elder abuse and its impact it has on the public, our economy and lifestyle. This is unquestionably a positive move forward to continue the fight in protecting our seniors.

James Morgan

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