Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Task force recommendations to protect older Pennsylvanians

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Dec 17, 2014 3:36 PM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, December 18, 2014:

"If societies are judged on how they help their most vulnerable, then now is the time to craft solutions as older Pennsylvanians increasingly face life-altering, physical, emotional and financial abuses by those who take advantage of our elders.” Those were the words of Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille when he appointed a 38-member Elder Law Task Force last year.

In November, the task force delivered a report that included 130 recommendations intented to improve how older citizens deal with the courts and legal system in the areas of guardianship, elder abuse and neglect, and overall access to justice.

Why is such a report needed?

For one reason, Pennsylvania's population is getting older.  More than one-fifth of Pennsylvania residents are 60 years of age and older.  That number is expected to increase by another 600,000 within the next six years.  More than 300,000 Pennsylvanians are 85 and older.

Often the elderly are the victims of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.  Many times, they don't know where to turn.

On Thursday's Smart Talk, we'll learn about the report from Elder Law Task Force Administrative Chair Zygmont Pines, who also is Administrator for Pennsylvania Courts and task force member Katherine Pearson, who is a Professor of Law at Penn State's Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle.

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  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-12-18 10:02

    Ann emailed:
    Excellent topic. I personally discovered how my uncle's a nephew walked away with about one million dollars of our uncle's assets. I was shocked that no one in the family questioned how this last minute caregiver took over all the financial matters in about two years. No one saw it was happening or preferred to ignore it. It was all done in a friendly manner. The nephew did help this uncle by attending to medical appointments and overseeing the his physical properties so he did help him as well as other family members. The man's elderly sisters noticed and thought something was going on and didn't tell anyone else. They preferred to think they were wrong. This uncle's extended family is not the type to take this to the courts. So a warning to listeners beware if one individual takes over an older person's life. Start asking the caregiver questions if you become suspicious and then take action if warranted. I agree banks should have a legal method to question unusual financial matters for the elderly. This uncle had about ten or more CDs all which had the nephew listed as the beneficiary. The CD dollar amount does not show in the filed will.

  • Student img 2014-12-19 15:55

    Great show that tracked very nicely with and expanded upon topics Prof Pearson taught us at Penn State's Dickinson School of Law in the fall semester's Wills Trusts and Estates class. One thing that didn't come through clearly is that Powers of Attorney extinguish upon the death of the principal. In the hands of a worthy agent, they are great tools for caring for ageing parents.