Financial exploitation of seniors is elder abuse.

Even in our small corner of the world, we see adults who are vulnerable to financial exploitation.  That is one reason we work hard to ensure our senior clients are acting independently from the wishes of their adult children.  We meet with our clients separately from their caregivers, and we meet them more than once before finalizing any changes.  This protects everyone and is never meant to infer suspicion!

Be aware and informed for both your family and your senior friends and neighbors.

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Knowing the warning signs is important, whether it’s happening to someone you care for, a friend, or you. To spot financial elder abuse, look for sudden changes like:

Suspicious changes in wills or Power of Attorney
Bills not being paid
Unusual withdrawal patterns
Excessive “voluntary” payments for care and companionship
Unusual purchases

Grab and Go Bag: “True Life Story”

As the granddaughter, daughter and sister of structural engineers I grew up with earthquake preparedness stories. One of my favorites is my grandfather touring the remains of a building in Japan (circa 1920’s) and seeing that the plumbing was all that remained vertical.  The story goes that someone survived in the bathtub!

Last week we had a natural gas scare in my apartment building and I had to locate my own grab and go bag. Fortunately there was no evacuation but it was a good wake up call.  During Sunday’s less-than Super Bowl, I reviewed and replaced many items in my bag.  It was well past due!

We all get lax, but I recommend you pick a rainy, cold, February day and review your own grab and go bag!


Estate planning is about making your own choices regarding your healthcare and assets before you’re faced with a situation that renders you powerless. Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman with terminal brain cancer, recently made a choice regarding her health the choice to end her own life. After doctors told her in the spring that she had six months to live, Brittany moved to Oregon where the Oregon Death with Dignity Act allows adults with terminal illnesses to end their lives legally. According to People Magazine, Brittany posted a message on Facebook shortly before she died, which reads in part: “Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love. Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me but would have taken so much more” During her interview with People a month ago, she said “My glioblastoma is going to kill me and that’s out of my control. I’ve discussed with many experts how I would die from it and it’s a terrible, terrible way to die. So being able to choose to go with dignity is less terrifying.” She has received both support and criticism for her choice but ultimately what matters is that she had the power to decide. Estate planning grants similar power by allowing individuals to choose their own destiny and prepare for unexpected events that render them unable to communicate their desires. People who execute estate planning documents prior to such events can ensure that their voices are heard and their wishes honored. They can choose what happens to them if they become incapacitated, who may make decisions regarding their healthcare, where their assets end up when they die, who may act as guardian of their children or pets and a wide range of other choices. Estate planning not only protects the decisions of those who sign the documents, but lessens the burden upon their loved ones when those documents become needed for guidance. It gives individuals power over their fate just as the Death with Dignity Act gave Brittany Maynard power over hers.


ANNOUNCEMENT: Estate Planning Presentation On May 20th, 2014, at 5:15pm Ruth Emily Vogel will be making a presentation on Estate Planning at Union Bank in Ballard. The presentation is in conjunction with a business consultant who will speak on the 12 deadly sins of cash flow. If you’d like to attend please contact David Bruder at Union Bank, 206.228-1942, or


Call me crazy, but I think the Northwest is the best place on earth to live, work and play. So while I was watching the “Legion of Boom” it occured to me how our whole region deserves recognition. We have natural beauty and resources, diverse economies and a level of caring and teamwork that is unique. Thank you for being part of what makes our region so wonderful!