Every year, it seems there is more paperwork or online documents to fill out, especially as you get older. And, confusion about those papers can lead to financial exploitation. An annual clinic, developed for Montana's rural seniors, is getting underway this month.

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) Legal Services Developer Program will start its "Kelly Moore Memorial Legal Document Clinic" first in Lewistown at the end of the month. It will then repeat at Deer Lodge June 2-3, in Glendive July 13-14, in Miles City July 15-16 and in Hamilton September 8-9.

PDHHS Director Adam Meier said, "Our goal is to serve victims of senior financial exploitation, train legal and aging professionals, and look for ways to reach remote and isolated seniors across Montana. The clinics are a valuable tool in reaching out to a vulnerable population." The department received almost two thousand reports of senior exploitation last year, about 500 more than in 2019. The average financial loss is $120,000.

The clinics are for older adults age 60 and above, enrolled Tribal members and adults with disabilities, along with financial, healthcare and law professionals. The first day of each clinic trains people to recognize senior exploitation. The second day offers free qualified assistance for estate planning, which includes drafting, review, notarization and copying each document.

The clinics also highlight Powers of Attorney (POA) and help professionals, along with the seniors, understand what Powers of Attorney do allow and what they don't allow. Katy Lovell of DPHHS noted that "Those exploiting seniors often use a POA to control a senior's entire life, even though the document does not legally grant them this ability."

As you might imagine, the clinics are popular, so you need to register in advance. Contact Katy Lovell at 406 444-7787 or 1-800-332-2272.

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