Could Maple Syrup Help to Fight Alzheimer’s Disease?

bottle of maple syrupOur estate planning attorneys were delighted to hear about a new Canadian study which indicated that it may be possible to prevent or reverse Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative neurological conditions with a natural compound found in maple syrup. This compound is believed to halt the forming of two toxic proteins that have been linked to Alzheimer’s. However, certain scientists have stated that due to its very high sugar content, it is not wise to use maple syrup to boost brain health or prevent cognitive decline. These experts recommend following a diet featuring fish, berries, olive oil, nuts, vegetables and poultry, which they say can reduce a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 50 percent.

The maple syrup study was conducted by Canadian scientists who discovered that a highly refined extract derived from standard maple syrup reduced the proliferation of specific types of proteins. These are the same proteins found in the brains of those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.

The Krembil Research Institute of the University of Toronto, where the study was completed, indicated in their final report that a maple syrup extract halted what is referred to by researchers as the “folding of two important brain proteins.” Medical experts have found that this folding leads to Alzheimer’s disease. Phenolic-enriched extracts of maple syrup were used in the study, which was conducted in a laboratory. Results of the study showed neuroprotective effects similar to those seen with a compound found in red wine, called resveratrol. The latter is also believed to halt the progress of Alzheimer’s disease.

However, the study did not involve human subjects, and it was not completed with actual maple syrup, but rather with the aforementioned refined extract. For this reason, some researchers and health care professionals state that the detrimental effects of high sugar intake, such as the 14 grams of sugar per tablespoon found in maple syrup, are far too unhealthy to use on a regular basis until further research is completed involving humans. It is still unclear whether or not maple syrup in its standard form would have the same effect as the highly refine extract used in the study.

Our Orange County estate planning attorneys follow alzheimers research closely, and we’re always excited to share new findings. We’ll be sure to keep a close eye on this story, and report any further developments.

Elderly Man Chooses Holiday Inn Over Retirement Home

Holiday Inn ExteriorOur estate planning attorneys in Orange County have worked with hundreds of retirees who are searching for ways to save money and lower their cost of living. We often talk to folks who are planning for their long term care, and are shocked at how expensive it can be.

For that reason, we were elated to read the story of 64-year-old Terry Robison, who chose an innovative alternative to a personal care home or nursing facility when he chose to make Holiday Inn his primary residence.

In Robison’s social media posts, he compared the daily cost of residing at a Holiday Inn with the per-day cost of a retirement home, and Holiday Inn won! Robinson stated that with his senior discount, living at the popular hotel chain cost less than $60 per day, while the average senior home he looked into cost over three times that much, at $180 per day. Robinson stated that the annual cost to live at a Holiday Inn was approximately $21,900 with his senior discount.

One of the retirement homes he was looking into came with a price tag of $68,620 for the year. According to Forbes,the latter amount is typical for the price of a retirement home, with some facilities charging as much as $100,000 annually. Robinson also noted the long wait most seniors experience before being admitted to a good retirement home, as opposed to the time it takes to make a simple reservation.

Robison said that he enjoyed being treated as a customer, rather than a patient, and made a point to mention amenities, including a lounge, workout room, swimming pool and spa. He also indicated that he enjoyed the option of staying anywhere in the country, as virtually all states have Holiday Inn hotels with a certain number of amenities and services.

In 2018, Dan Brewer wrote that he was not surprised that Terry Robison chose a Holiday Inn for his retirement, as some senior homes cost as much as $6000 per month. Brewer works for a business that invests in private-pay facilities for retirees. It remains to be seen if this interesting alternative to traditional senior facilities will become a trend in the future.


What is a Revocable Trust?

elderly couple with documentsWhat is a Revocable Trust?

A revocable trust is a type of trust that may be canceled or altered during the lifetime of the grantor. The property is given to the beneficiaries only after the death of the grantor, at which point the revocable trust becomes irrevocable. Due to the fact that it may be altered at any time before the grantor’s death, it is regarded as part of his or her estate. This type of arrangement offers income and flexibility to the living grantor, as he or she is able to adjust the trust’s provisions and earn income from the trust. An estate planning attorney draws up the revocable trust according to the grantor’s wishes, and such a trust is one of many tools used to create an appropriate estate plan.

Characteristics of a Revocable Trust

A revocable trust holds property or money for the benefit of someone else. The assets of the trust may change on a regular basis due to the appreciation or depreciation of the trustee’s investments or fluctuations in his or her expenses. However, the collective assets comprise the principle of the trust fund and the person or persons benefiting from the trust are the beneficiaries.

Benefits of a Revocable Trust

Because there is significant flexibility with a revocable trust, if the grantor develops health problems or other concerns, the grantor’s chosen manager can be given control over the principal.

Among other advantages of a revocable trust is that proceeds can be distributed according to the grantor’s wishes, whatever they may be. This offers great flexibility to the grantor. For example, the trust can be distributed all at one time, divided into separate trusts for different beneficiaries, divided into unequal parts, or held for grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Similarly, certain family members may be excluded from receiving anything at the time of distribution, if the grantor so desires.

In some families, there may be a child who is not capable of making appropriate spending decisions or responsible investments. If this is the case, that particular child can be given an income for life through the revocable trust, but never have access to the assets, while other children may acquire their share outright.

Should the son or daughter of a grantor have an unfortunate marriage, a revocable trust can also be set up in such a way that the assets never become marital property, but rather remain in the family. The beneficiary may receive a monthly or yearly income from the trust, but cannot withdraw assets as long as he or she remains married to the person the grantor finds questionable.

Any time probate can be avoided, it is typically considered a great advantage. At the death of the grantor, all property in a revocable trust bypasses probate, which saves a significant amount of time and expense for the beneficiaries. Additionally, any property that must pass through probate automatically becomes a matter of public record, as opposed to a trust that keeps the transfer process private.

After the Grantor’s Death

When the grantor of a revocable trust passes away, the trust changes entirely: it immediately becomes irrevocable. It then dictates the way in which the late grantor’s assets must be distributed. The distribution process may continue on into the future for subsequent beneficiaries named by the grantor when he or she still lived.

Contact an estate planning attorney in Orange County or Corona can if you would like more information about possibly adding a revocable trust to your estate plan. 



Interesting Survey Reveals Many Baby Boomers Prefer Semi-Retirement

elderly woman holding potted plantMany financial plans are built around the notion that individuals typically exit the workforce at a specific age. However, a Harris Poll survey of 1,500 American workers between the ages of 54 and 72 found that 72% of survey participants preferred semi-retirement. This suggests that numerous baby boomers are contemplating the benefits of a more gradual transition to retirement.

Survey findings also revealed that only about 50% of baby boomers have a specific age in mind with regard to retirement, while 23% have no specific age in mind and 11% have not yet given any thought to retirement at all. Approximately 9% claim they will never retire, stating that they essentially cannot afford to do so.

Naturally, the most obvious advantage of semi-retirement is a longer period of time to earn an active income. However, according to Rosemary Venne, an associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan, it can also be beneficial for one’s mental and emotional health, as working keeps both the body and mind active in most cases.

The Harris Poll also indicated that among the 72% who found semi-retirement appealing, 58% preferred a flexible schedule and part-time hours, even if it meant a reduction in benefits, such as health insurance. Interestingly, 56% also stated that they preferred consulting roles, where the primary duty is training up-and-coming workers. Less than half of survey participants said their employers have an adequate successor in place to take over their job responsibilities if they do choose to retire.

In a press statement, William Stoller, CEO of Express Employment Professionals, urged corporations to be more flexible with those on the cusp of retiring, stating that if baby boomers leave the workplace in mass numbers, they will also leave a major knowledge vacuum.

Our estate planning attorneys in Orange County have also learned that life expectancy may also play a role in people retiring later in life. For example, as of 2018, the average life expectancy for males and females in North America was 80 and 84 years old, respectively. This is a stark difference from the same statistic in 1965, which was 66 and 74, respectively. Baby boomers retiring later in life may consult an estate planning attorney to create a plan that reflects this diversion from the formally accepted “norm” with regard to retirement age.




5 Reasons Your Estate Plan May Be Out of Date

an elderly couple drinking wineHaving a proper estate plan in place is essential, regardless of your age, occupation or personal assets. Once an estate plan is created, however, it should not be forgotten, as changing circumstances may result in an outdated plan that could cause problems in the future. Instead, these documents should be occasionally reviewed by your estate planning attorney to ensure all paperwork is up-to-date. The following are five common reasons your estate plan may be outdated:

A Change in Assets or Liabilities

Your estate plan should be reviewed if liabilities or assets have changed considerably since the creation of the original plan. Whether the value of your estate has increased or decreased, it is important to review the initial documents to see if they are still appropriate. Ultimately, any change in life circumstances calls for re-evaluation of your plan.


Because estate planning laws and regulations are not nationwide, but rather vary from state to state, it is important to have an estate planning attorney review your documents if you have relocated. This is because there may be a variance of laws regarding powers of attorney, living wills, advanced medical directives, and distribution of property. All or part of your plan may become null and void if you do not update it in accordance with your new state’s laws.

Change in Marital Status

Contrary to what many people may think, a divorce or marriage does not affect your estate planning documents at all. Additionally, these life events do not change your beneficiary designations. Therefore, if you are planning to get married or if the dissolution of your marriage is on the horizon, your estate plan should be updated to reflect these changes as soon as possible.

Management of Digital Assets

This digitalization of life in America presents a challenge to those using traditional estate planning techniques. This is because digital assets can create several unique scenarios that you may not know exactly how to handle. For example, keeping track of digital assets can be a daunting endeavor, as new accounts are continuously being set up and passwords changed on a regular basis.

Additionally, digital asset planning also requires deciding which accounts you want deleted, continued or memorialized, and what data you want removed or preserved. In certain cases, you may need to set up new accounts or move assets from one account to another. Your estate attorney can discuss digital asset planning and management with you and offer insight on how to designate someone to manage your digital accounts in the event you die or become incapacitated.

Trustees and Executors Who Are No Longer the Best Choice

Executors and trustees are the people you selected to implement your estate plan and carry out your wishes. When making these appointments, you should give considerable thought to the seriousness of the tasks they may have to perform in the event you become incapacitated or deceased. However, it is also wise to review your decisions regularly to make sure the individuals you selected are still the most appropriate choices. After a significant amount of time has passed, the person or persons you have chosen may no longer be appropriate for the role due to changes in circumstances.

Ultimately regular re-evaluation of your estate plan is necessary in order to ensure it remains up-to-date. Estate planning attorneys in Orange County can help you with this task to avoid negative issues in the future.

Seven Signs Your Aging Parent May Need Help

home care nurse with elderly womanIt is an unfortunate reality that as people grow older, we have to start preparing for age-related health changes. Joints may become stiff with arthritis, bone and muscle mass may be lost, and there may be a decline in hearing, eyesight and cognitive function. Minor changes in the health of an elderly parent may not at first seem like something that would affect that person’s ability to live independently; however, the cumulative total of many small changes may have a major impact. Below our estate planning attorneys in Orange County have drawn out seven signs that your aging parent may need help:

Withdrawal From Activities

If your elderly parent regularly participated in specific activities, but has suddenly become more isolated, it may indicate that he or she can no longer successfully complete the activities or keep up with conversations. However, it may also be an indication of hearing loss, failing eyesight or physical pain. Withdrawal from regular activities could also point to possible memory issues or cognitive decline.

Messy Surroundings

There are many reasons your formerly meticulous parent may suddenly have a messy house. He or she may be unable to physically perform certain cleaning tasks, or it could be the result of poor vision: it is difficult to clean properly if the person cannot clearly see the area. Messy surroundings may also indicate memory problems.

Unkempt Appearance

Poor hygiene may be a sign that your parent is struggling with cognitive decline. If your mother or father appears unwashed or with uncombed hair or bad breath, it may be a sign that these hygiene tasks are being forgotten. However, an unkempt appearance may also indicate that it is physically difficult for the person to complete these personal care tasks without assistance.

Memory Problems

Cognitive changes may be the culprit if your parent frequently forgets where he or she placed objects or consistently misses scheduled appointments. Of course, such things occasionally happen to everyone, young and old. Nevertheless, if this behavior is chronic, it could be a sign of cognitive impairment.

Vehicle Damage

Broken side mirrors, cracked tail lights, or dented fenders are all signs that at least one minor traffic accident may have occurred. Older individuals may have trouble driving for various reasons. These include vision problems, cognitive decline, or even the presence of arthritis in the neck, which may make it difficult for the person to look behind when backing up or coming on or off exits.

Unexplained Bruises

If your elderly parent suddenly has unexplained bruises, cuts and scrapes, it could mean mobility problems are occurring. Slips and falls that do not cause serious injuries may still result in such marks on the skin. The source of any noticeable bruising should be investigated to determine if mobility is an issue or if there is another reason for bruises of scrapes on the skin.

Failure to Take Medications as Prescribed

You may have an aging parent with health conditions for which drugs were prescribed. If your parent previously took all medications in a timely manner, but suddenly there are too many or too few of certain prescription pills, it may be a sign of cognitive impairment, particularly if it happens on a regular basis.

Regardless of the reason for your concern about an elderly parent, it is always best to have any type of unusual behavior or signs of physical problems evaluated by a licensed geriatric practitioner.