Help available for caregivers, NBC reports

On last night’s broadcast, NBC News reported on the loneliness and isolation felt by millions of Americans who provide care to elderly relatives.

NBC spotlighted findings from a new AARP study, including the fact that 42 million Americans age 40 to 60 spend time each week caring for an older adult. Of those, 29% devote more than 40 hours a week to caregiving.

The burden on caregivers can be overwhelming at times. AARP has sponsored public service announcements to call attention to the issue, and to let caregivers know there is help available, NBC reported.

AARP provides a Caregiving Resource Center website, with links to an online support group, a place to submit questions to a panel of experts, and basic information for caregivers and their families.


Consumer Reports: “Legal DIY sites no match for a pro”

An article in Consumer Reports’ latest issue caught my attention this week. It evaluated whether do-it-yourself legal documents created on popular websites LegalZoom, Nolo, and Rocket Lawyer met consumers’ needs.

The conclusion: “Using any of the three services is generally better than drafting the documents yourself without legal training or not having them at all. But unless your needs are simple — say, you want to leave your entire estate to your spouse — none of the will-writing products is likely to entirely meet your needs.” As a result, “many consumers are better off consulting a lawyer.”

You can read the entire article here.

I would add a couple of points. First, if a low price is your top priority, a legal stationery store can provide forms for a few dollars each, far below the price of the on-line sites. But the same challenges remain: will you know what provisions you need, how to write or insert them properly, and how to make the document valid with proper execution?

Second, a danger not raised by Consumer Reports is the false sense of security people may feel with documents created by some entity that gives the appearance of expertise. That sense of security may prevent consumers from seeking the advice they need. They (or more likely their families) won’t discover the pitfalls until it is too late.