By Betty Berry, Tuesday, July 26, 2011 Q: I’ve heard a lot about road rage and wonder if seniors are targeted victims. If so, what can we do to protect ourselves?
A: It appears that road rage continues to be part of our lives. However, I think this type of anger is more likely directed at drivers’ behaviors rather than at particular age groups. To help avoid becoming a victim of this crime, we need to mind our manners and be courteous behind the wheel. If you become aggravated, just remember the old saying, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If everyone practiced this behavior, we soon would have no road rage.
Meanwhile, there are some simple things that you can do that will help:
n While on the road, give yourself and others room to maneuver.
n Allow space between your vehicle and the one in front. Tailgating can be dangerous in more than one way.
n Don’t hog the passing lane. Pass the slower vehicle and move over. Give the next driver a chance.
n Let others know your intentions. Always use your signal indicator when changing lanes or turning.
n Don’t offend others’ senses. Avoid unnecessary use of the horn or high-beam headlights. When using your radio, make sure not to inflict your music choice on other drivers.
n When parking, don’t use more than one parking space and be careful when opening your door. Don’t let it hit another vehicle.
Q: I’ve read several seminar advertisements for estate planning and am confused by some of the terms they use. Can you provide a simple explanation for a living will and a living trust?
A: Unfamiliar terms can be very confusing, and many times, words that appear to mean the same thing are, in fact, very different. I’ll try to provide a definition for the terms you mentioned plus others that automatically fall into a discussion on estate planning.
A living will is a written declaration in which you dictate your wishes about artificial life support. It allows you to specify your desires to your physician as to whether life-sustaining measures are desired to preserve your life in the event of a terminal illness or injury when recovery is not expected.
Another term you may encounter in estate planning involves an advance directive for health care. It covers a broader range of health care decisions and allows you to name a person as your agent to speak for you if you are unable to speak for yourself.
A living trust is concerned with your property (assets). It allows you to place your property into the trust while you are living. When you die, those properties in the trust automatically go to your heirs without having to go through probate. While you save on probate fees, there are expenses associated with setting up a trust.
A will also dictates how your property will be distributed after your death. It affects only property owned by you that does not automatically pass through joint tenancy or a designated beneficiary.
Before your estate can be distributed by will, it must go through the probate process. Preparation of a will is less expensive than setting up a living trust, but there are fees associated with probate.
I hope these simple definitions help a little.
Q: My aunt, who is not in the best of health, lives out of state. I would like to assist her from here. Do you know of any way to obtain information about what is available in her location?
A: The Eldercare Locator is a nationwide directory assistance service designed to help those providing long-distance assistance. The Eldercare Locator is available from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time Monday through Friday. The toll-free number is 800-677-1116. The locator will be able to provide organization names and telephone numbers so you may contact them directly.
Betty Berry is a senior advocate for Senior Concerns. The advocates are located at the Goebel Senior Adult Center, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362; phone 495-6250 or email firstname.lastname@example.org (please include your telephone number). You are invited to submit questions on senior issues.