the Probate Judge—Senior Legal Handbook
Rudd, appeared January 26, 2006, Albuquerque Journal, Business Outlook
Reprinted with permission
Editor's note: This
column may not be quoted or reproduced in whole or part without express written
permission of the author.
The State Bar Lawyer Referral for the Elderly Program and New Mexico State
Bar Foundation have published an updated "New Mexico Senior Legal Handbook."
My fellow law school classmates and I compiled the first Senior Citizens Handbook
in 1989, so it is delightful to finally have an updated and expanded edition
dated August 2005.
The new version of the Handbook includes information about:
- Financial Benefits Available
to Seniors, including social security, disability, supplemental security income,
veterans benefits, railroad worker benefits, state financial assistance, pension,
tax and utility assistance;
- Medicare, Medicaid and
Other Long Term Care Benefits, including information about Medicare Part D
low-income subsidies, prescription drug benefits, nursing facilities, long-term
care planning, and comparisons of long-term care facilities;
- Consumer Protection issues,
including your rights as consumers; consumer transactions; credit purchases;
contracts; shopping by phone, mail and the internet; warranties; consumer
fraud; door to door sales; telephone solicitation; identifying various scams;
- Housing topics, including
public housing, landlord/tenant rights and responsibilities, eviction, and
mobile home park living;
- Property Ownership, including
forms of property ownership, community property, deeds, capital gains tax
breaks for homeowners, and borrowing against your home equity;
- Health Care Decision-Making
and Estate Planning, including end of life decision making, organ donation,
funeral and cremation plans, powers of attorney, conservatorships and guardianships,
wills, transfer on death deeds, beneficiary accounts, and probate;
- Family Relationships,
including grandparent rights, kinship guardianship, financial assistance,
divorce, and domestic violence;
- Special Caregiving Situations,
including family caregiver support; Alzheimer's disease; home health care;
hospice; caring for disabled adult children; and exploitation, abuse and neglect
- Insurance, including
automobile, homeowners, life, and credit insurance; and
- Discrimination, including
overviews of New Mexico and federal laws.
Additional resources are listed at the end of each chapter.
The handbook provides an understandable overview of and introduction to various
laws, legal issues, and programs. While this handbook is not intended to substitute
for legal advice, it should help seniors, those who work with seniors, caretakers,
and others know what programs and benefits are available federally and within
You can read the 131-page document for free on the web at www.nmbar.org. Click
on "Publications/Media," then under "Public Resources"
click on "New! Senior Legal Handbook." A PDF version of the manual
should appear on your computer screen if you have Adobe Acrobat Reader. If
you do not have access to the internet or Acrobat, you can read the Handbook
for free on line at any public library. If you want to print a copy, you can
download the PDF file from the web site and print it. I do not know if libraries
charge for printing.
If you lack computer access, the State Bar's Lawyer Referral for the Elderly
program has a very limited supply of hard copies of the Handbook still available
for free. In Albuquerque, call 797-6005. Outside of Albuquerque, call 1-800-876-6657.
Local senior citizens centers around New Mexico may also have limited copies
2006, Merri Rudd & Albuquerque Journal, All Rights Reserved