the real/estate blog


A made-for-TV movie – except it’s real

Posted in Elder abuse,Estate Planning,Seniors,Substitute Decisions by Cesia Green on September 6, 2011

I came across this story today, which seems to combine the worst elements of elder abuse and fraud. In a nutshell: Frank Blumeyer, a wealthy resident of Naples, Florida, befriended his neighbours, Allen and Marcia Brufsky. Within a year, he had loaned them significant amounts of money, and was allegedly having an affair with Marcia at Allen’s insistence (Allen at one point supposedly offered to “sell” Marcia to Frank in an email).

Frank’s children have claimed that the Brufskys victimized their father in order to squeeze as much money as possible from him. The Brufskys claim that they were close friends who were paid for their assistance. They have also produced a will that purports to have left a portion of Frank’s estate to Marcia; Frank’s children claim that he was at a family function all day on the date that the will was allegedly signed, and that there is no way that he signed a will that day. Whoever is right, this estate will likely take significantly longer to administer than would an average estate.

Elder abuse – whether physical, verbal, emotional or financial, or neglect – is becoming a more serious problem as North American populations age. Like so many other forms of abuse, while the perpetrators are sometimes strangers, more often than not they are trusted friends or family members who take advantage of an elderly person’s vulnerability. Whether from external pressure or improperly using a power of attorney, financial abuse of seniors is on the rise. Frank Blumeyer’s story is, sadly, a cautionary tale of what can happen.

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Wouldn’t it be nice…

Posted in Mortgages,Real Estate,Seniors by Cesia Green on July 15, 2011

Many of us have seen the commercial: happy elderly people paying for renovations, trips and university education for their grandchildren through a reverse mortgage. I came across this excellent post from the Retire Happy blog, which details the pros and cons of a reverse mortgage. There are many advantages to these plans: income is tax-free, there are no monthly payments, and the repayment will never be higher than the value of your home, to name a few. However, there are some distinct negatives as well. Interest rapidly accumulates, for one, as you are not paying it regularly. There are only two companies doing reverse mortgages in Canada, and interest rates are correspondingly high, at least partly because of a lack of competition.

The bottom line? Always get advice from a third party, whether that is a financial planner, accountant or lawyer, or even all of the above. A reverse mortgage may be right for you, but it could also seriously harm your financial health in the long term.