Press Releases

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Feb 24, 2014

The Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors includes information about federal benefits programs, estate planning, online security and health care

NASHVILLE, Feb. 24, 2014 – The Tennessee Bar Association released a new handbook today designed to help Tennesseans better understand federal and state benefits, new health care laws and a wide range of other issues of importance to senior citizens. The Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors is available for download on the TBA website and will be the subject of presentations across the state starting this week.

The handbook is a project of TBA President Cindy Wyrick of Sevierville. In announcing the release of the book, Wyrick explained the motivation for creating the new resource. "As difficult as it is to fathom, an average of 7,000 Americans are becoming senior citizens each day and this dramatic increase in the senior population is expected to continue for years to come. With that in mind, it was important to me to do something meaningful to assist this rapidly growing, but typically underserved, segment of the population." Wyrick also noted that the current senior population growth represents the largest single population explosion in U.S. history. "Despite this fact, information and resources for our senior citizens are often fragmented, out-of-date and difficult to find. The Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors will fill that gap by providing practical advice in an easy to read format," she said.

Some of the specific issues addressed by the handbook include:

•    Applying for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and veterans benefits.
•    Understanding tax and housing laws that impact seniors.
•    Protecting pensions and retirement accounts.
•    Having wills, powers of attorney, living wills and advance directives prepared.
•    Selecting an assisted living center, nursing home or home care provider.
•    Evaluating consumer products such as reverse mortgages, long-term care insurance and funeral services.
•    Dealing with credit cards, credit rating bureaus, collection agencies and telemarketers.
•    Avoiding fraud and scams targeted at seniors.
•    Avoiding identity theft when using the web and social media sites.
•    Protecting one's personal security.
•    Understanding the new health care law.
•    Working with a legal professional.
•    Recognizing and reporting elder abuse and age discrimination.

The 330-page handbook is available as a free download from the TBA website and users are welcome to print it and make copies to share with friends and family. The handbook will be an ongoing project for the association and will be updated as laws and program requirements change.

Those who want to learn more are invited to attend one of several live presentations taking place this week as part of the handbook launch and throughout the month of March. The TBA website includes a list of events, contacts to request an event in your area and information about presenting the material or receiving training to give presentations.

The Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors was developed by the TBA Public Education Committee under the leadership of Knoxville lawyer and Co-Chair Angelia Nystrom. A full list of volunteers who assisted with the project is also available on the website. Staff support was provided by Liz Todaro.