FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 25, 2019
Contact: Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936
Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391
DPHHS to provide Legal Document Clinics in Hamilton April 25-26
The confusion surrounding Powers of Attorney (POA) and Guardianships is a major cause of financial exploitation, as well as a vehicle through which Montana’s seniors are being exploited. And, according to state health department experts, a major reason for senior exploitation in Montana is the lack of knowledge of estate planning documents such as POAs.
To help address these and others related issues, the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) is hosting a two-day legal document clinic April 25-26 in Hamilton at the Hamilton Senior Center located at 820 N 4th Street from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Kelly Moorse Memorial Legal Document Clinics are a series of clinics repeated through the year, and Hamilton is the first one on the schedule. The clinics are sponsored by the DPHHS Legal Service Developer Program.
The two-day clinic is comprised of a one-day training for community members to learn how to screen for senior exploitation and a one-day clinic where legal professionals from around the state offer pro bono estate planning and other legal services to seniors 60 years and older.
“Our overarching goal is to serve victims of senior financial exploitation, train legal and aging professionals, and find innovative ways to reach remote and isolated seniors,” said DPHHS Director Sheila Hogan said. “The clinic is one method we use to reach and identify senior victims of exploitation.”
A major reason for senior exploitation in Montana is the lack of knowledge of estate planning documents like Powers of Attorney (POAs), Guardianships, and Health Directives.
“Those exploiting seniors often use a POA to control a senior’s entire life, even though the document does not legally grant them this ability,” said Katy Lovell, DPHHS Legal Services Developers Program Director.
During the clinics, staff and volunteers not only educate seniors, but also financial, healthcare, and law enforcement professionals on what Powers of Attorney do and do not allow. The clinics present an important opportunity to reach seniors and communities and provide an access point to report and disclose financial exploitation, abuse and neglect.
At clinics, seniors are able to complete estate planning documents with volunteer legal professionals in collaboration with DPHHS Aging Services staff.
In 2019, clinics will be held in Hamilton, Glasgow, Hardin, Wilsall, Libby, and Billings. For more information on the clinics and other services for seniors, visit: https://dphhs.mt.gov/SLTC/aging/legalservicesdeveloper
2019 Legal Document Clinic schedule:
- April 25-26, Hamilton
- May 15-16, Glasgow
- June 12-13, Hardin
- July 17-18, Wilsall
- August 21-22, Libby
- October 22-23, Billings