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 VOL. 9, ISSUE 7 - JULY 2016

In This Issue

Money Matters: Managing a Loved One’s Financial Affairs

Diamond Certified Preferred Consumer Card

The Right Way to Dispose of Unused and Expired Medications

Consumer Feedback:
Statcomm Inc.


New
Diamond Certified Companies


Savvy Tips of the Month

Preparing for
a Road Trip


Moving Up and
Moving Out


Tile Roof
Maintenance


Diamond Certified Quick Links

SAVVY CONSUMER TIPS

DIAMOND CERTIFIED
PREFERRED CONSUMER


DIAMOND CERTIFIED
COMPANIES


PERFORMANCE
GUARANTEE


DIAMOND CERTIFIED
DIFFERENCE

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Money Matters: Managing a Loved One’s Financial Affairs

 
If you have an aging loved one in your life, make sure you’re prepared to help them maintain their physical and financial well-being. Photo: Chris Bjorklund (2016)

My brothers and I are fortunate to still have our 95-year-old mother in our lives, but we do have a lot of responsibility for her physical and financial well-being. We’ve helped her with estate planning, medical directives and investments, and we manage her bills, doctors’ appointments, medications, and caregivers. My older brother, a certified public accountant, has power of attorney. Like most families, we have a lot going on and it can be overwhelming at times.

Despite our collective efforts to keep things organized and do advance planning, we’ve had some glitches. No one can find her safety deposit box key, so we haven’t inventoried what’s in there. My mother’s important papers (life insurance policy, funeral home and cemetery contracts) are in several different places due to her many moves. Medical records are difficult to compile due to multiple hospitalizations and surgeries over the past five years. She can’t remember some of her past doctors’ names or medication allergies.

The latest wrinkle involved her credit card. She keeps it on hand for taxis, and family members use it to buy her personal items. Most stores don’t notice that it has her name on it, not mine or my brothers’. Recently, when my brother charged items at a local drugstore, the cashier reported it to the credit card company because she noticed a man using a card with a woman’s name on it. Fraud was suspected and the account was shut down, which was certainly the right thing to do.

Next, the credit card company began investigating the “fraud” by calling my mom. First, this upset her. Second, she couldn’t hear what they were saying on the phone due to hearing loss. Third, she couldn’t confirm her card number because my brother still had her card. And the worst part was they wouldn’t talk to my younger brother or me about the matter (I only wanted them to stop calling her) because we weren’t authorized on the account. Meanwhile, they kept calling my mom repeating the same questions. My brother with power of attorney was asked to fax in proof, but he no longer had a fax machine, so this went on all day. Finally, my younger brother was able to get on the phone with my mom by his side and sort everything out with a supervisor. The account was re-opened and all of our names were added as authorized users.

We got into this mess because we hadn’t set things up properly once we took over her finances. All this aggravation could have been avoided. We should have had cards issued in our own names and then linked them to my mom’s account. If you need help with this, simply talk to the bank that issued the credit card and they’ll get you the right setup.

If you have aging loved ones in your life, you should think about preparing for future changes in mental and physical health before you’re in an emergency situation. Unfortunate things happen, but the more prepared you are, the easier things will be for the entire family. I’ve listed a few useful resources to get you started:

  1. Get It Together: Organize Your Records So Your Family Won’t Have To, Melanie Cullen and Shae Irving, J.D., Nolo Press
  2. How to Care for Aging Parents, 3rd Edition: A One-Stop Resource for All Your Medical, Financial, Housing and Emotional Issues, Virginia Morris, Workman Publishing Company
  3. Hospice by the Bay Estate Planning Organizer
  4. Estate Documents Organizer, Julie Jones

Chris Bjorklund signature
Chris BjorklundChris Bjorklund
The Savvy Consumer
Email: chrisbjorklund@diamondcertified.org
Twitter: twitter.com/ASavvyConsumer
Blog: blog.diamondcertified.org

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Diamond Certified Preferred Consumer Card

Diamond Certified® Preferred Customer Card

Have you signed up to become a Diamond Certified Preferred Consumer? Membership is always free and comes with numerous benefits, including a special member hotline, members-only access to additional tools on diamondcertified.org, a double Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee and more. Join now to get a free copy of the 2016 Summer Diamond Certified Directory Update! Visit www.diamondcertified.org/user/register to get started.
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The Right Way to Dispose of Unused and Expired Medications

 
Many drugstores have disposal bins for old and unwanted medication. Photo: Chris Bjorklund (2016)

I went on a tear recently: getting rid of things, making donations, and recycling old paint, e-waste and, yes, all those unused and expired medications. I bagged up everything from five-year-old antibiotics to prescriptions that caused allergic reactions so they couldn’t be consumed. I found old vitamins, expired Imodium, stale Metamucil, and bad sunscreen and mosquito repellant. I had a grocery bag full of stuff that sat in a corner in my garage waiting for action.

Most of these things can’t be thrown away or flushed down the toilet, so I went to my local pharmacy to get help. The pharmacist gave me a list of drugstores that have disposal bins for old and unwanted non-controlled medicines (controlled substances should be dropped off at police stations). These drugstores say to remove identifying information when disposing of prescription drugs. By the way, the Food and Drug Administration offers a list of medicines that can be flushed down the toilet.

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Kudos from Diamond Certified Consumers

A Letter to Statcomm Inc., a Diamond Certified Company

Dear Rich,

I had an excellent service experience with your company. Your technician did a very good job servicing our gate. He called beforehand as requested (we have a big protection dog that needed to be secured) and arrived on time. He explained what he was doing and showed me how the gate works and what to do if we have a problem. I will definitely use your company again. You have a great employee in Cody. He is personable and knowledgeable…a good combination.

I only use Diamond Certified contractors, and my experience with your company confirms what I have been doing.

J.B., Woodside, CA


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Diamond Certified ® Only companies rated Highest in Quality earn Diamond Certified

Companies Recently Earning Diamond Certified

ALAMEDA COUNTY

Westcoast Plumbing Service, Inc.
Fremont - (510) 770-1700

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY
Abbey Carpets by Fashion Floors

Antioch - (925) 754-7006
Advanced Plumbing and Rooter Service
San Ramon - (925) 383-6100
Martin Family Chiropractic Center
Concord - (925) 681-0801

SAN FRANCISCO
One Source Plumbing and Rooter, Inc.
San Francisco - (415) 570-3646

SANTA CLARA COUNTY
Rescue Air Service, Inc.
San Jose - (408) 655-9916
Western Property Group Inc.
San Jose - (408) 423-8000

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY
Heidi Hart - California Dreaming Real Estate

Santa Cruz - (831) 247-9410

SONOMA COUNTY
D.C.'s Asphalt Maintenance Inc.
Santa Rosa - (415) 577-6705


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