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Know Your Rights! Legal Assistance Hotline Helps Michigan Seniors

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Anne Osmer Reporting

Sharon Gire, director of the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging, does not like getting calls like the one she received recently.

The woman on the other end of the line had just learned that her father-in-law had signed over power of attorney to a nephew, who promised to handle the man’s finances. By the time she made the call, the nephew had sold his uncle’s house and cleaned out his bank account, leaving him virtually penniless.
 
Unfortunately, Gire says, her office receives similar calls every week. In order to combat such abuse, the Michigan OSA has a hotline for free legal assistance, and encourages people to make calls before taking action such as signing a power of attorney or other legal document.
 
The Legal Hotline, run by nonprofit Elder Law of Michigan, is for people age 60 and older who need unbiased information on issues such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, wills, health care, bankruptcy, debt, legal documents such as power of attorney, guardianship and conservatorship, and any other concerns that raise legal questions.
 
The line serves over 5,000 seniors each year.
 
To reach the Legal Hotline call (800) 347-5297. Don’t be deterred: You may have to wait on the line, or leave a message and someone will get back to you.

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