Elders attend "Boot Camp" to learn about laws - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Elders attend 'Boot Camp' to learn about laws

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Usufruct, probate and interdiction. If you don't know those words, you may not have all your legal ducks in a row when it comes to preparing for the future and what will happen if you or your spouse die or become incapacitated.

And there were plenty of other issues tackled at the s- called Elder Law Boot Camp in Lake Charles on Thursday.

Hundreds turned out for the conference at the Lake Charles Civic Center where seniors had a chance to learn about many legal issues, from getting a will to avoiding predatory lenders.

Like many people, Sue Spicer wants to make sure she and her husband plan well so their heirs don't run into legal difficulties.

"I want them to look back and say, 'You know, we had no problems whatsoever. None.  Everything's been taken care of by Mom and Dad,' " said Spicer.

Clearly, the information is in demand as during the breaks, attendees crowded around attorneys such as Mark Judson who was inundated with questions.

"You can't just go buy a will kit online or from a business supply store. You really need to have a will reviewed by a practicing attorney," explained Judson.

Estate planning specialist, attorney Betty Raglin, gave an overview on subjects  power of attorney and wills.

"There is a lot of information out there. Your next door neighbor does not know it. The guy across the street, the person you  used to work with -- they are wonderful sources of misinformation. If you want to know what the rules actually are, talk to an attorney," said Raglin.

Greg Landry with Acadiana Law Center tackled financial issues such as predatory lending.

"Read whatever someone's asking you to sign. We have so many people who come to us and they haven't even read the paperwork that they signed. And that's a horrible time to find out what your rights are and what you've agreed to," said Landry.

And Jane Arieux Thomas from the Governor's Office of Elderly Affairs had tips for those raising grandchildren and what courts consider. 

"They're going to look at whether the grandparent can encourage a relationship between the parent and the grandchild and ultimately the decision will turn on what is in the best interest of the child," said Thomas.

While the boot camp gave plenty food for thought,  those here say it's no substitute for getting individual legal advice for one's own unique situation. The Calcasieu Council on Aging, Louisiana Elder Law Task Force and the Louisiana Governor's Office of Elderly Affairs sponsored the boot camp.

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