How Often Should You Update Your Will or Estate Plan?

Today’s Elder Care Matters Q&A provides guidance regarding how often you should update your Will or Estate Plan

Question: How Often Should I Be Updating My Will or Estate Plan?

Answer: You should update your estate plan every 3-5 years on average. This should take place sooner if you experience significant life-changing events such as:

  • Marriage: If you marry someone, this is invariably going to affect your estate plan. A marriage is one of the most important life events, and you want to make sure your spouse is properly accounted for according to your wishes.
  • Divorce: Like marriage, this is one of the most significant life events, albeit a more unpleasant one. You want to make sure you adjust your plan so that your ex does not end up receiving more than you intended
  • Bearing children: If you have more children or even if you end up welcoming stepchildren into your life, you you may want to set up trusts or other arrangements to make sure they are provided for.
  • Dealing with family deaths: If a family member dies before your estate plan would kick in, then you should revisit your plan and remove the deceased person.
  • Acquiring significant property: If you buy a house, inherit property, or encounter some kind of windfall, then you would want to add this to your plan, deciding who it would go to.
  • Starting or dissolving a business: Your estate plan should specify what happens to the business if you are unable to make business decisions, are incapacitated, or die. This can avoid a lot of chaos down the line.
  • Moving between states: Anytime you move, chances are high that your assets and financial arrangements may change or shift. In addition different treatment of assets in different states can complicate matters. It is best to speak with an attorney if you move to a different state or acquire property in other states.

These are just some of the most common reasons to more frequently revisit your estate plan. If you maintain regular communication with your estate planning attorney, he will alert you when you should sit down and look at it again.

Today’s Answer was provided by Don L. Rosenberg, Attorney and Counselor, with Barron, Rosenberg, Mayoras & Mayoras, P.C. in Troy, Michigan.  Attorney Rosenberg is a Partner Member in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance.

21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories

If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this issue or with any Elder Care / Senior Care matter, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.

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IRS Now Allows IRA Distribution Deferrals

Today’s Elder Care Matters Q&A is about the IRS’s recent decision to permit Seniors to defer taking Minimum Required Distributions

Question: Has the Internal Revenue Service changed its policy about annual minimum required distributions from retirement accounts such as IRAs and 401Ks?

Answer: Required minimum distributions from retirement accounts such as IRAs and 401Ks have been problematic for many seniors who do not necessarily need to take money out of their accounts to meet their expenses. The rules have required seniors to withdraw minimum amounts from their retirement accounts beginning at age 70½ based on their life expectancies as determined each year by complicated IRS charts.

However, as Smoke Signals reports in “A new, liberating IRA option is available,” seniors now have the choice to take lower amounts out of their retirement accounts.

The new policy allows account holders to defer up to $125,000 or 25% of the total amount in their accounts, whichever is lower. The amount deferred does not factor into the required minimum distribution calculation.

The deferment can be taken until age 85, but the money must be placed in a qualified longevity annuity contract as the only premium payment of that annuity. The money placed into the annuity will continue to grow and payments will be made on the annuity when the deferment age is reached.

For seniors who do not need to take money out of their retirement accounts, this new option allows them to continue to increase their income if they wish to preserve those accounts as part of their estates or if they anticipate living longer and might need the money later.

Today’s Answer was provided by Scott A. Makuakane, Esq., CFP, Founder of  Est8Planning Counsel LLLC in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Attorney Makuakane is a Partner Member in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance.

21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories

If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this issue or with any Elder Care / Senior Care matter, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.

#eldercarematters, #eldercare, #eldercareanswers, #seniorcareanswers,  #eldercaredirectories, #seniorcaredirectories, #findseniorcareprofessionals, #findseniorcareexperts, #elderlawanswers, #seniorcare, #seniorcarematters, #findeldercareprofessionals, #findelderlawattorneys, #findestateplanningattorneys


What does the legal term “Intestacy” mean?

Today’s Elder Care Matters Q&A is about the meaning and consequences of the legal term “Intestacy”

Question:  I’ve read a lot recently about the legal term “Intestacy”.  What exactly does this mean and what are the consequences of this to the elderly and to their families?

Answer:  If a person dies without making a Will he/she dies intestate. Without a Will, a decedent’s property will pass according to the State of Connecticut Intestate Succession Laws. If you are thinking that “intestacy” sounds like some sort of sickness, you may not be too far off the mark. When you see how the state distributes the funds of those who die intestate… you may feel a little sick.

In Connecticut, State statutes provide that if a person dies intestate, and there are children that are the children of the decedent and the spouse, the surviving spouse will receive the first $100,000 plus one half of the balance of the intestate estate. The children will receive the remainder. For example, assume a $500,000 estate: The spouse will receive $300,000 ($100,000 plus half of the remaining $400,000) and the children will receive the remaining $200,000 in equal proportions ($100,000 each). Now let us suppose that there is only one child who is 18 years-old. Even a very mature 18 year-old may have difficulty handling a check for $200,000.

Typically, when most people plan out their estate, they want all of their assets to go to the surviving spouse and not to their children. The thought is that the surviving spouse is in the best position to use the assets wisely for the benefit of the children. In many scenarios it does not make sense to hand a large sum of cash over to a child or young adult. Imagine trying to convince an 18 year-old into investing his/her money in a college education — good luck.

The rules are different if the decedent had children that were not children of the surviving spouse. In this case, the surviving spouse would receive one-half of the intestate estate, and the children would receive the balance. This solution seems to be based in logic. The state wants to make sure that the step-children of the surviving spouse are not taken advantage of by a person who is not related to them by blood. While this plan works in preventing the aforementioned problem, it still puts money into the hands of people who may not be ready to handle it. With a Will based plan you can direct where your assets go, as well as direct appropriate measures to protect your children from the problems that come with receiving a large sum of money outright.

If there are no children of the decedent, but the decedent is survived by a parent or parents, the spouse does not receive the entire intestate estate. In this scenario the surviving spouse will receive the first $100,000 plus three-quarters of the balance, and the parents would receive the balance of the estate. Furthermore, if there are no heirs to the estate, the decedent’s money, property, etc., will escheat to the state and the state will become the owner. It’s probably not a coincidence that you cannot spell escheat without “c-h-e-a-t.”

As you can see from the above sampling from the Connecticut Intestate Succession Statutes, by not planning for the disposition of your property the state has a plan for you. It should be no surprise that control freaks hate the laws of intestacy. It takes control (albeit control that was never exercised) of a person’s hand and vests that control with the State, who then applies cookie cutter solutions for unique situations. The only way to avoid intestacy is to make sure that you have a validly executed Will. Any other plan will fall short.

Today’s Answer was provided by George P. Guertin, Esq. of the law firm of Guertin and Guertin, LLC in North Haven, Connecticut.  Attorney Guertin is a Partner Member in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance.

21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories

If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this issue or with any Elder Care / Senior Care matter, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.

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How to Find an Elder Law Attorney

Today’s Elder Care Matters Q&A is about How to Find an Elder Law Attorney

Question:  I’m trying to find an Elder Law Attorney.  What steps should I take to locate a competent, caring attorney who can help me with our family’s Elder Care Matters?

Answer:  Legal problems that affect the elderly are growing in number. Our laws and regulations are becoming more complex. Actions taken by older people with regard to a single matter may have unintended legal effects. It is important for attorneys dealing with the elderly to have a broad understanding of the laws that may have an impact on a given situation, to avoid future problems.

Unfortunately, this job is not made easy by the fact that Elder Law encompasses many different fields of law.

Some of these include:

  • Preservation/transfer of assets seeking to avoid spousal impoverishment when a spouse enters a nursing home
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare claims and appeals
  • Social security and disability claims and appeals
  • Supplemental and long term health insurance issues.
  • Disability planning, including use of durable powers of attorney, living trusts, “living wills,” for financial management and health care decisions, and other means of delegating management and decision-making to another in case of incompetency or incapacity.
  • Conservatorships and guardianships
  • Estate planning, including planning for the management of one’s estate during life and its disposition on death through the use of trusts, wills and other planning documents
  • Probate
  • Administration and management of trusts and estates
  • Long-term care placements in nursing home and life care communities
  • Nursing home issues including questions of patients’ rights and nursing home quality
  • Elder abuse and fraud recovery cases
  • Housing issues, including discrimination and home equity conversions
  • Age discrimination in employment
  • Retirement, including public and private retirement benefits, survivor benefits and pension benefits
  • Health law
  • Mental health law

Most Elder Law attorneys do not specialize in every one of these areas.

So when an attorney says he/she practices Elder Law, find out which of these matters he/she handles. You will want to hire the attorney who regularly handles matters in the area of concern in your particular case and who will know enough about the other fields to question whether the action being taken might be affected by laws in any of the other areas of law on the list.

For example, if you are going to rewrite your will and your spouse is ill, the estate planner needs to know enough about Medicaid to know whether it is an issue with regard to your spouse’s inheritance.

Attorneys who primarily work with the elderly bring more to their practice than an expertise in the appropriate area of law. They bring to their practice knowledge of the elderly that allows them and their staff to ignore the myths relating to aging and the competence of the elderly. At the same time, they will take into account and empathize with some of the true physical and mental difficulties that often accompany the aging process. Their understanding of the afflictions of the aged allows them to determine more easily the difference between the physical versus the mental disability of a client. They are more aware of real life problems, health and otherwise, that tend to crop up as persons age. They are tied into a formal or informal system of social workers, psychologists and other elder care professionals who may be of assistance to you. All of these things will hopefully make you more comfortable when dealing with them and ease your way as you try to resolve your legal problem.

Finding an Elder Law attorney

Your first question may be: How do I find an Elder Law attorney? Before making the effort, step back a moment and try to determine whether you actually have a legal problem in which an attorney needs to be involved. If you’re not sure, ask your clergy, your social worker, your financial advisor, or a trusted friend to help you decide whether this is a legal issue rather than a medical or a social services issue. Legal expertise is expensive and it serves you well to know that you actually need legal assistance before seeking an attorney.

There are many places to find an attorney in your city or state who specializes in problems of the elderly. This Web site, ElderCareMatters.com, includes a searchable directory of attorneys with expertise in a wide range of Elder Care Matters.  In addition to finding Elder Law attorneys near you, this site provides you with substantive, up-to-date information to help you plan for and deal with your family’s elder care matters.

If you know any attorneys ask them for a referral to an elder law attorney. An attorney is in a good position to know who handles such issues and whether that person is a good attorney. Such persons are often the best and safest sources of referrals.

Ask Questions First

Ask lots of questions before selecting an Elder Law attorney. You don’t want to end up in the office of an attorney who can’t help you. Start with the initial phone call. It is not unusual to speak only to a secretary, receptionist or office manager during an initial call or before actually meeting with the attorney. If so, ask this person your questions.

  • How long has the attorney been in practice?
  • Does his/her practice emphasize a particular area of law?
  • How long has he/she been in this field?
  • What percentage of his/her practice is devoted to elder law?
  • Does he/she have any advanced designations – CELA, Fellow or CAP
  • Is there a fee for the first consultation and if so, how much is it?
  • Given the nature of your problem, what information should you bring with you to the initial consultation?

The answers to your questions will assist you in determining whether that particular attorney has those qualifications important to you for a successful attorney/client relationship. If you have a specific legal issue that requires immediate attention, be sure to inform the office of this during the initial telephone conversation.

Once You Have Found an Attorney

When you have found an appropriate attorney, make an appointment to see him/her. During the initial consultation, you will be asked to give the attorney an overview of the reason you are seeking assistance, so be sure to organize and bring all the information pertinent to your situation.  After you have explained your situation, ask:

  • What will it take to resolve it?
  • Are there any alternative courses of action?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each possibility?
  • Who will handle your case?
  • Has that attorney handled matters of this kind in the past?
  • If a trial may be involved, does he/she do trial work? If not, who does the trial work? If so, how many trials has he/she handled?
  • Is that attorney a member of the local bar association, its health advocacy committee, or trust and estates committee?
  • Is that attorney a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys?
  • How are fees computed?
  • What is his/her estimate of the cost to resolve your problem and how long will it take?

Discussing Fees

There are many different ways of charging fees and each attorney will choose to work differently. Be aware of how your attorney charges. You will also want to know how often he/she bills. Some attorneys bill weekly, some bill monthly, some bill upon completion of work. Ask about these matters at the initial conference, so there will be no surprises! If you don’t understand, ask again. If you need clarification, say so. It is very important that you feel comfortable in this area.

Some attorneys charge by the hour with different hourly rates for work performed by attorneys, paralegals and secretaries. If this is the case, find out what the rates are. Other attorneys charge a flat fee for all or part of the services. This is not unusual, for example, if you are having documents prepared. Your attorney might use a combination of these billing methods.

In addition to fees, most attorneys will charge you out-of-pocket expenses. Out-of-pocket expenses typically include charges for copies, postage, messenger fees, court fees, disposition fees, long distance telephone calls and other such costs. Find out if there will be any other incidental costs.

The attorney may ask for a retainer. This is money paid before the attorney starts working on your case. It is usually placed in a trust account and each time the attorney bills you, he/she pays himself or herself out of that account. Expenses may be paid directly from the trust account. The size of the retainer may range from a small percentage of the estimated cost to the full amount.

Get It in Writing

Once you decide to hire the attorney, ask that your arrangement be put in writing. The writing can be a letter or a formal contract. It should spell out what services the attorney will perform for you and what the fee and expense arrangement will be. REMEMBER– even if your agreement remains oral and is not put into writing, you have made a contract and are responsible for all charges for work done by the attorney and his/her staff.

A positive and open relationship between attorney and client benefits everyone. The key to getting it is communication. The communication starts with asking the kinds of questions contained in this document. Use the answers to the questions as a guide not only to the attorney’s qualification, but also as a way of determining whether you can comfortably work with this person.

  • If your concerns are given short shrift;
  • if you don’t like the answers to these questions;
  • if you don’t like the attorney’s reaction to being asked all those questions or if you simply do not feel relaxed with this particular person

DO NOT HIRE THAT PERSON. Only if you are satisfied with the attorney you have hired from the very start will you trust him or her to do the best job for you. Only if you have established a relationship of open communication will you be able to resolve any difficulties which may arise between the two of you. If you take the time to make sure that you are happy right at the beginning you can make this a productive experience for both you and the attorney.

You will thank yourself, and your attorney will thank you.

Today’s Answer was provided by Stephen J. Silverberg, Esq., of  the Law Office of Stephen J. Silverberg in Roslyn Heights, New York.  Attorney Silverberg is a Partner Member in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance.

21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories

If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with Medicaid Issues or with any Elder Care / Senior Care matter, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.

#eldercarematters, #eldercare, #eldercareanswers, #seniorcareanswers,  #eldercaredirectories, #seniorcaredirectories, #findseniorcareprofessionals, #findseniorcareexperts, #elderlawanswers, #seniorcare, #seniorcarematters, #findeldercareprofessionals, #findelderlawattorneys, #findestateplanningattorneys, #findmedicaidattorneys


Today’s ElderCare Matters Q&A is about Online Estate Planning Documents

Question:  Would you please provide us with your comments regards the use of online estate planning documents?

Answer:  In estate planning, one size does not fit all. Over the years, I have found that no two families are alike.  Each family has unique issues and online documents typically cannot address those issues.  If your issues are overlooked or ignored, your estate plan will probably not work the way you intended. Most online documents lack the proper customization you need to address these overlooked or ignored issues.

  • For example, when you begin the online document process, the software will ask you for basic information such as who you want to serve as your children’s guardian under your Will. After careful consideration, you determine that you want your sister and her husband (your brother-in-law) to serve as co-guardians of your children under your online Will.  After completing and signing your Will, you think your children will be properly cared for if something happens to you.  However, do you want your brother-in-law raising your children if he and your sister get divorced or if your sister passes away?  As a named co-guardian, your brother-in-law can present a strong case to the court that he should raise your children pursuant to the Will.  Although it was your intention for him to raise your children with your sister, the Will does not address what happens upon death or divorce.  An estate planning attorney should be able to recognize this co-guardian issue and could implement the appropriate contingency in your Will that would remove him as guardian upon your sister’s death or divorce.  If you use online documents to name your children’s guardian, you might be unaware of this issue or unable to customize your documents to address that concern.
  • Furthermore, a lack of customization with online documents might cause the inclusion of wrong provisions in your documents. One essential estate planning document is the financial power of attorney (POA).  This document allows your designated agent to make financial decisions for you on your behalf.  A POA usually contains large amounts of standard boilerplate provisions that can be confusing to some people and may not be applicable to your situation.  For example, buried in your online POA might be a provision that allows your agent to make unlimited gifts to anyone.  For some, unlimited gifting might be necessary.  For others, unlimited gifting simply gives your agent a wonderful opportunity to deplete all of your assets.  Unfortunately, elder abuse is very common and it’s usually done by those who are appointed as POA.

Online document providers are not attorneys and do not counsel and recommend what provisions you should have in your documents.  Online providers do provide an option for you to consult with an attorney.  Will that attorney practice near you and be available to meet with you face to face?  Will you be able to select an attorney that has the experience in estate planning that you need?

In conclusion, those who use online estate planning documents might think that estate planning is as simple as filling names into blanks.  In reality, estate planning is complicated and needs to be customized to your specific needs even in the simplest of situations.  Simply filling in blanks can cause chaos for your loved ones down the road.  Online estate planning websites want you to believe that you have peace of mind that your affairs will be in order because ignorance is bliss! It has been often said that every attorney who represent himself or herself is a fool.

Today’s Answer was provided by William E. Hesch, Esq., of The William E. Hesch Law Firm in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Attorney Hesch is a Partner Member in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance.

21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories

If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with Medicaid Issues or with any Elder Care / Senior Care matter, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.

#eldercarematters, #eldercare, #eldercareanswers, #seniorcareanswers,  #eldercaredirectories, #seniorcaredirectories, #findseniorcareprofessionals, #findseniorcareexperts, #elderlawanswers, #seniorcare, #seniorcarematters, #findeldercareprofessionals, #findelderlawattorneys, #findestateplanningattorneys, #findmedicaidattorneys

 


Today’s ElderCare Matters Q&A Focuses on Whether Living Longer is Worth It If You’re Not Living Healthy

Question:  Is Living Longer Worth It If You’re Not Living Healthy?

Answer:  While more people are celebrating triple-digit birthdays than ever before, many have to take their insulin shot before enjoying a piece of birthday cake. Older adults are the largest consumer of medications with more than 40 percent of people over age 65 taking five or more prescriptions. While new medical interventions have significantly improved longevity, in some cases Western medicine may be a crutch for living with chronic diseases rather than making lifestyle changes.

According to seven papers published recently by the Lancet, people worldwide are living longer but sicker. Advances in medical science and drastic improvements in sanitation have decreased the amount of premature deaths and allowed people to live into old age—but at what cost?

The report is the first expansive, global look at life expectancy and health threats involving more than 480 researchers in 50 countries. Based on the data they gathered from surveys, censuses, and studies, the greatest global contributors to the health burden are chronic disease, injuries, mental health conditions, and joint and bone diseases. To give perspective, take a look at some of the eye-opening statistics presented in the report:

  • In people aged 15-49, diabetes is a bigger killer in Africa than in Western Europe (8.8 deaths vs. 1 death per 100,000).
  • Globally, heart disease and stroke remain the top killers.
  • Lung cancer moved to the 5th cause of death globally, while other cancers including those of the stomach, liver, and colon are also in the top 20.

This report begs the question, “Is living longer worth it if you are not living healthy?” Preventative medicine is a growing trend in which diet, exercise, and lifestyle play a major role. Instead of treating medical conditions when they arise, incorporating a healthy lifestyle may decrease your risk of health complications and increase your quality of life as you age.

With about four out of five seniors affected by a chronic condition such as heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes, decreased quality of life is not the only consequence—medical care is extremely costly. According to the American Hospital Association, Medicare costs are skyrocketing. “People with chronic disease are more likely to be hospitalized than those without, and the resources required for each episode of care are greater. This translates into higher spending overall.”

Healthy Living does not just add years to your life, but adds life to your years. In the end, your health is your choice. Choose wisely.

If you are looking for solutions to help you with weight loss, energy & performance, healthy aging and wealth creation, then please contact us so that we may guide you along your path to a healthier, happier YOU.


Today’s Elder Care Matters Q&A is about Transferring Title of Home for Medicaid Purposes

My mother is 83 with dementia. It’s to the point that she needs nursing home care. I have been her caretaker for the last 4 years. The home we live in is in both of our names. We want to transfer into my name only. She will have to go on Medicaid.  May I have your advice please as to the proper way of handling this?

Answer: You need to meet immediately with an Elder Law Attorney who is knowledgeable about Medicaid in your state. First it is necessary to address the issue of authority to transfer the home. Does your mother have mental capacity to sign legal documents? It is important to understand that capacity is a legal issue, not a medical one. Further, there are multiple forms of capacity, most commonly testamentary capacity and contractual capacity. A medical diagnosis is not determinative of capacity. There are set rules for determining capacity. However it is important to understand that capacity can fluctuate from day to day or based upon the hour of the day. Individuals with dementia can suffer from something called sundowners, whereby they may have capacity early in the morning, but lack it by the end of the day. So, the first thing you need to do is work with an Elder Law Attorney to determine if your mother currently has legal capacity. If your mother currently has capacity, she can sign the deed without the need for a power of attorney, though you certainly want Durable Powers of Attorney for Health and Durable Powers of Attorney for Property to be able to assist her.

Assuming that she lacks capacity, but has Powers of Attorney in place, the next question is whether the Durable Power of Attorney grants the agent authority to gift or transfer property and if you are the named agent whether it also allows for self-dealing in certain circumstances. Most people do not understand that all Durable Powers of Attorney are not the same. While most States have a statutory form, which is what many people use without modification, the Durable Power of Attorney statutes are designed to allow significant modifications to the extent and nature of the powers granted. Many people and Attorneys believe that a standard form covers everything, frequently relying on the apparent broad authority granted on the face of the document. Unfortunately that is not true. As an Elder Law Attorney the Durable Powers of Attorney I prepare for my Clients contain substantial modifications which allow the agent to take specific actions, including steps to transfer property to a child caregiver under Medicaid.

It is also essential to understand that Medicaid, unlike Medicare, is not a matter of right. You must understand that the burden of proof is on you to establish that you meet all the criteria to qualify. Unfortunately while the laws are published, the State agencies in charge of Medicaid frequently do not publish or advise you what exactly is required to establish your rights. In most States there has been active efforts to reduce the number of people on Medicaid and whether it has been done by changing the statutes or by modifying the procedural requirements, both written and unwritten, large numbers of qualified individuals that have had their applications denied because of a naïve belief that since they meet the general legal standards that the State will automatically approve them. Jointly owning the property with your Mother does not mean that you can keep the house and protect your mother. It is imperative that you retain an experienced Elder Law Attorney immediately if you seek to protect your claim to the home while still getting your mother qualified for Medicaid payment for her care. Good Luck.

Illinois Medicaid Attorney


Today’s Answer was provided by James C. Siebert, Esq., of The Law Office of James C. Siebert & Associates in Arlington Heights, Illinois.  Attorney Siebert is a
Partner Member in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance.

 

 

21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories

If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with Medicaid Issues or with any Elder Care / Senior Care matter, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.

#eldercarematters, #eldercare, #eldercareanswers, #seniorcareanswers,  #eldercaredirectories, #seniorcaredirectories, #findseniorcareprofessionals, #findseniorcareexperts, #elderlawanswers, #seniorcare, #seniorcarematters, #findeldercareprofessionals, #findelderlawattorneys, #findmedicaidplanningattorneys, #findmedicaidattorneys


Today’s Elder Care Matters Q&A is about the VA Aid and Attendance Pension

How much disability is required for a Claimant to receive the VA Aid and Attendance Pension?

ANSWER:  In order to receive the VA Aid and Attendance Pension, the claimant must show that he or she requires the “aid and attendance” of another person in order to perform some of the basic activities of daily living. The medical evidence must be provided by a physician. Additionally, if the claimant resides in a facility, then the facility must also provide a letter stating that the individual resides in the facility because of the need for assistance with the activities of daily living. The VA defines the need for aid and attendance as:

  1. Requiring the aid of another person to perform at least two activities of daily living, such as grooming, transferring, eating, bathing, dressing or toileting;
  2. Being blind or nearly blind; or
  3. Being a patient in a nursing home.

One of the great beauties of the VA pension is that it can be used for any type of chronic care providers including: in home paid caregivers, personal care homes or assisted living facilities, adult day care or skilled nursing facilities.

VA Aid & Attendance Pension
Today’s Answer was provided by Kevin Pillion, Esq., of Life Planning Law Firm in Sarasota, Florida.  Attorney Pillion is a
Partner Member in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance.

 

 

21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories

If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with VA Aid and Attendance Issues or with any Elder Care / Senior Care matter, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.

#eldercarematters, #eldercare, #eldercareanswers, #seniorcareanswers,  #eldercaredirectories, #seniorcaredirectories, #findseniorcareprofessionals, #findseniorcareexperts, #elderlawanswers, #seniorcare, #seniorcarematters, #findeldercareprofessionals, #findelderlawattorneys, #findestateplanningattorneys, #findvaaccreditedattorneys


Today’s Elder Care Matters Q&A is about the role of a Patient Advocate

QUESTION:  What Is a Patient Advocate?

ANSWER: What happens if you or a family member is too injured or ill to make medical decisions for themselves? In Michigan, you can designate someone to be your “patient advocate” in the event that you lose the mental capacity to make healthcare decisions for yourself. You can designate any adult over the age of 18, but it is important to choose this person wisely.

Whether or not you have a patient advocate is up to you, but it can be a useful component of an overall estate plan. If you choose not to have a patient advocate you may have difficulty with the course of your medical care. Sometimes a spouse or child will have a say, but by law, even close family members do not have the right to make your decisions for you without the proper patient advocate designation or health care power of attorney. Instead, the family may have to file a proceeding in probate court to appoint a guardianship, which could result in decisions that are not what you would have preferred had you planned ahead.

How Do I Start?

Meet with your elder law and estate planning attorney, who can talk with you about choosing a patient advocate. Your attorney will help you through the process, which will include drafting an advance directive expressing your wishes, along with a health care power of attorney.

There are some requirements that must be met to validly designate a patient advocate. You must be of sound mind when you choose your patient advocate. You must have two witnesses sign, and the person you choose to be your patient advocate must also sign to accept the responsibility.

What Can I Have My Patient Advocate Do on My Behalf?

Your patient advocate can be empowered to make healthcare decisions that are in your best interest for you if you are too injured or ill to do so for yourself. This can include giving informed consent to medical treatment, refusing consent, and arrange for care or treatment in a hospital or nursing home. There are also optional abilities you can give such as arranging and deciding on mental health treatment, arranging for organ or body donation after you pass away, and withdrawing or withholding life support (except, under Michigan law, if you are pregnant).

In an optional section, you can make clear your “Statement of Wishes” that details the type of care you would like to receive and what your preferences are.

When a person has not designated a proper patient advocate, or otherwise made clear his or her end-of-life wishes, the law requires that life support is maintained even if that’s not what you would have wanted.

Steps Once You Have Designated a Patient Advocate

Keep the signed original for yourself in a safe place so that you can take it with you and present it to individuals who may need to see it.

Make copies and either mail or bring them to:

  • The Peace of Mind Registry, a state-wide registry that holds records of these designations
  • Your primary care provider
  • Close family members who would need to know who your designated patient advocate is and how to contact them if necessary.
  • The hospitals you visit or the hospital in closest proximity to your residence.
  • Any other medical facilities such as nursing homes or clinics where you regularly receive medical care or anticipate needing to.

Patient Advocate

Today’s Answer was provided by Don L. Rosenberg, Attorney and Counselor, of the Law Firm Barron, Rosenberg, Mayoras & Mayoras in Troy, Michigan.  Attorney Rosenberg is a Partner Member in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance.

 

21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories

If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this issue or with any Elder Care / Senior Care matter, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.

#eldercarematters, #eldercare, #eldercareanswers, #seniorcareanswers,  #eldercaredirectories, #seniorcaredirectories, #findseniorcareprofessionals, #findseniorcareexperts, #elderlawanswers, #seniorcare, #seniorcarematters, #findeldercareprofessionals, #findelderlawattorneys, #findestateplanningattorneys


Today’s Elder Care / Senior Care Q&A is about Avoiding Taxes with a Revocable Living Trust

QUESTION:  Will a Revocable Living Trust Help to Avoid Taxes?

revocable living trust


Today’s Answer was provided by Scott A. Makuakane, Esq., CFP, of Est8Planning Counsel LLLC in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Attorney Makuakane is a
Partner Member in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance.

ANSWER:  In and of themselves, trusts do not avoid taxes, but they help to carry out good tax planning. As far as income taxes go, revocable living trusts are “tax neutral.” During your lifetime, your trust will not need to file its own income tax returns. The taxpayer identification number for your trust is your Social Security Number, and you simply report all trust income on your individual Federal and State income tax returns.

Whether you have a trust or not, your estate may be subject to estate tax and generation-skipping transfer tax. The estate tax is a tax on your failure to spend your last nickel by the same time as you exhale your last breath. If you are a U.S. resident, the law gives you an exclusion from the Federal estate tax (we like to call it your estate tax “coupon”) that enables you to shelter a certain amount of assets from the tax. The aptly-named generation-skipping transfer tax (“GST”) is piled on top of any applicable gift or estate taxes on transfers to individuals who are two or more generations younger than you and can result in a lot more going to the IRS than goes to your loved ones.

21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories

If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this issue or with any Elder Care / Senior Care matter, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.

#eldercarematters, #eldercare, #eldercareanswers, #seniorcareanswers,  #eldercaredirectories, #seniorcaredirectories, #findseniorcareprofessionals, #findseniorcareexperts, #elderlawanswers, #seniorcare, #seniorcarematters, #findeldercareprofessionals, #findelderlawattorneys, #findestateplanningattorneys


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