This week’s Ask an Elder Care Expert is J. Michael Bishop, JD

J. Michael Bishop, JD
Partner in the Law Firm of Smiley Bishop & Porter, LLP
Atlanta, GA  30338
770-829-3850
www.sbpllplaw.com

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Georgia chapter

I am an Atlanta native and partner in the law firm Smiley Bishop & Porter LLP. I received my law degree from Mercer University law school in 1984. For the last 26 years, my firm and I have dedicated our law practice to representing investors whose trust has been abused by dishonest financial advisors, stock brokers, investment advisors and financial planners. We have been fortunate during this time to have successfully represented numerous seniors who have been victimized by unscrupulous investment companies and their employees.

Our firm prides itself on being keenly aware of the unique factors associated with representing seniors. Personally, I have served on the Board of the Elder Law section of the Atlanta Bar Association, am a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and a Charter Member of the ElderCare Matters Alliance.  I am also a member of the Public Investors Bar Association.

My law firm is based in Atlanta, Georgia but our practice is national in scope. We have represented investors in numerous venues throughout the Southeast and across the United States. We have successfully represented clients with claims against virtually every major Wall Street firm, including: Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, UBS/PaineWebber, Morgan Stanley/Dean Witter, Wells Fargo Securities/Wachovia Securities, Prudential Securities, Citigroup/Smith Barney, Shearson/Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Credit Suisse, Ameriprise Financial, Morgan Keegan, and LPL Financial, as well as numerous others.


Question of the Day: “My husband is 74 years old and has mid-term Alzheimer’s; I am 60 yrs old. We have been married for 34 years. I am a "burned out" primary caregiver to him, and I work 9 hours, four days a week at an outside job cleaning houses. We are both 8½ years Permanent Residents, and when we came to America he did not show any signs whatsoever of being sick. Does he qualify for any government assistance?"

Answer:  Your husband should qualify for Medicaid given his age and disabilities. You didn’t mention his or your monthly income or your family resources. However, assuming his monthly income is less than $2,022.00, assuming his resources are less than $2,500.00, and further assuming your family resources are less than $109,560.00, then your husband should qualify for Medicaid benefits. Allow me to add that your current situation as a “burned out” primary care giver is common. It would appear essential to your continued good health that your husband transition into a long term skilled care facility in the near future. I recommend that you contact an Elder Law attorney to assist your family with the asset planning and Medicaid planning that will be required for your husband to successfully qualify for Medicaid, while at the same time protecting your family assets. Also, please visit the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services website at www.cms.gov for further information and helpful resources. Thank you for your inquiry, and best of luck!

To locate experts in your state who can help you with these elder care matters, go to: www.ElderCareMatters.com – America’s online source for elder care experts plus information & answers about a wide range of elder care matters.

Dennis Duncan, Attorney at Law
The Law Offices of Dennis L. Duncan, P.C.
Macon, Georgia  31210
478-254-4232
Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Georgia chapter


Question of the Day: “What are the steps necessary to obtain Guardianship / Conservatorship for my mother who is elderly and suffering from Alzheimer's disease? She is a resident of the state of Illinois."

Answer:  You will need to file a Petition for Guardianship and Conservatorship with the Probate Court in the county of residence for your mother in Illinois. I practice Probate Law in Georgia, and every state may handle the petition process a little differently. Please check with the website www.ProbateIllinois.com. There you can enter the county of residence for your mother and proceed directly to that county’s Probate Court website for more specific information regarding the petition process. You will need to contact a Probate Law attorney in Illinois, who is familiar with the court of jurisdiction. If the process in Illinois is like the process in Georgia, then procedurally this is what you can anticipate: A lengthy Petition for Guardianship and Conservatorship must be completed, which will include among other things, your mother’s financial records, medical examination reports/physician affidavit, and contact information for all living relatives. The relatives are notified by copy of the petition, and they are given time to object by filing a caveat if they so choose. If a caveat is filed, a period of discovery is allowed by the court before setting a court date. Mediation may be mandated by the court or the parties may elect to resolve any differences thereby. If no resolution can be reached, a bench trial takes place, and the Probate judge decides the outcome. If there is no opposition to the petition, a less formal in chambers hearing is held by the Probate judge, and the Guardianship and Conservatorship is granted by the court to the petitioner. I hope this information proves helpful, and I wish you the best of luck!

To locate experts in your state who can help you with these elder care matters, go to: www.ElderCareMatters.com/statechapters.htm

Dennis Duncan, Attorney at Law
The Law Offices of Dennis L. Duncan, P.C.
Macon, Georgia  31210
478-254-4232
Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Georgia chapter


Question of the Day: "What exactly would be involved in “Elder Care Planning” for my elderly parents? I notice that you provide this service."

Answer:  The process is usually initiated with an in-depth consultation, which can be accomplished in person or telephonically. Prior to the consultation, I provide the client with a financial questionnaire to be completed on behalf of the Applicant/Recipient of benefits. Customarily, the goal of my Elder Care Planning clients consists in shielding family assets, while at the same time assisting a family member’s transition into a long term skilled care facility. Once I have gathered all of the family, medical and financial history needed to formulate a plan of action, I provide the client with a comprehensive Elder Law Opinion Letter for a set fee. Once they have had an opportunity to review and consider same, we have another consultation. If the client wishes to proceed with the plan of action, they provide me with a retainer. The requisite actions necessary to perfect the plan are then implemented. I hope you find this explanation helpful. Thank you for your inquiry and best of luck!

To locate experts in your state who can help you with these elder care matters, go to: www.ElderCareMatters.com/statechapters.htm

Dennis Duncan, Attorney at Law
The Law Offices of Dennis L. Duncan, P.C.
Macon, Georgia  31210
478-254-4232
Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Georgia chapter


Question of the Day: "My neighbor is 94 years old and in the care of a 50 something year old son who lives with her in squalor. Is this a case of "elderly neglect" that should be reported?"

Answer:  Obviously, this is a serious matter. There are several federal laws that impact state policy concerning elder abuse; however, there isn’t really any general federal statute that deals with this heinous problem directly. The Older Americans Act of 1965, through its implementing regulations, provides state funding for programs designed to protect vulnerable adults. And The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act provides federal funding at the state level to combat domestic violence and elder abuse. Nevertheless, the investigation of allegations of elder abuse, and the administrative and legal handling of these cases is regulated by law at the state and/or local level. Your state has enacted an Adult Protective Services statute. Thus, I recommend you look into this further by accessing The National Center on Elder Abuse. The National Center on Elder Abuse has a listing of reporting hotlines for each state and a wealth of other helpful resources. I hope you find this information helpful. Thank you for your inquiry and the best of luck! 

To locate other experts in your state who may be able to help you with this elder care matter, go to:
www.ElderCareMatters.com/statechapters.htm

Dennis Duncan, Attorney at Law
The Law Offices of Dennis L. Duncan, P.C.
Macon, Georgia  31210
478-254-4232
Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Georgia chapter


Question of the Day: "What company offers long term care insurance that's affordable? Is there any alternative type of LTC insurance?"

Answer:  Most of the larger insurance companies offer Long Term Care Insurance, including Northwestern Mutual, MassMutual, State Farm, John Hancock, Genworth, MetLife, Mutual of Omaha, and AARP. The federal government also offers Long Term Care Insurance to its employees. Unfortunately, none of these policies is inexpensive. I recommend that you speak with a qualified insurance agent to determine what alternate types of policies are available and to comparison shop for the best price.

To locate long term care insurance experts in your state who can help you with these elder care matters, go to: www.ElderCareMatters.com/statechapters.htm

Dennis Duncan, Attorney at Law
The Law Offices of Dennis L. Duncan, P.C.
Macon, Georgia  31210
478-254-4232
Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Georgia chapter

 


Question of the Day: "My husband and I live in Georgia. He is 67 years old and suffers from a disabling neurological disorder. He receives $450 a month from his retirement pension and $1,500 a month in Social Security retirement benefits. We own a home worth $250,000, which is paid for. We have one car, a 2007 Lincoln Continental. My husband has an IRA worth $350,000, and a term life insurance policy worth $50,000. I think my husband will need nursing home care in the next couple of years. I am healthy right now, but I cannot continue to be his full time care giver. We are afraid we will lose everything before he qualifies for Medicaid. What are your suggestions?"

Answer:  Your situation is not uncommon, and actually, you are in pretty good shape financially for your husband to transition into a long term healthcare or nursing home facility.  In order for your husband to qualify for Medicaid he must be 65 years or older, and in his case, disabled. He must have a monthly income of no more than $2,022, which he does at $1,950. Another factor is the Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA), which for 2011 is limited to $109,560. Since your principal residence, your car, your husband’s IRA, and his term life insurance policy are all exempt resources, your husband should qualify for Medicaid. However, allow me to add that if the principal residence is held in Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivor, you and your husband should consider placing it in your name in Fee Simple. There is no penalty on spousal gifts, and when your husband passes, you will not have to worry about Medicaid’s Estate Recovery seeking his share of the property as reimbursement for benefits provided. 

To locate experts in your state who can help you with these elder care matters, go to: www.ElderCareMatters.com/statechapters.htm

Dennis Duncan, Attorney at Law
The Law Offices of Dennis L. Duncan, P.C.
Macon, Georgia  31210
478-254-4232

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Georgia chapter


Question of the Day: “My step father is in the last stages of Alzheimer's disease and becomes extremely violent to the point that none of the facilities in or around our county will accept him as a patient. He's a big man and my mother and I are unable to control him. He is currently in the hospital. The hospital wants the family to take him back home, but for our own safety we can’t let him return home. He was in an assisted living facility for a couple of weeks prior to admission and destroyed his room, throwing the TV out the window and a bureau through a wall. The facility will not take him back as he needs to be in a "Lock down" facility. Social workers do not seem to be able to help in finding a placement. Would you be able to give some advice as to what we can do?"

Answer:  Your family is in a very difficult situation and it appears that you have been unable to find anyone who can help you locate a suitable home for  your step-father.

If you are not able to get help from a state agency as to where he might be cared for, one other thing you can try is to to locate a geriatric care manager in your state who has a specialty in psychiatric  assessments. This person should be able to give you more specific information on the housing options that are available for your step-father.

To locate some outstanding geriatric care managers in your state who may be able to help you with this elder care matter, go to: www.ElderCareMatters.com/statechapters.htm

Dagmar M. Pollex, Attorney at Law
The Law Offices of Dagmar M. Pollex, P.C.
Braintree, Massachusetts  02184
781-535-6490

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Massachusetts chapter


Question of the Day: “Please tell me what this year's income and resource levels are for Medicaid. Are these #s the same in every state?"

Answer:  The income and resource (asset) levels for Medicaid assistance for nursing home costs do vary from state to state. In Massachusetts, a single person can own no more then $2,000.00 in countable assets (not including the value of a home and automobile).

A couple can own $111, 560 in countable assets (not including the value of a home and automobile).

In Massachusetts (and many other states) there is no income limit in order to qualify for the long term care Medicaid program, which pays for nursing home costs.

To locate experts in your state who can help you with this elder care matter, go to: www.ElderCareMatters.com/statechapters.htm

Dagmar M. Pollex, Attorney at Law
The Law Offices of Dagmar M. Pollex, P.C.
Braintree, Massachusetts  02184
781-535-6490

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Massachusetts chapter


www.ElderCareMatters.com – Experts, Information & Answers

At last, families across America have one resource they can tap into daily to relieve the stress of aging…

ElderCareMatters.com

 

ElderCareMatters.com, along with the 1,350+ members of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, provides families with the elder care resources they need to plan for and deal with their issues of aging.  In fact, here is where you will locate, by state, some of America’s top elder care professionals who provide a total of 68 different elder care services that will help you plan for and deal with your family’s issues of aging, including:

  1. Advance Medical Directives
  2. Aging In Place Services
  3. Alzheimer’s / Memory Care Communities
  4. Annuities 
  5. Arbitration 
  6. Asset Protection Planning
  7. Assisted Living Communities 
  8. Assisted Living Referral Services
  9. Bankruptcy
  10. Caregiving Education 
  11. Consumer Law
  12. Continuing Care Retirement Communiities
  13. Crisis Intervention
  14. Daily Money Management / Bill Paying
  15. Disability Income Insurance
  16. Elder Abuse Litigation Services
  17. Elder Law
  18. ElderCare Planning / Long-Term Care Planning
  19. Estate Administration
  20. Estate Liquidation
  21. Estate Planning
  22. Financial Planning
  23. Geriatric Care Management
  24. Guardianship / Conservatorship
  25. Health Insurance
  26. Hoarding Clean Up and Coaching Services
  27. Home Care
  28. Home Downsizing Services
  29. Home Health Care
  30. Home Modifications
  31. Hospice Care
  32. Independent Living Communities
  33. Investment Services
  34. Life Care Planning
  35. Life Insurance
  36. Litigation
  37. Long-Term Care Insurance
  38. Medicaid / Disability Planning
  39. Medical / Healthcare
  40. Medical Alert Systems
  41. Medical Claims Processing
  42. Medical Equipment & Supplies
  43. Medicare Consulting
  44. Medicare Supplemental Insurance
  45. Medication Therapy Management
  46. Moving / Relocation Services
  47. Personal Finance / Accounting / Tax Preparation
  48. Powers of Attorney
  49. Probate
  50. Public / Non-Profit Resources
  51. Real Estate Services
  52. Rehabilitation Services
  53. Residential Psychiatric Care
  54. Respite Care
  55. Retirement Planning
  56. Reverse Mortgages
  57. Securities Arbitration & Litigation Services
  58. Senior Move Management
  59. Senior Move Planning
  60. Social Security Disability Services
  61. Special Needs Planning
  62. Tax Law
  63. Tax Planning
  64. Transportation Services
  65. Trustee / Fiduciary Services
  66. Trusts
  67. VA Benefits
  68. Wills

 

If you and your family need help with your elder care matters, this is where you will find competent, caring elder care experts located near you who provide a total of 68 different services that will help you plan for and deal with your family’s issues of aging.  Whether you are looking for:

  • an elder law attorney in Philadelphia
  • a geriatric care manager in South Florida
  • a long-term care insurance professional in Fort Worth,
  • a home care provider in Southern California, or
  • an assisted living community in Phoenix (as shown in the photo above)…

you can count on www.ElderCareMatters.com to help you find the Elder Care Experts and services that you will need in ALL 50 states (plus the District of Columbia).


 

Special Offer for ALL Elder Care Professionals:  The next 125 elder care professionals who apply for Lifetime Membership in the national ElderCare Matters Alliance will receive a 25% discount off the regular price of lifetime membership.

So if you are a competent, caring elder care professional – take advantage of this special 25% discount offer and pay only $337.50 for a “lifetime membership” (and there are no annual membership dues, ever!) in the national ElderCare Matters Alliance.   

To request a Membership Application, send an email to: info@ElderCareMatters.com.


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