Answers to your Social Security Disability Questions

Sheri Abrams, Attorney at LawSheri Abrams, Attorney at Law
Needham Mitnick & Pollack, PLC
Falls Church, Virginia  22046

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Virginia chapter





Social Security Disability is a benefit received from the Social Security Administration by disabled workers and in some cases their dependents, similar to those received by retired workers.


To receive benefits under the Social Security Disability program, you must have a physical or mental health problem (or a combination of problems) severe enough to keep you from working in any regular paying job for at least one year. The test isn’t whether or not you are able to go back to your old job, and the test isn’t whether or not you have been able to find a job lately. Rather, the test is whether you are capable of doing any job available in the national economy. By using an extensive set of regulations, the Social Security Administration takes into account your medical condition, your age, your abilities, your training and your work experience in deciding your case. (more…)

Long Term Care Partnership Programs

Allen Kampf, RFC, CLTCAllen Kampf, RFC, CLTC
Wealth Advocacy Partners
Sparks, Maryland  21152

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Maryland chapter

As the number of elderly Americans increases, long-term care (LTC) needs and costs are likely to grow.  Many believe that private long-term care insurance can and should play a more significant role in the financing of home care and nursing home services.  Wider use of such insurance could shift the burden from individuals, who are often ill-prepared to pay for such care out-of-pocket, as well as from state Medicaid programs, which often serve as a default financier of long-term-care services. (more…)

The Hoarding Dilemma: When and How to Help

Martha M. KernMartha M. Kern
Director, Lifecare Home Solutions
Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois  60181

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Illinois chapter

The problem of hoarding has recently garnered a great deal of attention, particularly since becoming the subject of an A&E television show.  It is not, however, a new problem.  It pre-dates the Depression (and is not caused by Depression-Era upbringings), has been documented all over the world, and is believed to afflict 15 million Americans to a clinically-significant degree.  Hoarding causes trouble not just for the hoarder, but for everyone in their lives.  Paradoxically, allowing a hoarder to get into trouble rather than working to get them out of trouble may just be the key to lasting change. (more…)

Window of Opportunity: Convert Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA During 2010

Richard M. Morgan, JD, LLMRichard M. Morgan, JD, LLM
Morgan and DiSalvo, P.C.
Alpharetta, GA  30022

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Georgia chapter

Executive SummaryConverting your investments in traditional IRAs to a Roth IRA during 2010 can be an important planning opportunity for many tax payers.  This conversion allows you to move from a tax deferred environment into a tax free environment.  While this opportunity is normally open to those with income below a certain cap amount, during 2010 no such income cap exists.  Further, while such conversion is an income taxable event (but without any penalties), conversions during 2010 give you the option to defer the taxable income by recognizing 1/2 in 2011 and 1/2 in 2012.  (more…)

Tips to Make Downsizing Easier

Sally AllenSally Allen
A Place for Everything, LLC
Golden, Colorado

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Colorado chapter

If you or your parents are at the stage of life to consider downsizing, you’ve got a lot of company.  Nearly 40 million people in the United States, or 13 percent of the total population, were 65 or older in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

As individuals live longer and families are often geographically dispersed, more elderly adults are faced with the trauma of relocating, often from a place they’ve called home for decades.  Every nook and cranny holds special memories.  The thought of leaving them behind can be overwhelming. (more…)

What to take when moving into assisted living

Marilyn EllisMarilyn Ellis
Lighthouse Organizers, LLC
Walnut Creek, California

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, California chapter

Moving into an assisted living community isn’t the end of the road – it’s a new beginning.

While seniors might desire to stay in their homes, practicalities often dominate: hard to walk up stairs, inadequate bathroom, or the home is in disrepair or is too big or too costly to keep up.  Perhaps they have suffered an unexpected and permanent loss in function.  Moving in with you or having someone live with them may not be an option.

If you’ve neither visited an assisted living community nor done so in several years, you are in for a happy surprise.  They are nothing like the early 20th century horrors of a nursing home. (more…)

Answers to frequently asked questions about revocable living trusts

Scott Makuakane, JD, CFPScott Makuakane, JD, CFP
Est8Planning Counsel LLLC
Honolulu, HI  96813

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Hawaii chapter

What is a trust?

A trust is the legal relationship that is created when a person transfers property to a trustee with the understanding that the trustee will manage the property for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries.

The term “property” is used here in its broadest sense to include both real property – such as land and buildings – and personal property – such as bank accounts, stocks and bonds, and personal effects.

The person who transfers the property to the trustee is called a trustmaker.  This person is also known as a settlor, grantor, or trustor. (more…)

Who Pays for Long-Term Care?

Allen Kampf, RFCAllen Kampf, RFC
Wealth Advocacy Partners
Sparks, Maryland

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Maryland chapter

As a result of medical technology, we are definitely living longer.  When we continue living, we age; when we age, we need care.  It isn’t a question of who will care for you.  The question is, “What impact will that care have on your family – physically, emotionally and financially?” (more…)

Special considerations for seniors facing bankruptcy

Jonathan Ginsberg, JDJonathan Ginsberg, Esq.
Ginsberg Law Offices
Atlanta, Georgia

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance,
Georgia chapter

The recession of 2008-2009 has especially affected retirees whose fixed income investments no longer provide enough money to live.

For many retirees, credit card balances have increased the past several years and they can’t even afford the minimum payments.  Others make mortgage payments on homes that are now worth less than the total mortgage debt.  Selling and downsizing is no longer viable.

As an option to help retirees out of their financial troubles, bankruptcy is often met with ambivalence.  Moreover, and not surprisingly, to hardworking, industrious men and women, bankruptcy represents both a financial and a personal failure.

Complicating the issue, many retirees hide debt problems from their adult children, or they make ill-advised decisions, such as liquidating retirement plans, long before they meet with their legal or financial advisors.

But before you dismiss the idea of bankruptcy, let’s learn a little more about it. (more…)

The Probate Process – Connecticut's 6 steps can help you understand your state's procedures

Paul T. Czepiga, J.D.Paul T. Czepiga, J.D.
Czepiga Daly Dillman, LLC
Newington & Wethersfield , Connecticut

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance,
Connecticut chapter

 Editor’s note:  The following article about the probate process is a case study of the system in Connecticut.  Although not nati0nal in scope, the steps examined in this article may be useful when doing estate planning in whatever state you live in and for generating questions for your financial and legal advisors.

Many people believe it is important is avoid probate.  Some have heard that using a “living trust” avoids probate.  Others may have had a particularly bad experience with a probate court.

To understand why one might want to use or avoid probate, let’s first understand what the probate court’s role is in processing estates of decedents, sometimes called the estate administration process. (more…)

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