Choosing the Right Senior Living Community

Choosing the Right Senior Living Community

Two of our elder law attorneys, David Inabinett and Ryan McNeill, were recently interviewed for a video on considerations when choosing the right senior living community. Check out the video...
Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim

Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim

By Ryan McNeill, Attorney at Law Many financial planning experts recommend purchasing long-term care insurance. Long-term care policies may cover part of the cost of at home health care, assisted living, nursing home care, or some combination of the above, depending on the plan. At the point in time you need to use the coverage – either for a single incident or a permanent change in your health – you must file a claim to receive your benefits. According to the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), in 2015 insurance carriers paid $8.16 billion in long-term care claims to more than a quarter of a million plan holders. In many cases, these claims are filed by family members on behalf of the person needing care. It is good practice to have completed a durable power of attorney and have that on file so the insurance company can legally speak with your representatives. You may also wish to send them a copy of your health care power of attorney, just to be certain you cover all contingencies. Following these steps may improve the chances of your claim being paid when initially filed: Carefully review the terms of your insurance coverage to determine exactly what services are covered and in what environments. Older policies may restrict coverage to care received in a nursing home and exclude care at an assisted living facility or at-home care. If you have misplaced your copy of the policy, you may request one from the insurance company. Understand how your insurance policy determines your eligibility for benefits. This is called the “benefit trigger.” Your...
Medicaid Countable Resources

Medicaid Countable Resources

By David Inabinett, Attorney at Law Most families, whether parents assisting children or adult children assisting aging parents, are doing so for “all the right reasons.”  As a result, most are not considering and, therefore tracking, day to day whether it’s Mom’s money being used to pay for each and every item Mom may need if adult child is at the grocery picking up food or medications for the parent, or if receipts are brought back when Mom insists on repaying adult child for using their money to purchase the necessary items.  Going a step further, once aging parent becomes incapable of managing day to day finances and bill paying, family members who are invariably busy and stretched to the limits already are concerned more with efficiency and ease of handling not only their own family’s financial decisions but how to best manage the overlay of Mom or Dad’s income/resources without duplication.  These “best practices” in the world of efficiency may include putting adult child’s name on aging parent(s) accounts, setting up automatic drafts and deposits, online banking for adult child to manage parent(s) resources from their desk, to even transferring monies from parent over to adult child in order to simply manage them from one single account that adult child is already utilizing for their own bills. Fast forward to the day when aging parent requires institutionalization and their resources are not sufficient to privately pay, so adult child, acting as attorney-in-fact, submits a Medicaid application and is asked by a Department of Social Services caseworker for five (5) years worth of aging parent(s)’ bank statements and proof...
The ABCs of Medicaid Planning

The ABCs of Medicaid Planning

Medicaid planning is a topic that can generate considerable confusion. While Medicaid is a federal program, each state has its own set of rules for eligibility. Under the current Medicaid rules in North Carolina, an individual is not eligible for Medicaid until his or her total assets have been “spent down” to $2,000 or less. What are the exceptions under this calculation? The most notable exclusion to the $2,000 limit is equity in the primary residence. An amount equal to $552,000* in equity may be excluded from the asset calculation. If the spouse or another dependent relative continues to reside in the home, it can be excluded from the asset calculation regardless of equity. One car may also be excluded, provided that vehicle is used to transport the individual to/from medical appointments. Household furnishings and personal property are generally not counted, and term life insurance is excluded (a portion of whole life policies may be excluded, but the remainder is countable). Retirement investments, including annuities and IRAs, are generally countable with some exceptions, depending on the date they were started, how they are titled, the individual’s life expectancy, who funded the account, and other factors. Reducing overall assets to such a low amount can put a serious burden on a spouse or family member. While the value of equity in the home may sound like a lot of money, unless the house is sold or a loan taken against it, the money is not available to pay monthly living expenses, medical bills, etc. Planning ahead to protect a portion of assets may give you peace of mind knowing that...
Finding the Best Long-Term Care Facility for a Loved One

Finding the Best Long-Term Care Facility for a Loved One

Updated for 2017 Placing a loved in a long-term care facility is often one of the hardest decisions a family must make, so you want to find the best long-term care facilities available. As our population has aged, the number and type of these facilities has increased to accommodate the need. There are active adult communities, assisted living centers, special care units (aka “Alzheimer’s Units”), nursing care facilities, and specialized options for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Also available are progressive care campuses that offer residents a continuum from independent living through full nursing care. The search to find the “best” or “right” facility can be confusing and stressful. The challenges are compounded when a sudden health issue requires a quick decision. Not all long-term care facilities are created equal, and you want your loved one to have the best care possible. Here are some things to consider and some resources available here in North Carolina to help you make your decision: North Carolina adult care facilities are licensed and inspected by the state. There is a star rating system based on the annual inspection results. You may search by county, city or facility name. This is a good place to start but should not be the only factor in your decision. The search page is located at http://www.ncdhhs.gov/dhsr/acls/star/search.asp. Look at Medicaid’s nursing home comparison tool located at http://medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/search.html. You can choose up to three facilities to compare. Tour the facility at least once, preferably more than once and at different times of the day and different days of the week. Look, listen and smell as you go through the...
Women Invited to Elder Care Toolbox Seminar

Women Invited to Elder Care Toolbox Seminar

Greensboro, NC – Brinkley Walser Stoner attorney David Inabinett will present the Elder Care Toolbox on March 31, 2015 from 10:00 a.m. to Noon at the Women’s Resource Center of Greensboro. The free event will offer end-of-life planning tips and answer questions about recommended estate planning documents. “We hear people talk about the ‘sandwich’ generation, meaning adults who are caring for their children at the same time they are caring for a parent or older loved one,” says Inabinett. “While talking about end of life topics can be uncomfortable, it’s much easier on everyone involved if the planning is done before a crisis comes up. I recommend all families talk about end of life decisions and have important legal paperwork in place, including a Will and Health Care Power of Attorney, before they are needed.” Inabinett has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America and received an AV™ Preeminent Peer Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®. He has published numerous articles on elder law and estate planning topics and frequently speaks to groups in Guilford, Davidson and surrounding counties. The Women’s Resource Center is located at 628 Summit Avenue in Greensboro. The session is open to all women 18 years of age and older. Topics to be discussed include: Wills, Power of Attorney, HIPPA Releases, Living Trusts, Asset Management, Probate Avoidance, Medicaid Spend Down, Asset Protection, and much more. To register for this free session, please call (336) 275-6090 or email marti@womenscentergso.org. Brinkley Walser Stoner prides itself on providing new and cutting edge legal counsel built on a foundation of knowledge and integrity. Brinkley Walser Stoner’s attorneys are first and foremost...