May is National Elder Law Month

May is National Elder Law Month

There is a lot going on in May. In addition to honoring all the mothers out there, we also celebrate Older Americans Month and National Elder Law Month. As we grow older and wiser (we hope!), it is important to remain engaged. Today’s seniors are more active than ever, spending time working, volunteering, traveling, or mentoring younger people. Many also talk to estate planning and elder law attorneys to plan for their future or regarding issues related to the care of their loved ones. What is Elder Law? Elder law encompasses a wide range of legal topics, including healthcare directives, healthcare and financial powers of attorney, long-term care planning, Medicaid planning, guardianships, special needs planning, and similar matters. Elder law attorneys may also help coordinate public or private resources to assist the client and handle estate planning or probate matters. What is the Difference Between Elder Law and Estate Planning? Estate planning is often referred to as “wills and trusts” and involves determining how an individual would like his or her estate distributed upon their death. It also covers advance directives, powers of attorney, special needs trusts, digital asset review, and asset protection planning. There is some overlap between estate planning and elder law, though not all estate planning attorneys necessarily handle every aspect of elder law. When Do I Need an Elder Law Attorney? Many of our clients are adult children whose aging parents require legal assistance related to elder law issues. You may wish to speak to an elder law attorney if you, a spouse, or a parent is expected to need long-term care, is no longer...

Is It Time for a Senior Living Community?

Have you been considering a move to a senior living community? As they reach retirement age, many people begin looking at their living situations and talking about transitioning to an easier lifestyle. They may be tired of maintaining a large house and lawn, find they don’t have as much free time as expected (due to the house and lawn!), are not located where it is easy to socialize, or have concerns about living alone.  So, how do you decide when it’s time to consider a senior living community? Watch the first video in the Decision Time series and hear from others on the topic. Attorneys David Inabinett and Ryan McNeill also provide...
Ready to Move to a Senior Living Community?

Ready to Move to a Senior Living Community?

As our lives change over time, our desires for a certain type of living situation may also change. When you are young, an apartment close to the “action” can seem like the ideal situation. Once you marry and have children, a big single-family home may work best. Once the kids have moved out and you are retired or approaching retirement, that big house may require much more of your time than you are willing to give! Types of Senior Living Communities There are several types of senior living communities, depending on your needs. The most common include: Independent living, often referred to as “55+” or “active adult” communities, may range from traditional homes to villas or apartments. Assisted living communities are aimed at people who need help with the activities of daily living, like bathing, dressing, and taking medications. Long-term care facilities (nursing homes) provide care for individuals who cannot live alone or care for themselves any longer. Memory care units may be standalone facilities or part of other communities. These units take care of individuals with dementia, Alzheimer’s or similar memory issues. There are also hybrid facilities that might include independent living and assisted living, but not nursing care, or continuing care communities, which offer the option of starting in independent living and receiving care in the community through your lifetime. As you investigate communities, it is important to understand what each offers and read the fine print in their agreements. Are You Ready to Move to a Senior Living Community? There is no right answer that applies to everyone. For some, moving to a community where they...
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...