News

Use Your Will to Dictate How to Pay Your Debts

The main purpose of a will is to direct where your assets will go after you die, but it can also be used to instruct your heirs how to pay your debts. While generally heirs cannot inherit debt, debt can reduce what they receive. Spelling out how debt should be paid can help your heirs.

President Trump Takes Additional Action to Upend ObamaCare

On Friday, October 13th, President Donald Trump announced payments owed to insurers, known as cost-sharing reduction (CSRs), would be cut-off. The CSR payments were created under the Affordable Care Act and reimburse insurers for reducing out-of-pocket expenses for customers making up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level (about $61,000 for a family of four).

It’s National Estate Planning (for Seniors) Awareness Week 2017

In 2008, Congress declared the third week in October as National Estate Planning Awareness Week. This week is to be used for estate planning attorneys to spread the word about their services and why it is so important to put together an estate plan. We think it's equally important to let seniors know the importance of planning with an elder law attorney to address the possibility of needing long term care

The Durable Power of Attorney

For most people, the durable power of attorney is the most important estate planning instrument available -- even more useful than a will. A power of attorney allows a person you appoint -- your "attorney-in-fact" or “agent” -- to act in place of you – the “principal” -- for financial purposes when and if you ever become incapacitated.

New Yorker Article Highlights Abuses in the Guardianship System

Serious problems with the public guardianship system in the United States can lead to elder abuse, according to an in-depth article in The New Yorker titled “How the Elderly Lose their Rights.” Court-appointed guardians can take control of an elderly person’s finances and life and become wealthy while doing so. One expert interviewed describes the guardianship system as “a morass, a total mess.”

Getting Outside Help When Providing Care at Home

Medicare and Medicaid provide some coverage of the medical portion of home health care. Although the coverage is often inadequate, when combined with other resources available to the older person and his or her family, it may be enough to keep a fragile older person at home for a longer period of time. For an explanation of the coverage of home health care available under Medicare, click here. Medicaid offers very little in the way of home care except in New York State, which provides home care to all Medicaid recipients who need it. Recognizing that home care can cost far less than nursing home care, a growing number of states are providing services to those who remain in their homes.

Protecting the Elderly Through Elder Law

Death and taxes – two sure things in life. Elder law covers both. And a growing need for experienced elder law attorneys to serve an aging population has compelled St. Thomas Law students to specialize in this area. As a licensed mortician, I realized there was a need for end-of-life and death planning. My knowledge of government benefits only scratched the surface, so applying to the University of St. Thomas School of Law, with its dedication to both social justice and elder law, made sense.

Nursing Home Costs Rise Sharply in 2017

The median cost of a private nursing home room in the United States has increased to $97,455 a year, up 5.5 percent from 2016, according to Genworth's 2017 Cost of Care survey, which the insurer conducts annually. Genworth reports that the median cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home is $85,775, up 4.44 percent from 2016. The rise in prices is much larger than the 1.24 percent and 2.27 percent gains, respectively, in 2016.