News

The Attorney's Role in Medicaid Planning

Do you need an attorney for even "simple" Medicaid planning? This depends on your situation, but in most cases, the prudent answer would be "yes."

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.

What Is Happening With the Affordable Care Act?

This week, the Senate will do something it hasn’t done in seven years: hold bipartisan hearings on the future of the Affordable Care Act. Serious and creative ideas are expected to be presented but no real changes are expected. Experts close to the congressional process say that very few reforms have any chance of becoming law before insurers begin selling Obamacare plans for next year.

Now Is the Time to Review Your Medicare Options

Are you happy with your current Medicare plan or plans? Now is the time to think about whether you are in the right plan or whether a new plan could save you money. Medicare's Open Enrollment Period, in which you can enroll in or switch plans, runs from October 15 to December 7.

Pay Attention to the Small Details When Dealing with Long-Term Care Insurers

A long-term care insurance company recently cancelled the insurance coverage of an elderly woman who accidentally wrote the wrong amount on her premium check. The case illustrates the need for policyholders to pay attention to the details.

Florida Nursing Home Tragedy Causes Rethinking of Disaster Preparedness

The recent tragedy in which nine Florida nursing home residents died when the nursing home lost power during Hurricane Irma is causing government officials to rethink disaster planning.

You can get quality elder care but be prepared to pay for it

If you live in a state with high-quality care for older Americans, chances are the cost of it isn't so great.Data in a new report by Caring.com shows that seven of the top 10 states for quality elderly care also rank in the bottom 20 for the cost of those services.

5 Things for Veterans to Know About Expanded GI Benefits

Lawmakers this month sent an expanded GI educational benefits bill, known as the "Forever GI Bill" to President Donald Trump's desk to sign.The Forever GI Bill, which passed the U.S. Senate unanimously, is estimated to cost more than $3 billion over 10 years."It restores benefits to veterans who were impacted by school closures since 2015 and has special benefits for our reservists, surviving dependents and Purple Heart recipients," said Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin in a statement.

HUD Makes Reverse Mortgages a Little Less Attractive

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced changes to the federal reverse mortgage program. Citing the need to put the program on better financial footing, HUD will raise reverse mortgage fees for some borrowers and lower the amount homeowners can borrow.

Be Aware of the Kiddie Tax Before Leaving an IRA to Children

Grandparents may be tempted to leave an IRA to a grandchild because children have a low tax rate, but the "kiddie tax" could make doing this less beneficial.An IRA can be a great gift for a grandchild. A young person who inherits an IRA has to take minimum distributions, but because the distributions are based on the beneficiary's life expectancy, grandchildren's distributions will be small and allow the IRA to continue to grow. In addition, children are taxed at a lower rate than adults—usually 10 percent.

What happens if a Medicaid recipient in a nursing home marries a healthy bride?

What happens if a Medicaid recipient in a nursing home marries a healthy bride? Is the new spouse entitled to any of the nursing home resident's Social Security or pension during his life or can she receive it as a surviving spouse?

What is a Special Needs Trust?

A Special Needs Trust is a very specific kind of trust that offers the option of keeping someone eligible for public benefit programs while also receiving the benefit of a supplemental fund. This supplemental fund can pay for an entire range of services and goods that are not covered by public programs.

You Can Pay Your Medicare Premiums Online

Online bill paying has become a popular way to make paying bills easier, and now you can pay your Medicare premiums online too. If your bank allows customers to pay bills online, you can use that service to pay your Medicare premiums.

Estate Administration

Estate administration is the process of managing and distributing a person’s property (the “estate”) after death. If the person had a will, the will goes through probate, which is the process by which the deceased person's property is passed to his or her heirs and legatees (people named in the will). The entire process, supervised by the probate court, usually takes about a year. However, substantial distributions from the estate can be made in the interim.

Trump signs ‘Forever GI Bill,’ boosting aid to student vets

Trump signed the bill – dubbed the “Forever GI Bill” by its supporters – at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., with little fanfare and no press or public remarks, and only Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin at his side. Shulkin took a few questions from reporters following the signing, though they focused mostly on the violence that erupted during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.

Why You Should Use a Lawyer for Medicaid Planning

Many seniors and their families don't use a lawyer to plan for long-term care or Medicaid, often because they're afraid of the cost. But an attorney can help you save money in the long run as well as make sure you are getting the best care for your loved one.

The Current State of the Affordable Care Act

The Republican Party appears to be sending differing signals following the collapse of Senate GOP efforts to overhaul the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the healthcare law better known as Obamacare. Although defeated, there is consensus within the party and even in Democratic camps, that there are numerous problems with the ACA. In a series of tweets, President Donald Trump has, in recent days, ramped up calls for the Senate to vote on healthcare before considering any other legislation. The latest rumblings seem to indicate that there is a possibility the Administration will consider eliminating the insurer subsidies provided under the ACA thereby resulting in staggering increases in average health insurance premiums of at least 20%.

Take These Three Steps When Your Child Turns 18

If your child has reached the teenage years, you may already feel as though you are losing control of her life. This is legally true once your child reaches the age of 18 because then the state considers your child to be an adult with the legal right to govern his or her own life.

Annuities and Medicaid Planning

Immediate annuities can be ideal Medicaid planning tools for spouses of nursing home residents. For single individuals, they are usually less useful. An immediate annuity, in its simplest form, is a contract with an insurance company under which the consumer pays a certain amount of money to the company and the company sends the consumer a monthly check for the rest of his or her life.