News

Florida's New Durable Power of Attorney Law Effective 10-1-2011

A Durable Power of Attorney should be a part of every Florida resident's estate plan. It authorizes someone (the "agent") to manage the financial affairs of another (the "principal"). The Durable Power of Attorney may also impact on Florida Medicaid planning, as an agent may need certain powers in order to help the principal achieve eligibility for Medicaid long-term care benefits.

Short-Term Care Insurance: An Alternative to the Long-Term Care Variety

A little-known insurance option can be an answer for some people who might need care but are unable to buy long-term care insurance. Short-term care insurance provides coverage for nursing home or home care for one year or less.

Resolving Disputes With Nursing Homes

Disagreements with a nursing home can come up regarding any number of topics, and almost none is trivial because they involve the day-to-day life of the resident. Among other issues, disputes can arise about the quality of food, the level of assistance in feeding, troublesome roommates, disrespect or lack of privacy, insufficient occupational therapy, or a level and quality of activities that doesn't match what was promised.

New round of federal funding targets elder abuse

The federal government will spend an additional $3.42 million to counter physical and fiscal crimes against the elderly, according to the Justice Department. The new awards will emphasize the use of new technology tools, closer interagency collaboration and enhanced legal services, among other approaches.

What Can We Do About Our Parents’ Credit Card Debts?

My wife and I have just become agents under a power of attorney for her parents. They are both in their late sixties, and her mother has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. We moved them into a retirement home so her mother can get the extra help she needs. After gaining access to their finances, we've discovered that her father has accumulated over $100,000 in credit card debt spread among several cards.

President Trump's October Executive Order and the Impact on Obamacare

On Thursday, October 12th, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at taking action on Obamacare. Trump said the order is "starting that process" to repeal Obamacare. It will be the "first steps to providing millions of Americans with Obamacare relief," Trump said. Administration officials hinted that the Order is just the beginning of the administration’s actions related to the goal of unraveling the current health-care law.

Social Security Beneficiaries Will Receive a 2 Percent Increase in 2018

In 2018, Social Security recipients will get their largest cost of living increase in benefits since 2012, but the additional income will likely be largely eaten up by higher Medicare Part B premiums.

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.

Lack of local treatment for individuals with dementia and aggression

The availability and accessibility of inpatient care and treatment for individuals who are experiencing dementia and aggression is sorely lacking in the Central Pennsylvania area.

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.