Elder Law Update – December 2008

I. Do a Nursing Home-Medicaid Pre-PlanDon’t Wait for a Health Crisis.

After a nursing home resident dies, the state has the right to recover any assets remaining in order to reimburse itself for Medicaid benefits paid out. Not just confusing for the families – the states Attorneys for the various States, themselves, find it challenging to interpret Estate Recovery laws. As most attorneys for the Estate Recovery Units in the US will tell you – in order to understand Estate Recovery, you need to read both the federal provisions AND the state provision side by side to make sense of the ER laws.

In addition to the states recovery monies after a Medicaid recipient has died, the states are now placing liens on the Medicaid recipient’s home (lien imposition is different then enforcement).

What our office would like you to take from this discussion is that you have the opportunity to do effective pre-planning to avoid liens and other Medicaid spend down penalties. Many clients, however, wait until there is a health care crisis and then the only strategies to protect their assets, their monies and their home are crisis strategies. Crisis strategies do not allow us to protect as much of your money as comprehensive pre-planning strategies. Therefore, the moral of the story is since you have the time to engage in adequate pre-planning now, please do so.

II. Elder Mediation Resolves Family Conflicts:

A recent article of “Planning for Elder Care” indicates that they have seen an increase in requests from care giver children for help in solving disputes with siblings with regard to care giving issues for parents.

A practitioner experienced in elder mediation is a perfect choice for solving disagreements due to issues with the elderly. Mediation is a non-adversarial approach to solving disputes. Mediation is a process of bring two or more disputing parties together and having them mutually negotiate a solution to their disagreement. The mediator is not a judge and does not render decisions but is there to make sure that the combination flows freely between the disputing parties. Elder mediators are trained in the art of negotiating resolutions between elderly parents and family members.

III. Seniors Beware: Part D Costs Will Raise 30 – 60 % in 2009.

A recent article issued by “Justice Newsflash” that the US Medicare Part D, medication benefit program will cost seniors 31% to 60% more for drugs next year. Some insurers are even sharply increasing medication co-payments.

IV. IRS Announces 2009 Tax Changes.

For 2009 personal exemptions and standard deductions will rise and tax brackets will widen because of inflation adjustments the IRS announced. Absent further legislation, personal dependency exemptions will go up to $3,650. The new standard deduction is $11,400 for married couples filing a joint return and $5,700 for married individuals filing separately.

V. Internet Can Stimulate Aging Brains.

A recent article from “McKnights Long Term News” indicates that researchers at UCLA have discovered that there may be a benefit for web active seniors. It indicates that web activity might stimulate brain function and improve cognitive ability. Scientists believe that the constant mental stimulation is a good guard against dementia cognitive decline. But for the first time researchers are counting on web surfing alongside more traditional mental stimulus such as puzzles and word games.

VI. Rules Double Maximum Loan on Reverse Mortgage Payouts.

Older homeowners who need cash may be able to get more assistance through changes implemented several weeks ago in the Federal Reverse Mortgage Program. Home values of up to $417,000 will be used nation wide as a basis for establishing the size of loan availability for reverse mortgages, which is more then double the $200,160 that has been used across much of the country. Be careful however with reverse mortgage loans, they are a great method of obtaining cash flow but do nothing for protecting assets.

VII. Four Tips for reducing Holiday Stress for Alzheimer’s givers.

According to Kansas Elder law attorney William G Hammond, “The holiday season is the most stressful time of year for anyone caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s. That’s because there are so many demands on caregivers’ time during this busy season that it becomes difficult, if not possible to go at it alone”.Here are a few tips that can give holiday caregivers some help in avoiding stress or at least reducing it. Tips are as follow:

1. Learn “acceptance behavior“, an Alzheimer’s caregivers’ technique, designed to remove the stress from care giver and patient.

2. Caregivers need to take care of themselves first. They need plenty of rest to have the strength to go about their care giving chores. If you can’t get rest with your loved one there consider respite care or calling in a friend or family member to give you a break.

3. Be sure all of the appropriate planning documents are in place so you are not dealing with an emergency situation on your own during the busy holiday season.

4. Look in to any available benefits that are offered publicly. The general public is often surprised to find there are at home benefits available and that there are ways to cut the cost of nursing home care if they talk to someone skilled and knowledgeable in the area.

Remember that this doesn’t have to be the most stressful time of the year. Holidays can be a wonderful time to reconnect with your friends and family. That’s doubly true if you have a loved one who has Alzheimer’s. Knowledge taken from experts, doctors and elder law attorneys empowers individuals and families to calmly face the situation. For a free consultation please call our offices at 847-563-4887.

P.S. Also, don’t miss our workshop: “5 Step Plan – How to Get Medicaid Coverage for your Nursing Home Care… Without Selling your Home or Leaving your Family Without a Dime” set for the following dates. Please contact our office at (847) 563-4887 to register.

December 10, 2008 at 4:00 pm

December 17, 2008 at 6:30 pm

January 13, 2009 at 4:00pm

Call (847) 292 1220 to make a reservation in our training room.

– You don’t want to miss this workshop!

The “3 Phase” Lawyers

Legal Counsel Assisting You in the 3 Phases of Your Life:

– Maturing Years – Will, Trust, Taxes, and Asset Protection

– Senior Years – Long Term Care, Medicaid, and Nursing Home Protection

– Post Death Years – Estate, Probate, and Trust Administration

“Educate to Motivate”

Anthony B. Ferraro
Attorney-CPA
The Law Offices of Anthony B. Ferraro, LLC
The Estate & Trust, Elder and Asset Protection Law Firm
Columbia Centre I
5600 N River Road, Suite 764
Rosemont, IL 60018
PH(847)292-1220
abferrarolaw@abferrarolaw.com
http://abferrarolaw.com/

Note: Pursuant to federal regulations imposed on practitioners who render tax advice (“Circular 230”), we are required to advise you that any tax advice contained herein is not intended or written to be used for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed by the Internal Revenue Service.

This document is for discussion purposes only and is not intended to be, nor should it be, considered as legal advice. You should never attempt Medicaid planning, Estate planning, Probate, or Estate and Trust Administration without the advice of competent legal counsel.