Articles Posted in Elder Law

2.7.20This time of the year is a great time to revisit your estate plan, so you can ensure your legacy is protected for years to come.”

Many of us set New Year’s resolutions to improve our quality of life. While it’s often a goal to exercise more or eat more healthily, you can also resolve to improve your financial well-being. It’s a great time to review your estate plan to make sure your legacy is protected.

The Tennessean’s recent article entitled “Five estate-planning steps to take in the new year” gives us some common updates for your estate planning.

7.30.19When you die, the assets you’ve accumulated during your lifetime have to be distributed. If you don’t make a plan, your family may be left to clean up a legal mess, quarrel amongst themselves, or watch as a long-lost family member is given everything by a court decision.

An estate planning attorney helps clients, by making sure that the distribution of property after the person dies is done the way they wanted it done. While a plan may be simple or complicated, says the New Hampshire Union Leader in a recent article, “Estate planning is important and may require help from a professional,” working with an experienced estate planning attorney will save your family time, unnecessary costs and stress.

You definitely need to work with an attorney if your life falls into any of these categories:

1.26.18With legal actions and media attention surrounding resident evictions, skilled nursing facilities (SNF) are learning more about what they can and cannot do. Seniors and families also need this information.

It’s hard to imagine an 83 year old being booted out of a nursing facility, but as seen in the case of Gloria Single, a resident of a California facility, it does happen. In this case, a legal battle over an allegedly improper eviction has followed.

A recent Skilled Nursing News article, “What SNFs Should Know About Proper Protocols for Resident Eviction,” reports that the whole eviction and proceeding appeals process can be daunting, and  residents are often so intimidated by the process that when they receive an eviction notice, they just pick up and leave. They’re too afraid to do anything else.

11.1.17A recent case of elder abuse in Michigan that resulted in only a misdemeanor, may have been the last straw for legislators.  They introduced a law that would make it a felony, if a person was convicted of harming a vulnerable adult or senior citizen.

The punishment for causing serious physical or mental harm to a vulnerable adult in Michigan is only a misdemeanor, according to a recent article in WZZM, “Lawmakers introduce tougher laws to protect vulnerable senior citizens.”  However, that may be changing soon.

Legislation that was recently introduced in Michigan's House of Representatives would toughen the penalties for somebody who "assaults another person that he or she knows or reasonably should know is an elder adult or vulnerable adult", which "causes physical injury, pain, or mental suffering" to them. The individual would be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for more than four years or a fine of not more than $5,000.

9.26.17It is premature for anyone who depends upon either Medicaid or Obamacare to breathe a sigh of life. While recent attempts to repeal Obamacare have failed, both of these programs are being targeted.

Medicaid is far more important to more Americans than most people know. It does provide healthcare for the poor, but it also pays for long term care health care and nursing home care for millions of Americans.

Radio station WTOP in Washington, DC recently posted an article, “Why Medicaid matters to you,” which says that long-term care in the U.S. is extraordinarily expensive: the median annual cost of a private room in a nursing home is more than $92,000. A shared room costs more than $82,000. Expect these prices to continue to increase, since costs have risen by 19% since 2011. Similarly, the median price for care in an assisted living facility exceeds $43,500 and those seniors who want to stay at home with the help of an in-home aide from a home care agency pay $20 an hour or $175,000 a year for round-the-clock care.

4.28.17A federal judge has ruled that a police officer’s uninvited entry into a house to check on the well-being of an adult with dementia, is shielded by qualified immunity. The response to a possible crisis was correct.

Given the number of elder abuse cases, it is encouraging that New York Judge Frank Geraci’s decision, as reported in the New York Law Journal’s article, “Officer's Welfare-Check on Elderly Man Is Shielded by Immunity, Court Says,” supported the actions of Lt. Joseph Buccilli, a police officer with the Orchard Park, NY Police Department.

The judge said the police officer was protected by his good faith actions in responding to an emergency. He had qualified immunity from a suit filed by the owners of the home he entered, in alleged violation of residents' Fourth Amendment rights to privacy. The judge went on to say that even if Buccilli's beliefs that his actions were justified in entering the home were based on wrong assumptions, the officer’s actions weren’t so "plainly incompetent" as would qualify as a violation of the resident's Fourth Amendment rights.

9.23.16Planning for life with Alzheimer’s includes selecting trusted family members or friends who can assist with legal and financial matters.

It was at least three years after his diagnosis that comedic actor Gene Wilder revealed he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. This is not unusual, according to experts discussing his situation in the Investment News article, “Hiding Alzheimer's, like Gene Wilder did, is natural, so prepare for it with all clients.” Wilder, star of Blazing Saddles, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and many other classic comedies, died at age 83 from complications of Alzheimer's disease. He wanted to leave his audiences laughing, rather than being sad that he was suffering from this dreaded disease.

Most Alzheimer's patients will hide their symptoms as long as they can because they fear losing control of their lives if family or friends are under the impression they can’t take care of things on their own.

Woman toastingMidlife singles are used to directing their own lives, but many worry about what will happen when they die. With strains of The Beatles' song Eleanor Rigby in their ears, they worry that their funeral will be unattended and sad. This is one problem that has a solution: planning ahead.

The Pew Research Center's 2014 study, A Record Share of Americans Have Never Married, found that there's been a steady increase since 1970 in the share of the U.S. population that remains never married by the time they reach ages 45 to 54.

Forbes' recent article, "Single People Worry: Who'll Be There For Us?" sought advice from some of the funeral industry's leading experts, who offered these recommendations:

Family of threeTalking with aging parents about their finances, their wishes, and the future, is never an easy conversation. When it became clear that her mother was starting to suffer from memory loss, Gwen started to speak with her mother about finances, accounts and final wishes. While she felt uncomfortable pressing her own mother for information, in the long run obtaining this information made things easier when Gwen, the daughter, ultimately had to take over her mother’s finances. While not all parents are willing to have these discussions, they are important to prevent the difficulties that eventually arise. Gwen Morgan, the author of “What If…Workbook,” a guide that helps gather and convey this type of information, notes that “People hold tight to their bootstraps.” Communicating early and often can help.

Even if your parents are reluctant to discuss their finances, the sooner the conversation begins, the better for all concerned. In an article posted on Go Banking Rates, “How to Talk About Money With Your Aging Parents,” the author shares a deeply personal experience with her own mother. Some parents are simply not willing to have these conversations, and several different approaches may need to be tried before you find the one that they are comfortable with. Not knowing key information could lead to family members needing to go to court to obtain the ability to gain control of their parents' finances and make medical decisions on their behalf. These scenarios can cause serious emotional and financial hardship for families.

Here are several strategies from the article to get aging parents to discuss their finances. Make sure that the conversation is respectful. Also make certain that it’s understood that you’re not trying to take over your parents’ finances. Starting with an area that doesn’t feel like a loss of power, may be more successful, the article advises.

MP900407501Can you imagine not being notified if your parent had been injured, fell ill or had even passed away? With a recently increasing occurrence across the country, state representatives are proposing changes to ensure children have visitation rights to ailing parents.

Fox News shared Catherine Falk’s story in an article titled“'Columbo' daughter pushes for bill that protects the right to visit sick parents.” The daughter of Peter Falk, a five-time Emmy Award winner as Lt. Columbo, laughs as she recalls memories about her funny father, like forgetting about Christmas presents they had given him after he had put them in the trunk of his car, only to find them all there still the next year. But when he got sick, it was no laughing matter. Catherine claims she was kept out of the details of her father’s condition, including being able to see or talk to him. Thousands of adult children in America are finding themselves going through a similar experience.

In Falk’s case, she and her stepmother were locked in a court battle over conservatorship and access to Peter for years. In 2008, he became completely incapacitated from his advanced dementia. Catherine then decided to create the Catherine Falk Organization, which advocates for the rights of adult children to see their sick parents.

Contact Information