Author: admin

February 13, 2017 admin

Should All States Permit the Use of Medicaid for Assisted Living? The question of using Medicaid funds for assisted living is a big one for many in the elder care field. As we have discussed before, Medicaid is a joint state and federal program. The federal law lists broad eligibility rules, The states will get roughly…

January 31, 2017 admin

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article Collapse of Long-Term Care Insurer Reflects Deep Industry Woes. The article focuses on “[t]wo insurance units of Penn Treaty American Corp., which have combined assets of about $600 million and projected long-term-care claims liabilities topping $4 billion,[which] are on track to be liquidated early next year, according…

January 3, 2017 admin

  New Year Wishes And Thoughts of Gratitude I want to take this opportunity to thank all of my clients, colleagues and friends for all that you have given to me in 2016. At this time of year I look back and reflect on how lucky I have been. I am blessed to have a wonderful,…

January 2, 2017 admin

Affordable Care Act:  Impact on Older Adults Repealing The Affordable Care Act Will Not Only Affect the Young One of President-elect’s Donald Trump’s campaign promises was to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, and Republicans in Congress have vowed to make the repeal one of their first acts in the new term. While…

December 12, 2016 admin

Medicaid Block Grant Proposal Medicaid block grants  . . . again?  Regardless of your political persuasion it is quite evident that benefits for the older and disabled and likely to change when Donald Trump becomes president. Obviously things said during the campaign process do not always materialize. However, the appointments being made to high level…

December 12, 2016 admin

New Law Allows People with Disabilities to Create Special Trust Finally. The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act, federal legislation that will allow people with disabilities to create their own special needs trusts instead of having to rely on others, has passed the Congress. The measure was included in the 21st Century Cures Act, a $6.3…

October 19, 2016 admin

The phrase “asset protection planning” means a variety of things depending on who is asking for protection and the type of professional who hears the question. For example, a financial advisor whose client asks about asset protection will likely want to discuss investment strategy, diversification, “safe” investments, and rates of return, with the aim of…

April 5, 2016 admin

ESTATE OF: WILLIAM F. BINNIG Medicaid Planning: The Importance of a Well Drafted Power of Attorney This is a recent Pennsylvania Superior Court case that highlights how important a power of attorney can be in proper planning. In this case an executor who was also the agent under a power of attorney for the decedent…

March 11, 2016 admin

Preparing for long-term care costs is hard to predict and will be costly to mitigate. Few have prepared for this gathering storm. Private long-term care insurance is available, of course, to help pay for expensive services if you are mentally or physically incapacitated late in life, but it is a notoriously confusing and not always…

February 15, 2016 admin

Who Has Standing to Challenge the Actions of an Agent Under a Power of Attorney? This question is often asked to me when someone is concerned about abuse of an older adult who no longer has the ability to advocate for him or herself. The answer depends largely on whether or not the grantor of…

February 15, 2016 admin

Nursing Home Quality:  New Report from the Government Accounting Office The Government Accounting Office (GAO) did a recent study of nursing home quality that produced both interesting and mixed results.  Although complaints are up, potential improvements in nursing home quality have been reported. Quality standards for nursing homes that participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs…

January 11, 2016 admin

Q  Will Medicare Cover Conversations About End-of-Life Care With My Doctor? A  Medicare beneficiaries may now discuss options for care at the end of life with their health care providers. Beneficiaries were already free to talk about advance care planning with their doctors, but the practitioners could be reimbursed for such discussions only during a…

January 8, 2016 admin

Six Myths About Living Wills As you contemplate end of life issues, misinformation can make the  topic of living wills and advance directives confusing.   Below are six common myths about living wills and advance directives, followed by the actual facts. Myth #1  You must have a living will to stop treatment near the end of…

December 15, 2015 admin

Q: Rob, should I use one of those online legal services to do my estate planning documents? A:  Today, you can learn almost anything online. There are TV channels, websites, apps, programs and old fashioned classes devoted to DIY (Do It Yourself). LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer, among other online services, attempt to streamline the process…

November 24, 2015 admin

The Perils and Pitfalls of Doing Asset Protection Planning on Your Own Dealing with long-term care planning is a daunting process. Very complicated state and federal Medicaid laws and regulations present many pitfalls for those who try to engage in that process on their own without working with a competent elder law attorney. A recent…

October 30, 2015 admin

Understanding Your Social Security Benefits Two popular social security claiming strategies will be gone if the bi-partisan budget now being proposed is signed into law by the President. File and Suspend Under this strategy, a higher earner at full retirement age (currently 66) can claim his benefit, enabling his lower-earning spouse to claim a spousal…

October 27, 2015 admin

Q: What is the Legal Significance of Scores in Mental Status Exams? A:  In a recent decision in a complicated and long-running guardianship case, an appellate court in Illinois highlights the tricky issue of how should courts value scores given by evaluators on mental status exams in guardianship cases. The opinion in Estate of Koenen, issued…

October 12, 2015 admin

Q  Do I still need life insurance after my kids are out of the house? A  The need for life insurance is very different depending upon your circumstances and so are the types of life insurance to fill those needs. The issue of needing life insurance is a long and drawn out analysis, however, the following…

October 7, 2015 admin

Another recent example why certain tasks like surgery, bomb disposal and estate planning generally are not do it yourself tasks:  A recent court decision in Minnesota serves as a cautionary reminder to anyone thinking of altering their estate plan on their own. Esther Sullivan executed a will in 2006, that gave half of her property…

August 26, 2015 admin

Q: When is it better to take a pension versus a lump sum payout? A:  As always, it depends.  If you are in good health and/or married, in most cases the pension is the better deal.  With most pensions you have a joint and survivor annuity option that allows your spouse (wives usually outlive their…

August 25, 2015 admin

This is a tricky question because every power of attorney is different and therein lies the confusion.  There are two types of triggers for an agent under a power of attorney to be authorized to start acting for the principal.  The first is a Springing Power of Attorney.  In this type of instrument there is…

July 2, 2015 admin

Elder Law Defined Elder Law is an extension and refinement of estate planning. In addition to addressing general planning needs like wills, trusts and medical and financial powers of attorney, an Elder Law attorney can help you decide what type of care options exist for your older loved one and how to pay for that…

July 1, 2015 admin

Will Medicaid Have a Claim on My Mother-in-Law’s Interest in Our House? Q:  My mother-in-law is on the deed to my wife’s and my home. If she moves into a nursing home, will Medicaid try to claim an interest in my home? How can I prevent them from doing this? Must I transfer the interest…

July 1, 2015 admin

2015 Spousal Impoverishment and Home Equity Figures Released The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released its Spousal Impoverishment Standards for 2015 : The official spousal impoverishment allowances for 2015 are as follows (we include Medicaid’s home equity limits): Minimum Community Spouse Resource Allowance: $23,844 Maximum Community Spouse Resource Allowance: $119,220 Maximum Monthly Maintenance…

June 16, 2015 admin

Can I Transfer Mom’s Life Insurance to Help Her Qualify for Medicaid? Q: The nursing home has initiated a Medicaid application for my mother but I have not yet been contacted. Her life insurance policy’s cash value exceeds Medicaid’s $1,500 resource limit. Can I still transfer ownership of the policy? A: The general rule is…

June 16, 2015 admin

People often ask me about Pay on Death (POD) or Transfer on Death (Transfer on Death) accounts (or they tell me of them after the fact which is worse). These are accounts which pay to a designated beneficiary outside of the probate process upon the presentation of a death certificate to the custodian.  Probate is…

May 6, 2015 admin

Q: My mother-in-law is on the deed to my wife’s and my home. If she moves into a nursing home, will Medicaid try to claim an interest in my home? How can I prevent them from doing this? Must I transfer the interest in the property prior to her moving? She no longer earns an…

May 6, 2015 admin

10 Tips While Helping Aging Parents 1. Getting old is financially scary No matter how much money one may have, thinking about covering the expenses associated with aging or dealing with the unknown can be extremely scary. What if your elderly parent doesn’t have enough insurance or savings to pay for long term care or…

April 22, 2015 admin

Q: The nursing home has initiated a Medicaid application for my mother but I have not yet been contacted. Her life insurance policy’s cash value exceeds Medicaid’s $1,500 resource limit. Can I still transfer ownership of the policy? A: The general rule is no, applicants for Medicaid may not transfer assets during the five years…

April 21, 2015 admin

In Runge v. Disciplinary Board, the Supreme Court of North Dakota reversed a disciplinary board “admonishment” of an attorney for “violating” the Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.14.  North Dakota’s Rule 1.14, addressing representation of a “client with limited capacity,” is similar to the ABA Model Rule 1.14 on clients with “diminished capacity.” At issue…

March 24, 2015 admin

Q: Can I Give My Kids $14,000 a Year? A: If you have it to give, you certainly can, but there may be consequences should you apply for Medicaid long-term care coverage within five years after each gift. The $14,000 figure is the amount of the current gift tax exclusion (for 2014 and 2015), meaning…

March 24, 2015 admin

Medicare beneficiaries can continue to press their case that hospitals’ observation stay practices are violating patient rights, a federal appeals court ruled. In the case of Barrows vs. Burwell the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals addressed the issue of whether Medicare Beneficiaries have a property interest in their hospital admission status under the Due Process…

March 18, 2015 admin

Q: How does repayment of debt affect a Medicaid application? A: The answer to this depends upon the type of debt and when the repayment is made. Any payment toward a debt that is documented in writing should be OK. Paying down a debt that is not contractual (like a loan from a friend or…

March 13, 2015 admin

If you’re like most people, you have the best of intentions with regard to how you want your estate distributed when you die or your affairs handled should you become incapacitated. Unfortunately, without proper planning, your best intentions may not be enough. Here are the most common estate planning mistakes I see people make: Failing…

March 3, 2015 admin

Does a Purchase for Myself Count in Spending Down So My Husband Qualifies for Medicaid? Q: My husband is in the hospital for assessment with eventual placement in a nursing home.  We have $5,180 in checking and no other assets.  I see he can have only $2,000 in assets to qualify for Medicaid.  To get…

March 2, 2015 admin

Florida’s Supreme Court has ruled that non-lawyers who engage in various Medicaid planning activities are engaging in the unlicensed practice of law. The court’s ruling embraces a proposed advisory opinion of the Florida Bar that resulted from a petition by the Bar’s Elder Law Section. The Elder Law Section had asked the Bar to consider whether…

February 11, 2015 admin

The percentage of married households in the United States fell from 55 percent in 1990 to 48 percent in 2010. About 40 percent of all marriages end in divorce. Three quarters of people who divorce remarry — accounting for a pretty large proportion of the 48 percent of American households that are married. Nearly 1.5…

November 27, 2013 admin

A colleague of mine did a piece for the PA Bar Quarterly recently on the ethics of Medicaid Planning.  It presented a slice of how ethics and obligation to the client can appear to conflict when often they do not.  I will not address each and every point he did or dissect his article but…

October 31, 2013 admin

Americans Worry About Long-term Care Costs: Americans have little idea how long-term supports and services are paid for, according to a new poll by Harris Interactive HPOL +0.26% and the medical publishers HealthDay. Yet, they are worried about the cost, believe most people should buy long-term care insurance, and also favor a new government program…

October 22, 2013 admin

Welcome to the new Slutsky Elder Law Blog. We are trying something new here to connect with our friends and clients a little more frequently and in a little smaller chunks. We hope that you like it and tell us what you think. Court Rejects Medicare Observation Status Suit: A U.S. district court has ruled…