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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Louisville Metro's 2011 Senior Social & Sports Calendar

Metro Parks Senior Services offers a variety of social and athletic programs for senior citizens, including dances and card games. The Senior Services staff also conducts the annual Fifty and Over Games, and provides programs for senior citizens in the Kentucky State Fair's Heritage Hall.

Metro Parks Senior Services can be reached at 502-574-2646.  Also, you can get more information at their website: http://www.louisvilleky.gov/MetroParks/recreation/seniors.htm

 

2011 Senior Social & Sports Calendar

January 26th: Winter Corntoss Tournament at Fairdale Playtorium

February 9th: “Hugs” Senior Valentine Party at Portland C.C.

February 23rd: “Great Balls of Fire” Billiards tournament at Beechmont CC

March 1st – 4th: “FunFest” Senior Celebration. Dance & activities all week at Sun Valley CC.

March 23rd: “Spring Fling & Style Show” at Newburg CC

April 7th: Metro 50 & over basketball league begins

April 11th: Sign-ups begin for the “50 & Over Games” begins

May 14th – 22nd: Metro Parks & Recreation 50 & Over Games

June 8th: Senior Picnic (Farnsley Moreman or Locust Grove)

June 22nd: Summer Corntoss Tournament at Fairdale Playtorium

July 6th -27th: Metro Mini Bowling at Walnut Street (Call for exact dates)

August 18th – 28th: State Fair month and Heritage Hall for Seniors

September 7th -28th: Senior Archery classes at Douglass CC gym

October 12th: South Louisville CC Senior Social

November 9th: Chili Sampling at the Forest

November 30th: Winter Corntoss Tournament at Fairdale Playtorium

December 14th: Holiday Dance & Fun at Sun Valley CC

 

Individuals must register for these programs at least one week prior to event through Metro Parks & Recreation Senior Services office by calling 574-2646.  Some programs fill up quickly! First come – First served!!

 

December 16: Holiday Dance and Fun at Sun Valley. Must register by Dec. 9!

 

 

 

Bold items indicate highly recommended programs to call early about!

 

 

*all program participants must register at least one week prior to event through the Metro Parks Senior Services Office at 574.2646.

 


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Summary of Trustee Duties

A trust is a legal arrangement through which one person (or an institution, such as a bank or law firm), called a "trustee," holds legal title to property for another person, called a "beneficiary." If you have been appointed the trustee of a trust, this is a strong vote of confidence in your judgment and probity. Unfortunately, it is also a major responsibility. Following is a very brief overview of some of your duties:

1.     Fiduciary Responsibility. As a trustee, you stand in a "fiduciary" role with respect to the beneficiaries of the trust, both the current beneficiaries and any "remaindermen" named to receive trust assets upon the death of those entitled to income or principal now. As a fiduciary, you will be held to a very high standard, meaning that you must pay even more attention to the trust investments and disbursements than you would for your own accounts.

 2.     The Trust's Terms. Read the trust itself carefully, both now and when any questions arise. The trust is your road map and you must follow its directions, whether about when and how to distribute income and principal or what reports you need to make to beneficiaries.

 3.     Investment Standards. Your investments must be prudent, meaning that you cannot place money in speculative or risky investments. In addition, your investments must take into account the interests of both current and future beneficiaries. For instance, you may have a current beneficiary who is entitled to income from the trust. He or she would be best off in most cases if you invested the trust funds to generate as much income as possible. However, this may be detrimental to the interest of later beneficiaries who would be happiest if you invested for growth. In addition to balancing the interests of the various beneficiaries, you must consider their future financial needs. Does a trust beneficiary anticipate buying a house or going to school? Will she be depending on the trust income for retirement in 15 years? All of these questions need to be considered in determining an investment plan for the trust. Only then can you start considering the propriety of individual investments.

 4.     Distributions. Where you have discretion on whether or not to make distributions to a beneficiary you need to evaluate his current needs, his future needs, his other sources of income, and your responsibilities to other beneficiaries before making a decision. And all of these considerations must be made in light of the size of the trust. Often the most important role of a trustee is the ability to say "no" and set limits on the use of the trust assets. This can be difficult when the need for current assistance is readily apparent.

 5.     Accounting. One of your jobs as trustee is to keep track of all income to, distributions from, and expenditures by the trust. Generally, you must give an account of this information to the beneficiaries on an annual basis, though you need to check the terms of the trust to be sure. In strict trust accounting, you must keep track of and report on principal and income separately.

 6.     Taxes. Depending on whether the trust is revocable or irrevocable and whether it is considered a "grantor" trust for tax purposes, the trustee will have to file an annual tax return and may have to pay taxes. In many cases, the trust will act as a pass through with the income being taxed to the beneficiary. In any event, if you keep good records and turn this over to an accountant to prepare, this should not be a big problem.

 7.     Delegation. While you cannot delegate your responsibility as trustee, you can delegate all of the functions described above. You can hire financial advisors to make investments, accountants to handle taxes and bookkeeping for the trust, and lawyers to advise you on questions of interpretation. With such professional assistance, the job of trustee need not be difficult. However, you still need to communicate with those you hire and make any discretionary decisions, such as when to make distributions of principal from the trust to one or more beneficiaries.

 8.     Fees. Trustees are entitled to reasonable fees for their services. Family members often do not accept fees, though that can depend on the work involved in a particular case, the relationship of the family member, and whether the family member trustee has been chosen due to his or her professional expertise. Determining what is reasonable can be difficult. Banks, trust companies, and law firms typically charge a percentage of the funds under management. Others may charge for their time. In general, what's reasonable depends on the work involved, the amount of funds in the trust, other expenses paid out by the trust, the professional experience of the trustee, and the overall expenses for administering the trust. For instance, if the trustee has hired an outside firm for investment purposes, that expense would argue for the trustee taking a somewhat smaller fee. In any case, it makes sense to consult with a professional experienced with trust work who can guide you on what would be normal fees considering all of the circumstances.

In short, acting as trustee gives you a wonderful opportunity to provide a great service to the trust's beneficiaries. The work can be very gratifying. Just keep an eye on the responsibilities described above to make sure everything is in order so no one has grounds to question your actions at a later date.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How to Recognize Elder Abuse

ElderServe, a nonprofit Louisville agency that provides services to older adults, offers the following tips on what to look for to recognize abuse, neglect or exploitation. It calls the list its “Speak Up for Seniors!” guide:

Sudden changes in behavior or finances.
Physical injuries, dehydration or malnourishment.
Extreme withdrawal, depression or anxiety.
Absence of basic care or necessities.
Kept away from others.
Unsanitary living conditions.
Personal items missing.

For more information, contact ElderServe at (502) 587-8673 or www.elderserveinc.org.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Long-Term Care "Conversation Checklist" For Families

Having a conversation about long-term care with an aging loved one can be difficult. Initiating a conversation can be awkward or uncomfortable for family members or caregivers. Although it is impossible to know what the future will bring, SNAPforSeniors, a national database for senior housing, offers the following hints and checklist that may help to begin a conversation about housing options with your loved one.

1. Determine if it’s time to think about long term care facilities.

Reasons to seek long-term care vary from person to person. In addition to potentially offering a more comfortable and safer environment for the aging loved one, long-term care may be necessary for the mental and physical health of the caregiver.

To ensure your loved one is able to contribute to his/her future, introduce alternate housing options as early as possible, even before necessary. Ask your loved one questions about lifestyle or health-related challenges. Continue the conversation over time by sharing your observations and concerns, including any of the following physical and mental symptoms:

Physical Symptoms
• Are they able to move around easily given the physical layout of the home? For example, are stairs, carpet, bath/shower or door handles obstacles for mobility? Is the heating and lighting adequate for any sensory impairments including hearing, sight and circulation problems?
• Are they experiencing balance issues, especially when changing positions? Are you concerned about them falling?
• If they fell, are you confident he or she would be able to call for help? Is there a reliable source to respond to a call at all times?
• Is your loved one repeatedly complaining of physical aches and pains?
• Are they experiencing frequent incontinence? Can they attend to the problem when this happens or is help needed?
• Do they have difficulty dressing, bathing or with personal hygiene such as hair and foot care?
• Is your loved one experiencing frequent, significant sleep disturbances?
• Are they capable of cooking or preparing healthy meals?
• Have operating gadgets or appliances such as the can opener, stove or telephone become difficult?
• Have household chores become a burden? Is vacuuming, sweeping, taking out the garbage, cleaning the dishes or bathroom being done in timely ways?
• Are finances such as bill payment, deposits, and investments being handled in a timely manner?
• Is your loved one still driving? If so, are you concerned about his/her and others wellbeing? Is public transportation a safe and viable option?
• Are prescribed medications obtained and taken as indicated consistently?
Mental Symptoms:
• Is your loved one demonstrating personality changes, including but not limited to:
• Frequent irritability?
• Insensitivity to others?
• Disoriented to place and time?
• Aggressive behaviors?
• Repetitive behaviors?
• Communicating with inappropriate language?
• Is your loved one socially withdrawn and not able or not wanting to get together with friends or family? Are there signs of depression?
• Do they express negative comments about him or herself?
• Are they demonstrating an inability to make decisions or making poor decisions?
• Is your loved one able to understand communication or instructions from others?

2. Schedule a family meeting.

A family meeting can move the topic of long-term care to a more focused discussion that can lead to a plan. Here is a checklist for planning your family meeting:
• Determine the family members that should be involved directly or indirectly in decision making. This may include extended family members, close friends or paid caregivers. Always include the person if he/she is capable of taking part in any decision making.
• Consider including an independent third party to play the role of mediator. This could be a minister or other member of the clergy, a social worker or case manager.
• If necessary, find a neutral place to hold the meeting.
• Prepare an agenda to help you stay focused. It may include:

• A medical update
• Sharing of feelings about the illness and caregiving
• Daily caregiving needs
• Financial concerns
• Who will make decisions
• What support role each person will play
• What support the primary caregiver needs
• Next steps moving forward

3. Continue to involve family.

The move to a long-term care facility is an immense transition for any family, so it’s important to involve everyone relevant to the person:
• Reach out to siblings to secure their input and support. For example, share online information about long-term care facilities to secure greater involvement and participation.
• Is there is an unequal financial or time burden to one family member? If so, acknowledge the distribution of resources and discuss a strategy for achieving a balance that appeals to everyone.

4. Continue to engage your parent or loved one.

• Have ongoing conversations at times when your loved one is feeling best and there are few distractions.
• Introduce the idea of an overnight visit to a long-term care facility or an extended afternoon visit to get a feel for the various available options.

5. Begin researching long-term care options in your area.

• Go to snapforseniors.com to access a nationwide senior housing database.
• Enter your city, state, zip, county or address and begin researching options by category of housing.
• View the listing details or contact the facility to ask questions and schedule a site visit.
• Read comments from consumers on the listing if available.
• Ask the facility you visit for a copy of their last annual licensing survey report.
• Contact your local senior ombudsman to get perspective from a local trusted resource.
• Check references from existing or prior residents or families.


Monday, December 20, 2010

IRS Issues Long-Term Care Premium Deductibility Limits for 2011

Social Security benefits may be stagnant, but the IRS is increasing the amount you can deduct on your 2011 taxes as a result of buying long-term care insurance.

Premiums for "qualified" long-term care insurance policies (see explanation below) are tax deductible provided that they, along with other unreimbursed medical expenses, exceed 7.5 percent of the insured's adjusted gross income. These premiums -- what the policyholder pays the insurance company to keep the policy in force -- are deductible for the taxpayer, his or her spouse and other dependents. (If you are self-employed, the tax-deductibility rules are a little different: You can take the amount of the premium as a deduction as long as you made a net profit; your medical expenses do not have to exceed 7.5 percent of your income.)

However, there is a limit on how large a premium can be deducted, depending on the age of the taxpayer at the end of the year. Following are the deductibility limits for 2011. Any premium amounts for the year above these limits are not considered to be a medical expense.

Attained age before the close of the taxable year

Maximum deduction for year

40 or less

$340

More than 40 but not more than 50

$640

More than 50 but not more than 60

$1,270

More than 60 but not more than 70

$3,390

More than 70

$4,240

What Is a "Qualified" Policy?

To be "qualified," policies issued on or after January 1, 1997, must adhere to certain requirements, among them that the policy must offer the consumer the options of "inflation" and "nonforfeiture" protection, although the consumer can choose not to purchase these features. Policies purchased before January 1, 1997, will be grandfathered and treated as "qualified" as long as they have been approved by the insurance commissioner of the state in which they are sold.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Average Cost of a Nursing Home Room Tops $83,000 a Year

Nursing home and assisted living rates rose significantly from 2009 to 2010, according to the 2010 MetLife Market Survey of Long-Term Care Costs. Private room nursing home rates rose 4.6 percent to $83,585 a year or $229 a day, while assisted living facility costs climbed 5.2 percent on average to $39,516 a year or $3,293 a month.

The average cost of home health care aides and adult day care were unchanged, after having jumped about 5 percent the year before. Home care aides still average $21 per hour and adult day care services remain at an average $67 per day.

The survey also reports on the cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home, which increased 3.5 percent to $205 a day, or $74,825 a year. The cost of a semi-private room in an Alzheimer's wing actually dropped, from an average of $75,920 to an average of $75,190 annually.

Once again, the highest rates for a private nursing home room in 2010 were found in Alaska, where the cost is now $687 a day on average. The lowest rates were found in Louisiana (with the exception of Baton Rouge and the Shreveport area), at $138 a day.

The cost of assisted living was the highest in the Washington, D.C., area, at $5,231 a month and the lowest in Arkansas (except for Little Rock) at $2,073 a month. Average home health care aide services ranged from a high of $30 an hour in Rochester, Minnesota, to $14 and hour in the Shreveport area of Louisana. Adult day care services were highest in Vermont at an average of $140 a day and lowest in the Montgomery, Alabama, area, at $31 a day.

For the full 2010 report, including listings of average long-term care costs in selected cities, click here. (The report is available in PDF format. If you do not have the free PDF reader installed on your computer, download it here.)


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Obama Signs Tax-Cut Bill Setting Estate Tax Exemption at $5 Million for Two Years

Congress has passed and President Obama has signed into law the deal extending the Bush tax cuts that he struck with Congressional Republicans. The legislation restores the estate tax for two years at a 35 percent tax rate, with estates up to $5 million exempt from paying any tax ($10 million for couples). If Congress does not change the law in the interim, in 2013 the estate tax will revert to what it was scheduled to be in 2011 -- a 55 percent rate and a $1 million exemption. The $801 billion tax-cut bill makes several other significant changes to wealth transfer taxes:


•The new $5 million estate tax exemption and 35 percent rate are retroactive to January 1, 2010. The heirs of those dying in 2010 will have a choice between applying the new rules or electing to be covered under the rules that have applied in 2010 -- no estate tax but only a limited step-up in the cost basis of inherited assets. This will benefit the heirs of tens of thousands who died in 2010 with relatively modest estates and who would have been subject to capital gains tax on inherited assets above a certain threshold. (For more on this, click here.)

•The law makes the estate tax exemption "portable" between spouses. This means that if the first spouse to die does not use all of his or her $5 million exemption, the estate of the surviving spouse could use it.

•The law unifies the estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax exemptions at $5 million. (For 2010 there is no generation-skipping tax, while the gift tax exemption has been $1 million for a number of years.) A 35 percent tax rate will apply to gifts or transfers over the $5 million threshold. (There is no change in the $13,000 annual exclusion amount for gifts.) These high exemption levels mean that "[t]he rich will have a two-year window in 2011 and 2012 to protect huge amounts of their estates from taxation for generations," wrote estates attorney Kevin Staker on his Estate Tax News Blog.
But that window is open even wider than was previously assumed because of an additional loophole for the wealthy in the new law. Although taxpayers have until December 31, 2010, to transfer funds outright to grandchildren and avoid the generation-skipping tax, there's the risk that the grandkids will squander the sudden influx of cash. As Forbes blogger Janet Novak explains in a recent post, "the money doesn't (as most planners had believed) have to be distributed outright to the grandkids to qualify for the 0% rate. Instead, according to the fine print in the tax deal, it can be put in a trust for them, [noted estate planning lawyer Jonathan] Blattmachr says. That means, he explains, that money can be taken from an existing multigenerational trust, declared subject to the 2010 GST tax, and deposited in a new trust for grandkids' benefit, with the GST tax now pre-paid at a 0% rate." Novak says Blattmachr has been telling his estate planning attorney peers, "Cancel your ski trip or trip to Hawaii. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

The generous estate tax provisions were the main sticking point for progressive Democrats. A vote in the House on an amendment to increase the estate tax, including lowering the exemption to $3.5 million, was defeated by a vote of 233 to 194. After some minor changes to the bill were made, it passed the House by a 277 to 148 margin, after having been approved overwhelmingly by the Senate 81 to 19.
The site Politico quotes one senior House Republican aide as saying, "I'm trying to remember something that we passed under Bush that was this good."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New Medicare Premium, Deductible and Co-Pay Charges for 2011

The basic premium for Medicare Part B will be $115.40 a month in 2011, up from $110.50 in 2010 (a 4.4 percent increase). But because there will be no cost of living benefit increase for Social Security recipients for 2011, most beneficiaries will be exempted from paying this increase and will instead pay the same $96.40 premium amount they have paid since 2008.

A "hold-harmless" provision in the Medicare law prohibits Part B premiums from rising more than that year's cost of living increase in Social Security benefits. Since there is no Social Security increase, most beneficiaries -- about 73 percent -- will not have to pay any increased Part B premiums because of the hold-harmless provision. Those covered by the provision will continue to pay Part B premiums of $96.40 per month in 2011.
 
But this hold-harmless protection does not apply to the other 27 percent of beneficiaries -- about 12 million in all -- who either:

•do not have their Part B premiums withheld from their Social Security checks, or
 
•pay a higher Part B premium surcharge based on high income (see below), or
 
•are newly enrolled in Part B.
 
All Medicare beneficiaries will be subject to the new deductibles and co-payments, as outlined below.  Medicare Part B covers physician services as well as qualifying out-patient hospital care, durable medical equipment, and certain home health services, among other services.
 
Following are all the new Medicare figures for 2011:

•Basic Part B premium: $115.40/month
 
•Part B deductible: $162 (was $155)
 
•Part A deductible: $1,132 (was $1,100)
 
•Co-payment for hospital stay days 61-90: $283/day (was $275)
 
•Co-payment for hospital stay days 91 and beyond: $566/day (was $550)
 
•Skilled nursing facility co-payment, days 21-100: $141.50/day (was $137.50)

As directed by the 2003 Medicare law, higher-income beneficiaries will pay higher Part B premiums.  Following are those amounts for 2011:
 
•Individuals with annual incomes between $85,000 and $107,000 and married couples with annual incomes between $170,000 and $214,000 will pay a monthly premium of $161.50.
 
•Individuals with annual incomes between $107,000 and $160,000 and married couples with annual incomes between $214,000 and $320,000 will pay a monthly premium of $230.70.
 
•Individuals with annual incomes between $160,000 and $214,000 and married couples with annual incomes between $320,000 and $428,000 will pay a monthly premium of $299.90.
 
•Individuals with annual incomes of $214,000 or more and married couples with annual incomes of $428,000 or more will pay a monthly premium of $369.10.
Rates differ for beneficiaries who are married but file a separate tax return from their spouse:
 
•Those with incomes between $85,000 and $129,000 will pay a monthly premium of $299.90.
 
•Those with incomes greater than $129,000 will pay a monthly premium of $369.10.

The Social Security Administration uses the income reported two years ago to determine a Part B beneficiary's premiums. So the income reported on a beneficiary's 2009 tax return is used to determine whether the beneficiary must pay a higher monthly Part B premium in 2011. Income is calculated by taking a beneficiary's adjusted gross income and adding back in some normally excluded income, such as tax-exempt interest, U.S. savings bond interest used to pay tuition, and certain income from foreign sources. This is called modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). If a beneficiary's MAGI decreased significantly in the past two years, she may request that information from more recent years be used to calculate the premium.

Monday, December 13, 2010

10 REASONS TO CREATE AN ESTATE PLAN NOW

Many people think that estate plans are for someone else, not them. They may rationalize that they are too young or don't have enough money to reap the tax benefits of a plan. But as the following list makes clear, estate planning is for everyone, regardless of age or net worth. (For more information on estate planning, see our Estate Planning section.)

1. Loss of capacity. What if you become incompetent and unable to manage your own affairs? Without a plan the courts will select the person to manage your affairs. With a plan, you pick that person (through a power of attorney).
 
2. Minor children. Who will raise your children if you die? Without a plan, a court will make that decision. With a plan, you are able to nominate the guardian of your choice.
 
3. Dying without a will. Who will inherit your assets? Without a plan, your assets pass to your heirs according to your state's laws of intestacy (dying without a will). Your family members (and perhaps not the ones you would choose) will receive your assets without benefit of your direction or of trust protection. With a plan, you decide who gets your assets, and when and how they receive them.
 
4. Blended families. What if your family is the result of multiple marriages? Without a plan, children from different marriages may not be treated as you would wish. With a plan, you determine what goes to your current spouse and to the children from a prior marriage or marriages.
 
5. Children with special needs. Without a plan, a child with special needs risks being disqualified from receiving Medicaid or SSI benefits, and may have to use his or her inheritance to pay for care. With a plan, you can set up a Supplemental Needs Trust that will allow the child to remain eligible for government benefits while using the trust assets to pay for non-covered expenses.
 
6. Keeping assets in the family. Would you prefer that your assets stay in your own family? Without a plan, your child's spouse may wind up with your money if your child passes away prematurely. If your child divorces his or her current spouse, half of your assets could go to the spouse. With a plan, you can set up a trust that ensures that your assets will stay in your family and, for example, pass to your grandchildren.
 
7. Financial security. Will your spouse and children be able to survive financially? Without a plan and the income replacement provided by life insurance, your family may be unable to maintain its current living standard. With a plan, life insurance can mean that your family will enjoy financial security.
 
8. Retirement accounts. Do you have an IRA or similar retirement account? Without a plan, your designated beneficiary for the retirement account funds may not reflect your current wishes and may result in burdensome tax consequences for your heirs (although the rules regarding the designation of a beneficiary have been eased considerably). With a plan, you can choose the optimal beneficiary.
 
9. Business ownership. Do you own a business? Without a plan, you don't name a successor, thus risking that your family could lose control of the business. With a plan, you choose who will own and control the business after you are gone.
 
10. Avoiding probate. Without a plan, your estate may be subject to delays and excess fees (depending on the state), and your assets will be a matter of public record. With a plan, you can structure things so that probate can be avoided entirely.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Protecting Your Home from Medicaid

While you generally do not have to sell your home in order to qualify for Medicaid coverage of nursing home care, it is possible the state can file a claim against your house after you die. If you get help from Medicaid to pay for the nursing home, the state must attempt to recoup from your estate whatever benefits it paid for your care. This is called "estate recovery," and given the rules for Medicaid eligibility, the only property of substantial value that a Medicaid recipient is likely to own at death is his or her home. If possible, you should consult with an attorney before entering a nursing home, or as soon as possible afterwards, in order to discuss ways to protect your home.

In those states that have implemented the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, the home is not counted as an asset for Medicaid eligibility purposes if the equity is less than $500,000 ($750,000 in some states). In all states, you may keep your house with no equity limit if your spouse or another dependent relative lives there.

Transferring a Home
In most states, transferring your house to your children (or someone else) may lead to a Medicaid penalty period, which would make you ineligible for Medicaid for a period of time. There are circumstances in which it is legal to transfer a house, however, so consult an attorney before making any transfers. You may freely transfer your home to the following individuals without incurring a transfer penalty:

  • Your spouse
  • A child who is under age 21 or who is blind or disabled
  • Into a trust for the sole benefit of a disabled individual under age 65 (even if the trust is for the benefit of the Medicaid applicant, under certain circumstances)
  • A sibling who has lived in the home during the year preceding the applicant's institutionalization and who already holds an equity interest in the home
  • A "caretaker child," who is defined as a child of the applicant who lived in the house for at least two years prior to the applicant's institutionalization and who during that period provided care that allowed the applicant to avoid a nursing home stay.

 

While you can sell your house for fair market value, it may make you ineligible for Medicaid and you may have to apply the proceeds of the sale to your nursing home bills.

Lien on Home
Except in certain circumstances, Medicaid may put a lien on your house for the amount of money spent on your care. If the property is sold while you are still living, you would have to satisfy the lien by paying back the state. The exceptions to this rule are cases where a spouse, a disabled or blind child, a child under age 21, or a sibling with an equity interest in the house is living there.

Estate Recovery
If your spouse, a disabled or blind child, a child under age 21, or a sibling with an equity interest in the house, lives in the house, the state cannot file a claim against the house for reimbursement of Medicaid nursing home expenses. However, once your spouse or dependent relative dies or moves out, the state can try to collect.

 

But there are some circumstances under which the value of a house can be protected from Medicaid recovery. The state cannot recover if you and your spouse owned the home as tenants by the entireties or if the house is in your spouse's name and you have relinquished your interest. If the house is in an irrevocable trust, the state cannot recover from it.

In addition, some children or relatives may be able to protect a nursing home resident's house if they qualify for an undue hardship waiver. For example, if your daughter took care of you before you entered the nursing home and has no other permanent residence, she may be able to avoid a claim against your house after you die. Consult with an attorney to find out if the undue hardship waiver may be applicable.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Part 1: Why an Elder Law Attorney

Why an Elder Law or Special Needs Law attorney?

Rather than being defined by technical and legal distinctions, Elder Law and Special Needs Law is defined by the clients to be served. In other words, the lawyer who practices Elder Law or Special Needs Law works primarily with seniors and people with disabilities. Elder Law and Special Needs Law attorneys focus on the legal needs of the elderly and people with disabilities, and use a variety of legal tools and techniques to meet the goals and objectives of their clients. Elder Law and Special Needs Law attorneys typically work with other professionals in various fields to provide their clients quality service and ensure their needs are met.

Using this holistic approach, for example, an Elder Law practitioner will address general estate planning issues and will counsel clients about planning for incapacity with alternative decision making documents. This attorney will also assist clients in planning for possible long-term care needs, including nursing home care. Locating the appropriate type of care, coordinating private and public resources to finance the cost of care, and working to ensure the client's right to quality care are all part of the Elder Law practice.


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