Disabled with Cash: When to Use ABLE Accounts

In 2014 the federal government passed legislation allowing the creation of “Achieving a Better Life Experience” [“ABLE”] accounts. Much like Supplemental Needs Trusts, these accounts are permitted to hold funds for disabled individuals that would otherwise leave them with too much financial resources to maintain Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income [“SSI”]. The main benefits of ABLE accounts are that they are self-created and inexpensive: No legal fees, no on-going trustee commissions. The disabled individual, his family members or his Power of Attorney may create ABLE accounts, as may a Trust created by another person. And while ABLE accounts can pay for health-related expenses, any money that is used for food and shelter will not result in SSI being reduced by

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Bye Bye 24 Hour Caregivers for Aging New Yorkers

Many thanks to Michael LaMagna, Esq. of Riker Danzig and Evan Gilder of Redlig Financial Services for their initial article that prompted this blog. Caring for elderly family members is as exciting as spending your bachelorette party watching C-SPAN reruns (elected officials excluded, of course), so why not pay another person to help your aging Grandma or Dad feed, bath and toilet themselves? And while you are at it, why not have that person “live-in” with Grandma 24 hours a day but only pay the for 13 hours of that work at minimum wage? These were the rules permitted in New York for live-in caregivers, provided they had an 8-hour sleeping period and 3 meal breaks equaling one hour each.

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The Top 5 Things to Do When a Family Member is Terminally Ill

Watching a person’s last days of life is often a horrible, gut-wrenching process. The dying individual may or may not be able to communicate, and the trauma of seeing a loved one approaching their end makes it difficult for spectators to make decisive decisions. But no matter what the case, if you want to do what is best for your family, you must utilize the precious remaining days of your loved one’s life to take action on certain items, as these matters get much more difficult and stressful upon his or her passing. Figure Out Funeral Arrangements: May people have funeral plots or pre-paid burial arrangements, but these details are often not formally shared with family and friends beforehand. If the

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What is a “Guardianship” for Disabled Individuals?

Many people think of a guardianship as being a legal affair that determines who will raise a minor child (such as a parent, or a non-parent if both parents are unavailable); I shall cover this type of guardianship in the future.  A Guardianship Proceeding over a disabled individual essentially takes place when a person can no longer make financial or health care decisions. There are  two types of Guardianship Proceedings: Those for minors who have always been disabled and are nearing the age of majority, and those for adults who once had mental capacity but no longer do. For people who are disabled as minors the Guardianship Proceeding takes place under New York’s Surrogate’s Court Procedures Act, Article 17-A (lawyers refer to this as a “SCPA 17

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GUEST BLOG – Philip Swift: Falls Prevention Awareness

Falls, the majority of which occur at home, are the leading cause of injuries or death for those over aged 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). BAYADA Home Health Care – a leading national provider of home health care services – offers important suggestions to help people remain safe at home and reduce their risk of falling. “It’s important for seniors to accept that sometimes they need help to remain safe at home,” said Sharon L. Driscoll, RN, CRRN, director in the nursing office at BAYADA. “We found that the number one reason for falls in the home is lack of supervision or assistance.  Not surprisingly, people want to be independent, even as they age,

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“There’s No Place Like (the Nursing) Home…” Avoiding the Trip from Kansas to Oz

Many of us remember Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz saying “There’s no place like home.” And it’s true. Whether we own or rent the premises in which we reside, the one place we hold as sacred is the one we relax and sleep in: Home. No client wants to be swept away in the tornado that is a Nursing Home. Elder Law attorneys try to smooth over the term by calling it an “institution”, a chilling word which is (shockingly) not that much more comforting. Either term instantly invokes the thoughts of bad smells, confused or infirmed individuals, bad food, hospital beds, and misery before death. Truth be told, the “best” nursing homes I have seen are not places

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