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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When to Begin Medicaid Planning

I have several prospective clients approach me to discuss Medicaid planning. They have typically just finished handling their own parent’s age-related issues (dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, etc.), and want their younger relatives to avoid the same kind of emotional turmoil and financial commitments when they age. Medicaid compliance requires a person to relinquish either assets or control over those assets, but many people in their 60s are just not ready to part with either of these. A large percentage of these individuals are not even retired and have yet to enjoy the best years of their lives in which they have the physical, mental, and emotional capacity to enjoy their free time. In many cases, their knee-jerk response is based on

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How to Protect the Aging from Aging Issues

How does a person protect an aging family member who still has some decision making abilities? Waning decision making abilities are more likely for people as they age. I see elderly people get increasingly frustrated by mixing up their family members’ names, forgetting what they were talking about in mid-sentence, reminiscing about events that never took place. These individuals can still make certain decisions at certain times, but are not really 100% competent. The problem is that courts are loath to consider these people incapacitated, so younger family members are stuck worrying that a financial predator will strike the aging client in a moment of weakness. MONEY: When paid care givers are working at the homes of these individuals, it

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Commercial Annuities: Medicaid Giant Killers

In a brief past career I was an annuity marketing specialist at an independent brokerage firm. I consistently reviewed and explained over 800 different brands of annuities to financial planners. Most annuities may offer income for life or a set period of time, some have guaranteed living benefits or guaranteed death benefits, some have up-front bonuses or stock market indexing. I bring this up to show that I am well aware of many of the features and benefits of annuities.   However, for Medicaid planning there is nothing more potentially ruinous than owning an annuity outside of a retirement plan. Remember that Medicaid planning is an “asset game”: While we can do little to influence our beneficiary’s income, we can

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You Are Not Entitled to Medicaid

I meet a lot of procrastinators. People who wait too long to deal with a serious issue, then figure they can fix it just by coming to an attorney. The best example is Medicaid Planning: Maybe a person wants to preserve their assets, but does not want to give up control and does not trust their children to have control. Or he wants to see what the future holds and then…and…and….. …And then “the event” that finally requires wealth preservation happens and no steps have been taken. The client has held onto their assets for too long and then has a stroke, or quick onset of dementia, maybe Parkinson’s develops, and the client is now in a rush to become

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GUEST BLOG – Sheila O’Brien, R.N., B.S.N., C.M.C. of O’Brien Care Management: Benefits of Hiring a Nurse Care Manager

A call comes in saying that mom has been hospitalized and you feel lost.  Your loved one is showing signs of forgetfulness or neglect and you feel lost.  You are concerned that a parent is at risk for falls or medication noncompliance and you feel lost.  These are all too common scenarios in our busy lives.  A Nurse Care Manager provides the answers to the difficult and all too common question, “what do I do next”.   A Nurse Care Manager provides comprehensive oversight to a variety of individuals in need of help.  Care Managers rely on their healthcare experience when managing home staff, and coordinating all aspects of care within an interdisciplinary approach.  These services are tailored to the

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Medicaid Planning: Don’t Be Too Eager to Take Mom & Dad’s Money

When a parent gets to the point where they consider enlisting personal care, such as home cleaning, cooking, or even more advanced issues such as help bathing or toileting, their children have been considering it for a while. Oh, and the children not only don’t wish to pay for mom and dad’s care: The kids want mom and dad’s money, and want Medicaid to pay for the care. Children feel entitled to their parent’s money. Believe me, they do, even “perfect children.” And several parents agree with the philosophy of “I’ve worked hard, and I don’t want the government to take my money, so I’ll leave it to my kids instead.” Let me be clear: When your parents are in

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Medicaid Planning for the Single Non-Parent: Huh?

The heading of this posting says it all: I see very little reason for a single individual with no children to do Medicaid planning. Now let me explain why: First, Medicaid is designed to transfer family wealth. And yes, a niece, nephew, brother or sister are all considered family. But it is very rare that siblings or aunt / uncles share the same bond and sense of responsibility that are indicative of the parent / child relationship. Parents will sacrifice a great deal for their children, but most aunts and uncles have much more limited boundaries. I do see exceptions, but they are rare. Now for the real heart of the topic, and don’t be surprised when you read this:

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2015 Medicaid Series: Beware of Transferring Too Much Too Early

My next several posts will be centered on Medicaid planning. This will cover topics affecting people who are planning for future transfers to their children, people with ailing parents, as well as those who have neither living parents nor natural beneficiaries. Let’s start from the top. People preparing precautionary Medicaid planning for themselves are typically (hopefully) planning several years in advance: They have reached their mid-late seventies and are starting to enjoy a less frenetic lifestyle, or may have long-term health concerns that are just starting to manifest. They have worked hard for their money, have a possible surplus of assets, and have no desire to use these asset to pay for what they perceive Medicaid will cover in the

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2014 IN REVIEW

Happy Holidays and New Year! I hope this letter finds you in good spirits. 2014 was a very busy year in the Trusts & Estates and Elder Law field. Most of my predictions were wrong (again). I tend to err on the side of caution, however, so when I am wrong my clients typically win. Please allow me to share some legal highlights of this past year with you, and some professional insights as to how 2015 may look in the Trusts & Estates and Elder Law arena: THE BAD NEWS: INHERITED IRA CHANGE: BENEFICIARIES NO LONGER PROTECTED Issue: In the past, your IRA and other retirement plans were protected from creditors, with the exception of a spouse whom you

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