April 20, 2018 Robert Slutsky

What is a perfect score on cognitive testing and what does it mean?  Having represented clients in well over 300 guardianships I have seen the common cognitive tests and how they are interpreted many times. Scoring well on them may or may not represent what you think it does.   On its surface, the Montreal…

April 13, 2018 Robert Slutsky

This week’s blog is off topic for elder law but I feel compelled to put my thoughts in writing. I hope, regardless of your politics or religion, it makes you think, and maybe act.   On April 12, 2018 Many people in the United States observe Yom Hashoah, which is also known as Holocaust Remembrance…

April 6, 2018 Robert Slutsky

While the execution of wills requires formalities like witnesses and a notary, the reality is that much property passes to heirs through other means that often lack the protections of a properly drafted will or trust.   Many bank and investments accounts, as well as real estate, have joint owners who take ownership automatically at…

March 29, 2018 Robert Slutsky

Many eldercare professionals have observed or have in someway been involved in an incapacity proceeding. The roles of the parties are not always clear. As a lawyer involved in over 350 incapacity proceedings the one concern/ambiguity I have always had is the role or counsel appointed for the alleged incapacitated person.   In Pennsylvania the…

March 20, 2018 Robert Slutsky

Long-term care insurance (LTCi) is an important element of good retirement planning, since it offers financial protection against unexpected illness or disability that would otherwise quickly diminish your savings. However, many LTCi plans are simply too expensive for most retirees or people nearing retirement age, and the costs seem to continue to increase.   At…

February 27, 2018 Robert Slutsky

In a (very) rare act of bipartisanship, the United States Congress came to an agreement to avoid the risk of a government shutdown.   There are new Medicare changes under the new budget agreement that have a dramatic impact on health care. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 is a continuing resolution (CR) to keep…

February 20, 2018 Robert Slutsky

Older parents are becoming more common. Whether it is societal, educational, maturity or debt related (academic debt), our society, in general is having families later in life, sometimes much later. But later-in-life parents have special estate planning and retirement considerations.   The first consideration is to make sure you have an estate plan and that…

February 14, 2018 Robert Slutsky

Medicare beneficiaries may now discuss options for end-of-life care with their health care providers. Beneficiaries of course were already free to talk about advance care planning with their doctors or other qualified health professionals. However, practitioners were only reimbursed for such discussions during a patient’s “Welcome to Medicare” visit, a time when the topic may…

January 30, 2018 Robert Slutsky

A recent New Jersey appeals court case demonstrates how important it is for families to come up with a long term care plan before an emergency happens. The case involves two brothers who got into a fight over whether to place their mother in a nursing home.  Sadly, this dispute resulted in one brother filing…

January 23, 2018 Robert Slutsky

Oftentimes when I am assisting a family in estates or with guardianships I often find that the decedent/incapacitated person owned unique or troublesome assets.   Difficult Assets in Estates or Guardianships Include:   Timeshares: These are almost impossible to sell once they are issued. If they are premier companies with premier properties there is a…

January 15, 2018 Robert Slutsky

What is a Special Needs Trust? A Special Needs Trust is a trust, authorized under federal law, that holds the funds of a disabled beneficiary and allows the beneficiary to qualify for means tested public benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Were those same assets owned directly by the disabled person, they would…

January 10, 2018 Robert Slutsky

Understand Decisional Capacity: Be aware that capacity is not an all-or-nothing thing. A family member may have some capacities at some times but are gradually losing others. Financial capacity and financial judgment often decline before other functions. So it is important to get help to evaluate capacity. It will help give you a clearer picture…

January 2, 2018 Robert Slutsky

Slutsky Elder Law Presents Guest Contributors: Middle-aged Adults are Sandwiched in Between Aging Parents and Kids America is faced with an aging population and a generation of adults who may need to take care of their parents, while caring for the children and young adults in their household. Demands on the sandwichers are increasing as…

December 27, 2017 Robert Slutsky

At this time of year most of us reflect on what went well and not as well as we like in the past year and commit to doing better.  This reboot is needed even if we had a great year.  Even if you had some challenges in the last year, I bet you can find…

December 26, 2017 Robert Slutsky

Interested in Learning the New Tax Brackets? 1. Standard Deduction: The new tax law changes the standard deduction to $12,000 on single returns, $18,000 for head-of-household filers and $24,000 on joint returns … up from $6,350, $9,350 and $12,700 in 2017.  Individuals age 65 or older and blind people get even higher standard deductions. Two…

December 12, 2017 Robert Slutsky

                            Ann Schoonover and Wendy Walsh from Surrey Services for Seniors Join                                  Slutsky Elder Law as Guest Contributors What is an Aging Life Care Manager? Aging…

November 27, 2017 admin

Would you like a few tips about Nursing Home Admission Agreements? Common Concerns with Agreements: Concern: Some nursing home admission agreements assume that certain injuries are inevitable.  They limit the care for the resident and force the resident to hire private duty caregivers. Response: Federal law requires the nursing home to provide the care necessary…

November 18, 2017 admin

Is a Roth IRA right for you? A Roth IRA is a different type of IRA and it may work for you.  In its basic form an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) is an account that you can contribute funds free of federal income taxes.  You can contribute up to $5,500 per person (or $6,500 per…

November 6, 2017 admin

Most of us are aware of the approaching holiday season, particularly Thanksgiving. At least the person in your gang who is in charge of the menu details is pondering this. Now a couple stories may play out in some families during this time. For those of us who have to marshal this culinary three-ring circus,…

November 1, 2017 admin

Is There a Large Scale Problem with Court Appointed Guardians? In my opinion, the answer to the question of “is there a large scale problem with court appointed guardians” is “no.”  In the 20+ years I’ve been working in elder law and in almost that much time representing a busy Older Adult Protective Services unit,…

November 1, 2017 admin

Colleen Consolo from Consolo & Harbison Law Firm Joins Slutsky Elder Law as a Guest Contributor   Getting a Divorce? Going through a Divorce can be difficult at any stage in life.  Each stage of life has its own pitfalls and issues that are unique in the divorce process.  When approaching or at retirement age there…

October 31, 2017 admin

Marty Sherman from Sherman Insurance Consulting, LLC Joins Slutsky Elder Law as a Guest Contributor Which way should you go with Medicare? “Medicare” is Health Insurance that is available for people 65 and older. Also, it is available for people younger than 65 who have been on “Social Security Disability” for 24 months. However, it…

October 9, 2017 admin

What if there is a problem and you are not around the corner to help? Being a long distance caregiver for an elderly or disabled loved one is tough. Here are some tips for long distance caregivers: Hire a local care manager. Create a Contact List. Put together a contact list of medical providers, insurance…

October 9, 2017 admin

 How do Medicare and Employer Coverage Work Together? Medicare benefits start at age 65, but many people continue working past that age, either by choice or need. It is important to understand how Medicare and employer coverage work together.   Depending on your circumstances, Medicare is either the primary or secondary insurer. The primary insurer…

October 6, 2017 admin

What Factors Should You Consider When Utilizing Your Retirement Funds? Today few people have defined benefit pensions anymore.  The vast majority of us now rely on 401(k) or IRA self-directed and self-funded retirement plans.  Not only does this put the risk of investing and having enough money to retire on but it also places upon…

July 10, 2017 admin

Alzheimer’s Disease vs Age Related Memory Loss There was a recent article discussing Nobel Prize-winning Professor Eric Kandel’s 50+ years of research on the topic of memory loss and Alzheimer’s Disease. It described how, while some of the newer medications are making a difference, they are often less effective because they are not used until…

July 10, 2017 admin

With the Senate now releasing their version of the Affordable Care Act repeal and replacement I thought it would be good to go over what the proposed laws (House and Senate versions) did and did not do. However, I have been beaten to the punch by people both more knowledgeable and more articulate on the…

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

Medicare will Cover Conversations About End of Life Care With My Doctor? Medicare beneficiaries may now discuss options for end of life care 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 patient’s “Welcome…

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…