Category: Elder Law Attorney

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 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…

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…

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…

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…

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 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…

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…

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 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 What is Elder Law? 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…