Category: Elder Law

September 26, 2018 robert slutsky

  Three years ago, the Veterans Administration issued proposed regulations that were to significantly reduce the number of veterans eligible to receive enhanced pension benefits if they needed long term care. The proposed regulations instituted a lookback period and penalties for transfers within 36 months of filing for application for these enhanced pension benefits. There…

August 21, 2018 robert slutsky

      Contrary to popular belief, if you die without a will, your assets do not go to the state.  However the state will make a will for you. Whether the will that the state makes for you carries out your wishes is another issue entirely.  When a person does not have a will…

June 14, 2018 robert slutsky

        Slutsky Elder Law provides the responsible estate planning, asset protection, and guidance for older and disabled adults in Pennsylvania. We understand that finding the best arrangements for clients’ long-term wishes and care is a crucial obligation, and one that should be carefully considered and planned. We pride ourselves on offering a…

May 17, 2018 robert slutsky

While it is not a large part of the program, family provided care under the PA Medicaid Waiver program is getting larger.   There are two ways a family member can provide care to a medically appropriate relative and get compensated under the Medicaid Waiver program. The person can get hired by a homecare agency…

May 9, 2018 robert slutsky

What things should be taken into consideration when hiring a financial advisor? Fees: Some charge an hourly fee, some charge a fee based on percentage of assets under management, some get paid commissions for products they sell. Only you can determine which is right for you or whether you feel a particular mode of compensation…

May 1, 2018 robert slutsky

Does Alzheimer’s Begin in Childhood? A new study found shocking evidence to suggest that Alzheimer’s begins in childhood, with babies younger than a year old displaying signs of the disease. The research emphasized that earlier intervention is necessary to prevent the disease and addressing air pollution may play a key role. Researchers examined the autopsies…

April 25, 2018 robert slutsky

The Washington Post recently ran an article about efforts underway by some folks to expand Oregon’s physician-aided dying law to include those individuals who do not have terminal illnesses. In Oregon, pushing to give patients with degenerative diseases the right to die explains efforts to expand the scope of Oregon’s law to cover those with…

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 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…

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…

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 robert slutsky

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 robert slutsky

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 robert slutsky

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 robert slutsky

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 3, 2017 robert slutsky

  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 robert slutsky

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 robert slutsky

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 robert slutsky

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 robert slutsky

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 robert slutsky

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 robert slutsky

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 robert slutsky

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 robert slutsky

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 robert slutsky

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 robert slutsky

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 robert slutsky

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 robert slutsky

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 robert slutsky

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 robert slutsky

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…

August 26, 2015 robert slutsky

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 robert slutsky

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 robert slutsky

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…

May 6, 2015 robert slutsky

Q: My mother-in-law is on the deed to my wife’s and my home. If she moves into a nursing home, will Medicaid try to claim an interest in my home? How can I prevent them from doing this? Must I transfer the interest in the property prior to her moving? She no longer earns an…

May 6, 2015 robert slutsky

10 Tips While Helping Aging Parents 1. Getting old is financially scary No matter how much money one may have, thinking about covering the expenses associated with aging or dealing with the unknown can be extremely scary. What if your elderly parent doesn’t have enough insurance or savings to pay for long term care or…

February 11, 2015 robert slutsky

 Estate Planning Tips There are several estate planning tips most are not aware of. The percentage of married households in the United States fell from 55 percent in 1990 to 48 percent in 2010. About 40 percent of all marriages end in divorce. Three quarters of people who divorce remarry — accounting for a pretty…

October 31, 2013 robert slutsky

Americans Worry About Long-term Care Costs: Americans have little idea how long-term supports and services are paid for, according to a new poll by Harris Interactive HPOL +0.26% and the medical publishers HealthDay. Yet, they are worried about the cost, believe most people should buy long-term care insurance, and also favor a new government program…