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Archive for the ‘Elder Law’ Category

The costs of long-term care continue to rise.  The average cost of one month in a nursing home, according to the State of Michigan, is now at $6816 per month or almost $82,000 per year.  The hourly cost of home care is $20 or more per hour.  This is more than most people can afford.  A recent Harvard study noted that 69% of single individuals and 34% of married couples would use up their life’s savings after paying for a nursing home for less than a year.  In addition, these same individuals also cannot afford the high cost of long-term care insurance.

Therefore, getting funding to pay for the high cost of long term care is very important.  The government program that provides help in paying for the cost of long-term care is Medicaid.  Unfortunately, the government has very strict rules about assets that must be met before it will pay for these high costs.  The rules are very different depending upon whether the person is pre-planning or crisis planning. (more…)

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In April, 2010 the new Michigan Trust Code became the law in Michigan.  Why the need for a new law regarding trusts.

First, Michigan has a comprehensive set of laws regarding wills that went into effect in 1998 (the “Estates and Protected Individuals Code” or “EPIC”).  However, trusts (especially the revocable living trusts) were becoming very common.  People like trust since they permit their owners to avoid probate, reduce taxes, create greater confidentiality, flexibility and reduce contestability.  Therefore, a similar comprehensive body of law was needed for the vast and burgeoning area of trusts. (more…)

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The Social Security Administration has recently announced that they have added early-onset Alzheimer’s to the list of conditions under its “Compassionate Allowance Initiative”. This is a great help for those younger persons afflicted with this debilitating disease, giving them expedited access to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

In the past, people with early-onset Alzheimer’s have had difficulty when applying for Social Security benefits.  While they may have eventually been able to receive the much-needed benefits, it was usually after first being denied and having to file an appeal. This process could take several years, during which time medical care and other necessities were often compromised. (more…)

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It is not uncommon to have family members provide care for their aging parents or relatives.  This is understandable when one considers that most people would be more comfortable with their own family than with a stranger providing assistance with their activities of daily living. In fact, according to a recent study, about 21% of the population provides such family care.  These generous persons provide an average of 21 hours per week over a period of 4.5 years.

One problem with this approach, however, is that family caregivers are often forced to cut back on their employment or even quit their jobs in order to provide for their parents.  Especially in a difficult economy this can create financial hardship for the caregiver and that person’s immediate family.  Hence, many persons ask if there are any government programs that will pay family caregivers to provide care for their loved ones. (more…)

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November 11th is a day that we set aside to remember those who have served our country in the armed forces.  It all started back in 1919 when President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11th an “Armistice Day” to honor those who served in World War I.  Eventually the name was changed to “Veterans Day” and it was to honor all veterans of all wars.

U.S concern for veterans goes back even further in our history.  For example, President Abraham Lincoln once said that we must strive to care for and “to honor him who has borne the wounds of battle and his widow and his orphan.”  Toward that end, in I930 the U.S. officially established the Department of Veterans Affairs.  The Department, now known as the Veterans Administration (“VA”) has developed numerous programs to help veterans, their spouses and dependent children.

At the present time there are numerous veterans who served our country during wartime that are aging.  Many of these aging veterans need help with long-term care and therefore the VA has provided the following benefits: (more…)

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With all of the constant changes in the Medicaid laws, seniors and their families need to keep up-to-date to make sure their care needs are provided for.  In this post I hope to highlight some of the important recent changes:

1.   Estate Recovery – While the estate recovery law that permits the state to “take” the home was passed in September of 2007, the law is not currently being enforced.  However, the state is working with the federal government to find a version that will be approved by the federal government.  Apparently Lansing is working on some additional legislation.  When that passes and is approved it can be applied for care costs dating retroactively back to September of 2007. (more…)

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It is becoming increasingly common for family members to provide care to a loved one from a distance.  This is an inevitable result of the shift from the days when families were multigenerational in the same area (or sometimes the same house!) to the modern trend where the family members are distant from one another.  Hence, it is not uncommon to find a child from a different area or state being responsible for an aging parent or parents.

With the distance approach, however, comes a unique set of problems.  The distant caregiver cannot generally take the proper amount of time to care for the loved one. This is especially true as the care needs increase over time.  The caregiver increasingly relies upon telephone contact with medical and other professionals to meet the needs of the loved one. (more…)

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