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  • March 26, 2014

    March 26, 2014   Medicaid Planning

    How Not to Lose the Nest Egg

    Retirees have often spent many years building their nest egg. Once retired, it is important to carefully watch this nest egg so it will last through the end of life.  For most people that could be 20 years or more. Unfortunately, many retirees make the same financial mistakes that can exhaust their nest eggs way too soon.  Many of you may have had clients that made similar mistakes. Here are five of the top mistakes retirees make, according to a recent article on wsj.com.  1)    Making Big Purchases  Sure, people want to reward themselves after a lifetime of work. But some retirees adopt a “You Only Live Once” attitude and go crazy. The author cites one man who bought a $50,000 boat soon after retiring. He had planned to try to live... Read More


  • March 25, 2014

    March 25, 2014   Medicaid Planning

    Keep or Drop Long Term Care Insurance with Rising Premiums?

    As elder law attorneys, you are probably well versed in the staggering costs of long term care, along with the high premiums that your clients typically pay for long term care insurance. According to a recent New York Times article, over the last several years insurance carriers in this market have been seeking to increase premiums in order to cover their losses in this arena. Some insurance carriers have actually left the market, while others seek approval from state insurance commissions to dramatically increase premiums. Are you looking for information on how to counsel your clients on whether to keep or let go of their long term care insurance as prices skyrocket? In this article, ElderCounsel Principals Howard Krooks and Vincent Russo weigh in on parameters to consider when consultin... Read More


  • March 10, 2014

    March 10, 2014   Medicaid Planning

    Caring for the Caregiver: New Book Offers Tips

    Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia is a constant challenge. New problems arise almost daily. Just getting the person to take a bath may be an all-day battle. A new book, Support for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers: The Unsung Heroes, by Dr. Judith London, details these issues by telling 54 different stories about different situations confronting caregivers. The book, according to an article in the New York Times, offers readers suggestions that could help other people in similar situations. The types of challenges outlined in the stories in the book include such things as convincing patients or other relatives that there is a problem in the first place. Many people are in denial or think some mental lapses are simply the re... Read More


  • February 20, 2014

    February 20, 2014   Medicaid Planning

    Time to Renew Grandma’s Passport? Elder Care Outsourced Overseas

    In the last 30 years we have seen the outsourcing of large scale production and customer-service needs to countries such as China and India. However, a recent article discusses the possibility of a new trend in out-sourcing: elder care. The article describes a middle-aged Swiss woman who sent her 91 year-old mother to an assisted living facility after the mother became too challenging to care for in the home due to increased dementia. Increased costs in Swiss health care was a primary reason cited for the decision, as well as receiving more eldercare bang-for-the-buck in Thailand.The financial burden of saving for one’s retirement, the children’s college, and increased costs of living are taking their toll on families around the world, and Switzerland is no exception. The wides... Read More


  • February 6, 2014

    February 6, 2014   Medicaid Planning

    Are Your Aging Loved Ones (and Clients) Safe From Exploitation?

    The population of aging seniors with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to double or even triple by the year 2050, according to a recent article. Last year in Massachusetts alone there were 21,000 reports of suspected elder financial abuse. The losses in 2011 for financial elder abuse nationwide is estimated to be around $2.9 billion, with women in the 80-89 age bracket falling in the most common victims and males in the 30-60 age bracket as the prime perpetrators, many of whom are family members, neighbors, and friends of the family. Though tests and initiatives are being devised to help thwart the increase in financial elder abuse, State Representative Paul Brodeur believes “that exploitation will be a growth industry.” Elders living alone are nearly twice as suscepti... Read More


  • January 14, 2014

    January 14, 2014   Medicaid Planning

    Are Your Clients Prepared for Long Term Care?

    The vast majority of the American population will require long-term care at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, however, most families are not prepared to face the staggering costs of providing such care. A recent article discusses several options that families should consider when planning for long-term care.  Long-Term Care InsuranceLong-term care insurance is most suitable for upper-middle class families, those too well off to qualify for Medicaid, but not wealthy enough to be able to pay the costs out of pocket. Long-term care insurance is a great option for those who begin their planning early. These policies are often quite affordable for young individuals in good health. As a person approaches age 65 and his or her health deteriorates, however, he or she will become diffi... Read More


  • October 11, 2013

    October 11, 2013   Medicaid Planning

    Another Victory for Promissory Notes in Medicaid Planning

    By Valerie Peterson

    The 10th Circuit in Gragert v. Lake (10th Cir., No. 12-6137, Oct. 8, 2013), reversed a district court ruling that a promissory note was a countable resource for Medicaid eligibility purposes.  Prior to applying for Medicaid benefits for Mr. Gragert, he and Mrs. Gragert sold a rental home to their son.  Mrs. Gragert took back a promissory note in the amount of $28,800.   Mr. Gragert was denied Medicaid as the value of the note was treated as a countable resource for Medicaid eligibility purposes. In reversing the lower court, the 10th Circuit found that the note was not a countable resource for a number of reasons, including the fact that under the terms of the note, Mrs. Gragert could not “grant, bargain, sell, assign, convey or transfer this note o... Read More


  • June 4, 2013

    Per Stirpes—The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

    "Per stirpes," "by representation," and "per capita at each generation" are all descriptors that tell the reader how to allocate a gift among a person's descendants.  They are not shorthand for contingent beneficiary provisions.  (While this discussion applies to all three, I will use per stirpes for the rest of this blog.)The Good: It's easy.To use per stirpes correctly, you just have to follow one rule:  Always make the gift to a person's descendants, like "to [person's] descendants, per stirpes."  Note a couple of things: (1) in general, the person should be one person, not a class of people; and (2) the word "descendants" (or "issue") must always appear.  Here are some examples:-- to my... Read More


  • September 12, 2012

    September 12, 2012   Medicaid Planning

    Important Medicare Update

    On June 1, 2012, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued Transmittal No. R2480CP , which took effect September 4, 2012.  The Transmittal updated instructions on the issuance of ABNs.  This transmittal clarifies the difference between a mandatory and voluntary ABN, brings the ABN process into compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), creates a Quick Glance Guide and offers new hypothetical situations to illustrate the use of ABNs. Highlights of the Transmittal are briefly covered below with language directly from the Transmittal in quotes: Background An Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage (ABN) provides notice to a Medicare beneficiary that an ordinarily covered Medicare item or service will not be covered. Required Notice If notice is not gi... Read More


  • August 16, 2012

    ElderCounsel® has announced two new National Advisory Board members who will also serve as the organization’s Special Needs Content Co-Editors.

    Bradley J. Frigon and Stephen Dale will assist ElderCounsel in expanding their current special needs planning document offering and will take active roles in teaching special needs planning courses for ElderCounsel.“We are pleased to have two of the top special needs planning attorneys in the country joining us,” said Valerie Peterson, Executive Director.  “Special needs planning attorneys provide a valuable service to individuals with disabilities and their families.  ElderCounsel is committed to providing the best planning documents and education possible for attorneys practicing in this area.”Dale and Frigon join existing National Advisory Board members Michael Gilfix, Frank Johns, Tim Nay, Rene Reixach and Mary Schmitt Smith, each of whom are elder law and special needs plann... Read More