Tuesday, December 20, 2016

People with Disabilities Will Soon Be Able to Create Their Own Special Needs Trusts

This week’s article about Special Needs Trusts was written by Sheri R. Abrams, Esq., from Oakton, Virginia.


Attorney Abrams is a Partner member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance.



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 billion package of health-related initiatives that has now been sent to President Obama for his expected signature.


The Fairness Act, introduced in 2013 by Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.), will fix an especially frustrating drafting error in the Social Security Act that has prevented people with disabilities from creating special needs trusts to hold their own funds. Under current law, only a parent, grandparent, guardian or court can establish a first-party special needs trust to hold the beneficiary’s assets. This forces a competent person with disabilities to incur unnecessary expenses and waste time to set up a trust that she could otherwise create on her own with the help of an attorney. In most cases, not setting up a special needs trust is not an option, since the trust is typically needed to protect a person with disabilities’ access to government benefits.


The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act inserts language into the Social Security Act to give individuals with special needs the same right to create a trust as a parent, grandparent, guardian, or court. If competent to do so, they can now create a trust on their own behalf using their own assets. The two-sentence bill makes no other changes to the Social Security Administration’s treatment of trusts and it does not alter the requirement that first-party trusts contain payback provisions allowing state Medicaid offices to recoup costs from a trust after the beneficiary’s death. The Fairness Act will apply to trusts established on or after the date that the Cures Act is enacted.


A special needs trust should still be set up only with the help of a qualified attorney.


21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories


If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this Elder Care Matter or with any Elder Care / Senior Care issue, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.


  1. ElderCareMatters.com

  2. ElderCareMattersBlog.com

  3. ElderCareWebsites.com

  4. ElderCareAnswers.us

  5. ElderCareArticles.us

  6. ElderCareProfessionals.us

  7. ElderLawAttorneys.us

  8. EstatePlanningAttorneys.us

  9. FindDailyMoneyManagers.net

  10. FindElderCareMediators.net

  11. FindElderLawAttorneys.net

  12. FindEstatePlanningAttorneys.net

  13. FindGeriatricCareManagers.net

  14. FindHomeCareProviders.net

  15. FindLongTermCareInsurance.net

  16. FindMedicaidAttorneys.net

  17. FindProbateAttorneys.net

  18. FindSeniorLivingCommunities.net

  19. FindSeniorMoveManagers.net

  20. FindSpecialNeedsAttorneys.net

  21. FindVAAccreditedAttorneys.net

#eldercare, #seniorcare, #eldercarematters, #seniorcarematters, #eldercarearticles, #seniorcarearticles, #eldercarematters, #specialneedsattorneys




People with Disabilities Will Soon Be Able to Create Their Own Special Needs Trusts

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

5 Reasons Elderly Adults Should Know Their Family Health History

This week’s Elder Care article was written by Frank L. Henderson, Owner of Heart of the Carolinas Homecare in Mauldin, South Carolina.  Mr. Henderson is a Partner member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance.


5 Reasons Elderly Adults Should Know Their Family Health History



Understanding your family heritage, traditions, and culture are important because they give you an idea of where you come from and what family members before you have done to celebrate holidays. Knowing your health history is also important because it gives you an idea of what health problems you, your elderly parent, and other family members are at risk for. Your family history does not only include any illnesses or health problems your current relatives have, but also those that ancient ancestors have developed.


As your parent gets older, they are at risk for developing a number of health problems. Knowing what health issues they may develop will help their doctor make more efficient diagnoses. If your loved one still is unsure of what information their family health history holds, here are five reasons they should find out.


1.    Understand the risks


By doing a little digging to find out of what health challenges their ancestors have suffered from, the elder will have a better idea of what they have an increased chance of developing. Knowing this information will also give the senior more motivation to take preventative measures against the illness.


2.    Makes the doctor appointments quicker


Especially when attending an appointment with a new doctor, there will most likely be a number of forms that need to be filled out in order to get a better idea of what medical conditions the senior is at risk for. By having a formal family health history recorded, this information will be readily available when needed. This will free up a great deal of time filling out a stack of paperwork at the appointment.


3.     Allergies are easier to diagnose


From being gluten or lactose intolerant to being allergic to certain ingredients in medications, pinpointing whether or not the elder is suffering from an allergic reaction can be a difficult task. But by discovering if there is an allergy in the elder’s family, they will have a better chance of finding out if they are allergic to the same thing their ancestors were.


4.      Discover any dangerous behaviors that run in the family


Does alcoholism or drug abuse run in the family? If so, you and the elder have a higher chance of developing the same unhealthy behaviors compared to those who do not have a family history of it.


5.        Determine if psychological disorders are present in the family history


Aside from finding out what physical ailments you should be concerned by, psychological disorders can also be discovered through family health history research.


Finding all of the information needed for the senior’s family health history can be difficult to do alone. Yet, with the help of a senior care provider, they will be able to get a better idea of what conditions they may be at risk for.


21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories


If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this Elder Care Matter or with any Elder Care / Senior Care issue, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.


  1. ElderCareMatters.com

  2. ElderCareMattersBlog.com

  3. ElderCareWebsites.com

  4. ElderCareAnswers.us

  5. ElderCareArticles.us

  6. ElderCareProfessionals.us

  7. ElderLawAttorneys.us

  8. EstatePlanningAttorneys.us

  9. FindDailyMoneyManagers.net

  10. FindElderCareMediators.net

  11. FindElderLawAttorneys.net

  12. FindEstatePlanningAttorneys.net

  13. FindGeriatricCareManagers.net

  14. FindHomeCareProviders.net

  15. FindLongTermCareInsurance.net

  16. FindMedicaidAttorneys.net

  17. FindProbateAttorneys.net

  18. FindSeniorLivingCommunities.net

  19. FindSeniorMoveManagers.net

  20. FindSpecialNeedsAttorneys.net

  21. FindVAAccreditedAttorneys.net

#eldercare, #seniorcare, #eldercarematters, #seniorcarematters, #eldercarearticles, #seniorcarearticles, #eldercarematters




5 Reasons Elderly Adults Should Know Their Family Health History

Monday, November 28, 2016

Who may act as an agent under a Power of Attorney?

Today’s Elder Care Matters Q&A discusses the importance of selecting an Agent under Power of Attorney


Question:  Who may act as an agent under a Power of Attorney?


Answer: In general, an agent, or attorney in fact, may be anyone who is legally competent and over the age of majority.  Most individuals select a close family member such as a spouse, sibling or adult child.  However, any person such as a friend or a professional with an outstanding reputation for honesty would be ideal.  You may appoint multiple agents to serve either simultaneously or separately.  Appointing more than one agent to serve simultaneously can be problematic because if any one of the agents is unavailable to sign, action may be delayed.  Confusion and disagreement between simultaneous agents can also lead to inaction.  It is usually more prudent to appoint one individual as the primary agent and nominate additional individuals to serve as alternate agents if your first choice is unwilling or unable to serve.


Today’s Answer was provided by Nancy Burner, Esq., in East Setauket, New York.  Attorney Burner is a Partner Member in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance.


21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories


If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this issue or with any Elder Care / Senior Care matter, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.



#eldercarematters, #eldercare, #eldercareanswers, #seniorcareanswers,  #eldercaredirectories, #seniorcaredirectories, #findseniorcareprofessionals, #findseniorcareexperts, #elderlawanswers, #seniorcare, #seniorcarematters, #findeldercareprofessionals, #findelderlawattorneys, #findestateplanningattorneys, #findvaaccreditedattorneys, #findmedicaidattorneys



Who may act as an agent under a Power of Attorney?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Part B Premium Will Rise Slightly for Most Medicare Beneficiaries in 2017

This week’s Elder Care article was written by Chad R. Oldham, Esq., from the Oldham Law Firm in Jonesboro, Arkansas.  Attorney Oldham is a Partner member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance.


Medicare Part B Premium Will Rise Slightly for Most Beneficiaries in 2017



The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid has announced the Medicare premiums, deductibles, and coinsurances for 2017. After holding steady at $104.90 a month for four years, the standard Medicare Part B premium that most recipients pay will rise 4 percent to about $109 a month.  However, approximately 30 percent of beneficiaries will see their Part B premium rise from $121.80 to $134 a month, a 10 percent increase.  Meanwhile, all beneficaries will face a higher Part B deductible, which will go from the current $166 to $183 in 2017.


The reason for the two different Part B premiums is that about 70 percent of beneficiaries are protected from any increase in premiums when Social Security benefits remain stagnant, as has been the case for the last several years. Medicare beneficiaries who are unprotected from a premium rise include those enrolled in Medicare but who are not yet receiving Social Security, new Medicare beneficiaries, seniors earning more than $85,000 a year, and “dual eligibles” who receive both Medicare and Medicaid benefits.


For beneficiaries receiving skilled care in a nursing home, Medicare’s coinsurance for days 21-100 will inch up from $161 to $164.50.  Medicare coverage ends after day 100.


Here are all the new Medicare payment figures:


  • Basic Part B premium: $109/month (was $104.90)

  • Part B premium for those not protected: $134 (was $121.80)

  • Part B deductible: $183 (was $166)

  • Part A deductible: $1,316 (was $1,288)

  • Co-payment for hospital stay days 61-90: $329/day (was $322)

  • Co-payment for hospital stay days 91 and beyond: $658/day (was $644)

  • Skilled nursing facility co-payment, days 21-100: $164.50/day (was $161)

So-called “Medigap” policies can cover some of these costs.


Higher-income beneficiaries will pay higher Part B premiums:


  • Individuals with annual incomes between $85,000 and $107,000 and married couples with annual incomes between $170,000 and $214,000 will pay a monthly premium of $187.50 (was $170.50).

  • Individuals with annual incomes between $107,000 and $160,000 and married couples with annual incomes between $214,000 and $320,000 will pay a monthly premium of $267.90 (was $243.60).

  • Individuals with annual incomes between $160,000 and $214,000 and married couples with annual incomes between $320,000 and $428,000 will pay a monthly premium of $348.30 (was $316.70).

  • Individuals with annual incomes of $214,000 or more and married couples with annual incomes of $428,000 or more will pay a monthly premium of $428.60 (was $389.80).

Rates differ for beneficiaries who are married but file a separate tax return from their spouse:


  • Those with incomes between $85,000 and $129,000 will pay a monthly premium of $348.30 (was $316.70).

  • Those with incomes greater than $129,000 will pay a monthly premium of $428.60 (was $389.80).

The Social Security Administration uses the income reported two years ago to determine a Part B beneficiary’s premiums. So the income reported on a beneficiary’s 2015 tax return is used to determine whether the beneficiary must pay a higher monthly Part B premium in 2017. Income is calculated by taking a beneficiary’s adjusted gross income and adding back in some normally excluded income, such as tax-exempt interest, U.S. savings bond interest used to pay tuition, and certain income from foreign sources. This is called modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). If a beneficiary’s MAGI decreased significantly in the past two years, she may request that information from more recent years be used to calculate the premium.


Those who enroll in Medicare Advantage plans may have different cost-sharing arrangements.  The average Medicare Advantage premium is expected to decrease slightly, from $32.60 on average in 2016 to $31.40 in 2017.


21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories


If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this Elder Care Matter or with any Elder Care / Senior Care issue, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.


  1. ElderCareMatters.com

  2. ElderCareMattersBlog.com

  3. ElderCareWebsites.com

  4. ElderCareAnswers.us

  5. ElderCareArticles.us

  6. ElderCareProfessionals.us

  7. ElderLawAttorneys.us

  8. EstatePlanningAttorneys.us

  9. FindDailyMoneyManagers.net

  10. FindElderCareMediators.net

  11. FindElderLawAttorneys.net

  12. FindEstatePlanningAttorneys.net

  13. FindGeriatricCareManagers.net

  14. FindHomeCareProviders.net

  15. FindLongTermCareInsurance.net

  16. FindMedicaidAttorneys.net

  17. FindProbateAttorneys.net

  18. FindSeniorLivingCommunities.net

  19. FindSeniorMoveManagers.net

  20. FindSpecialNeedsAttorneys.net

  21. FindVAAccreditedAttorneys.net

#eldercare, #seniorcare, #eldercarematters, #seniorcarematters, #eldercarearticles, #seniorcarearticles, #medicarearticles




Part B Premium Will Rise Slightly for Most Medicare Beneficiaries in 2017

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

If a veteran is well can the spouse get VA Aid and Attendance benefits to help with home or assisted living care?

Today’s Elder Care Matters Q&A discusses VA benefits


Question: If a veteran is well can the spouse get VA Aid and Attendance benefits to help with home or assisted living care?


Answer:  The short answer is no. While the Veteran is living the claim is technically his and based on his health. However there is a very narrow sort of exception that can help a lot of families.


If the Veteran is over 65 he is considered “disabled” by definition and he might qualify for the base pension amount if the combined income of the husband and wife is below $1380 per month. With SS benefits and a small pension few couple’s combined monthly incomes are that low. Here’s where the Aid and Attendance application comes into play because the couple’s income is computed AFTER all unreimbursed reoccurring medical expenses. So say a couple has a monthly income of $3500 with private-in-home care costs of $2500 per month. Medicare premiums costs the couple $190 per month and other non-reimbursed medical expenses are $310 per month. What is left over for the Veteran and Spouse to live on is only $500 per month. If their non-exempt assets are low enough the couple will qualify for VA assistance. A home, one car and household goods are exempt assets. Technically the assistance would come from the Low Income Pension program and could be over $12,000 per year in this example. In 2010 the max allowed by the Low Income Pension program was $1291 per month or $15,493 per year for a veteran with a dependent spouse. These amounts change slightly from time to time.


In order for the Spouse’s assisted living or care expenses to be approved medical expenses, the Spouse must be examined by a doctor and Form 21-2680 must be filled out by the doctor and turned in with the Examination for Housebound Status or Permanent Need for Regular Aid and Attendance application Form 21-2680 with supporting documentation on the unreimbursed medical expenses.


If you call the VA about potential benefits you will be asked about the amount of your combined household income and if your combined income is above the maximum limit the VA will likely tell you that you are not eligible for any benefits. However because of the above referenced deductions you and your spouse are eligible!


A couple where one spouse is highly likely to enter a nursing home might be better served meeting with an elder law attorney to determine if they can qualify for Medicaid.


Working with a certified VA attorney is a good idea.


Today’s Answer was provided by Linda Farron Knapp, Esq., in Barnwell, South Carolina.  Attorney Knapp is a Partner Member in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance.


21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories


If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this issue or with any Elder Care / Senior Care matter, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.



#eldercarematters, #eldercare, #eldercareanswers, #seniorcareanswers,  #eldercaredirectories, #seniorcaredirectories, #findseniorcareprofessionals, #findseniorcareexperts, #elderlawanswers, #seniorcare, #seniorcarematters, #findeldercareprofessionals, #findelderlawattorneys, #findestateplanningattorneys, #findvaaccreditedattorneys, #findmedicaidattorneys



If a veteran is well can the spouse get VA Aid and Attendance benefits to help with home or assisted living care?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

What can health care providers charge me to get copies of my medical records?

Today’s Elder Care Matters Q&A discusses what health care providers can charge you for copies of your medical records


Question: Are there limits to how much I can be charged by health care providers to get copies of my medical records?


Answer: In Virginia when a patient requests a copy of his or her own records, a “reasonable cost-based fee, which shall include only the cost of supplies for and labor of copying the requested information, and postage” shall be charged. Code of Virginia § 32.1-127.1:03 subsection J.


If your Attorney or others request your medical records, costs for copying and mailing are limited to 50¢ per page for each page up to 50 pages and 25¢ per page for the remainder, plus all postage and shipping costs and a search and handling fee not to exceed $10. Copies shall be provided within 15 days of such request. Code of Virginia § 8.01-413.


Today’s Answer was provided by Sheri R. Abrams, Esq., in Oakton, Virginia.  Attorney Abrams is a Partner Member in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance.


21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories


If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this issue or with any Elder Care / Senior Care matter, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.



#eldercarematters, #eldercare, #eldercareanswers, #seniorcareanswers,  #eldercaredirectories, #seniorcaredirectories, #findseniorcareprofessionals, #findseniorcareexperts, #elderlawanswers, #seniorcare, #seniorcarematters, #findeldercareprofessionals, #findelderlawattorneys, #findestateplanningattorneys



What can health care providers charge me to get copies of my medical records?

Friday, October 14, 2016

What are the Formal Requirements for a Will?

Today’s Elder Care Matters Q&A discusses the formal requirements for a Will


Question: What are the Formal Requirements for a Will?


Answer: A will is a legal written declaration of a person’s intention for the disposition of his or her property after his or her death. The requirements to make a will are different in each state. In Georgia, you need the following: – You, the maker of the will, must be at least 14 years old. – You must be of sufficient mind and memory to realize you are making a will disposing of your property. – You must know what property you own and who your beneficiaries are. – The will must be in writing. – The will must be signed by the maker of the will and witnesses by at least two witnesses in the special manner provided by law. These witnesses should not be persons who will receive property under your will. – The signing of the will must obey certain technical formalities. – You cannot write your will out on a piece of paper and sign it. This is called a hollographic will and it is not recognized in Georgia. If you try to take short cuts like this one, the probate court may treat you as having died without a will.


Today’s Answer was provided by Michelle Wilson, Esq., Founding Partner of  Wilson Legal in Cumming, Georgia.  Attorney Wilson is a Partner Member in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance.


21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories


If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this issue or with any Elder Care / Senior Care matter, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.



#eldercarematters, #eldercare, #eldercareanswers, #seniorcareanswers,  #eldercaredirectories, #seniorcaredirectories, #findseniorcareprofessionals, #findseniorcareexperts, #elderlawanswers, #seniorcare, #seniorcarematters, #findeldercareprofessionals, #findelderlawattorneys, #findestateplanningattorneys



What are the Formal Requirements for a Will?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

“SNF” Doesn’t Stand for “Sunday Night Football” When Talking About Medicare and Medicaid

Today’s Elder Care Matters Q&A discusses an issue that may financially impact what you pay for long term care


Question: What does the acronym “SNF” stand for when talking about Medicaid and Medicaid?


Answer: Can you believe that the average cost for a one-bedroom unit in an assisted living facility is nearly $42,000 a year in our country?


These long-term-care costs could knock even Rocky out of the ring.


With many Americans hitting retirement age, they may be concerned about how to plan for future financial needs. While there’s a lot of literature available about retirement saving, many seniors don’t accurately measure the significant cost of post-retirement medical care. They simply expect Medicare to cover the costs. However, Medicare is very strict as to the types of long-term care it covers. The program only covers stays in skilled nursing facilities and hospice care under certain strict circumstances.


The Deseret News recently published the article, “How to cover the cost of long-term care,” which reported that for skilled nursing facility (“SNF”) coverage a beneficiary is required to be admitted to a hospital for at least three days, then discharged with a condition that requires skilled nursing level care.


Medicare will cover all of the expense for the first 20 days of the stay. The program then charges a $161 co-pay for every day up to 100 days. Once a patient reaches 100 days, he or she must cover the entire cost after the initially covered 100 days. But if he or she is out of an SNF for more than 60 days, the coverage resets and they can be admitted for another 100 days after a three-day hospital admission. Simple, right?


Medicare covers most types of hospice coverage when a patient has received a terminal illness diagnosis and is not projected to live more than six months. This will encompass the patient’s medication, support services, and services such as grief counseling. Medicare will also pay for short-term hospital stays and inpatient care for caregiver respite. In addition to Medicare, the federal government also provides some coverage through Veterans Affairs (VA). But unlike Medicare and the VA, Medicaid can assist those seniors who qualify with most types of long-term care.


Medicaid is administered by the states, so the benefits and eligibility will vary. However, most of these programs are given incentives for administering alternative programs that let seniors stay at home or with a family member. If the beneficiary qualifies, family members providing their care may be certified as providers and reimbursed for their efforts by Medicaid.


One option for the proactive is purchasing long-term care insurance to cover the costs. However, if that coverage is too expensive because you’re late in buying a policy or you have pre-existing health issues, you should look at other options like Medicaid. If you go that route, you may need to transfer assets and income to trusts or family members. Speak with a competent elder law attorney before you make any moves.


Without a doubt, long-term medical care costs may be an issue for many in retirement. Start to plan early so you’re prepared.


Today’s Answer was provided by Patrick C. Smith, Jr., Esq., CELA, Founding Partner of  The Smith Law Firm P.C. in Augusta, Georgia.  Attorney Smith is a Partner Member in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance.


21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories


If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this issue or with any Elder Care / Senior Care matter, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.



#eldercarematters, #eldercare, #eldercareanswers, #seniorcareanswers,  #eldercaredirectories, #seniorcaredirectories, #findseniorcareprofessionals, #findseniorcareexperts, #elderlawanswers, #seniorcare, #seniorcarematters, #findeldercareprofessionals, #findelderlawattorneys, #findmedicaidattorneys



“SNF” Doesn’t Stand for “Sunday Night Football” When Talking About Medicare and Medicaid

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Am I Eligible for Medicare?

Today’s Elder Care Matters Q&A provides information about Medicare Eligibility


Question: When will I be eligible for Medicare?


Answer: At age 65, most individuals are eligible for Medicare coverage. The Medicare program is funded by taxes withdrawn from workers’ paychecks so most individuals receive Part A coverage free of charge. As of 2015, 84% of Medicare beneficiaries were 65 and older, and the rest were covered as a result of a disability. If you have a disability, you may be eligible for Medicare benefits even if you are younger than 65. The following is a breakdown of eligibility guidelines as outlined by Investopedia:



Eligibility at Age 65


• You receive full benefits at retirement age if you (or your spouse) have earned at least 40 credits.

• Each $1,260 earned = one credit. You can only earn a maximum of 4 credits per year. To receive the 40 credits, you need at least 10 years of work in which you earned at least $5,040 each year.

• If you are considering working past 65, it is advised to speak with a Medicare expert about the different choices available to you.


Eligibility for Spouses


• If your spouse had the required 40 credits and you’ve been married at least one year, you qualify for benefits.

• Same-sex couples qualify for spousal benefits if they live in the state where they were married or in another state that recognizes same-sex marriages, or if they are a civilian or military employees of the federal government. Investopedia advises that all same-sex couples should apply regardless, as the exact guidelines are vague.

• If you are divorced you may be eligible for spousal benefits if you were married for at least 10 years and are currently single.


Eligibility for Disability Benefits


• There are no published list of qualified disabilities and caseworkers evaluate each case individually.

• There is no difference in coverage between disability benefits and retiree benefits.

• You must first receive Social Security Disability for at least 24 months in order to qualify for Medicare.

• End stage renal disease (ESRD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are exceptions to the 24 month wait period rule. For individuals with ESRD, they can usually begin receiving benefits three months after a course of regular dialysis or a kidney transplant. For individuals with ALS, they can enroll in Part A and Part B Medicare as soon as they begin collecting Social Security Disability benefits.

• For those receiving Medicare disability benefits and returning to work, there is a nine-month trial work period. Beneficiaries can work and still receive full benefits during this time. The nine months do not have to be consecutive, and the trial period continues until you have worked for nine months within a 60-month period.

• When the nine month trial period ends, there is an extended period of eligibility. You qualify for the extended period for the next 36 months if you are not earning “substantial” benefits (over $1,130 per month or $1,820 if you are blind).

• Expenses such as transportation to work, mental health counseling, prescription drugs, and other expenses may qualify to be deducted from your monthly income, which may allow you to continue to qualify for benefits while earning more money.

• If you still qualify as disabled after the nine month trial, you can still receive free Medicare Part A benefits and pay the premium for Part B for at least 93 months after the trial period ends.


Medicare.gov has a eligibility and premium calculator that can help you see if you qualify for benefits.


Today’s Answer was provided by Brian Andrew Tully, JD, CELA, CSA, CLTC, Founding Partner of Tully Law, PC in Melville, New York.  Attorney Tully is a Partner Member in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance.


21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories


If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this issue or with any Elder Care / Senior Care matter, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.



#eldercarematters, #eldercare, #eldercareanswers, #seniorcareanswers,  #eldercaredirectories, #seniorcaredirectories, #findseniorcareprofessionals, #findseniorcareexperts, #elderlawanswers, #seniorcare, #seniorcarematters, #findeldercareprofessionals, #findelderlawattorneys




Am I Eligible for Medicare?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Wandering For Seniors with Alzheimer"s, Dementia or Memory Loss

This week’s Elder Care article was written by Bruce Barnet, CEO of the Alzheimer’s Store in Palm Beach, Florida.  Mr. Barnet is a Partner member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance.


Wandering For Seniors with Alzheimer’s, Dementia or Memory Loss



Those suffering with Alzheimer’s or most forms of dementia or memory loss have a tendency to wander whether they are at home or in unfamiliar surroundings.They are trying to make sense of the world they find themselves in at that moment.Patients will sometimes leave clues that they are about to wander by announcing that it is time to go home,when they are home. They may get dressed to go to work when they stopped working long ago. Their past memories are now present.


Without warning they may start to wander into forbidden or dangerous areas within their own home.Locked doors can just make an ordinary situation more severe. There are variety of Alzheimer’s wandering products that discourage roaming or alert caregivers when it is occurring. For those suffering with dementia there is HELP.


Clear, easily recognizable stop signs are excellent deterrents. One of our earliest memories in childhood is a STOP sign.Even late stage patients recognize OFF-Limits areas when they see these red and white signs. There is a Fire Rated Door Murals that are approved for commercial facilities as well as home use. One is a picture of a bookshelf that is so real you have to touch it to know that it is a mural.The dementia oriented person no longer sees a door to go through. This is great for hiding utility closets or basement doors.


At night, mattress alarms and indoor motion sensors can alert caregivers of a wandering “loved one”. Patient monitoring pads can also be placed in a dementia person’s chair for daytime observation.


GPS devices are the newest technology.  A true GPS tracking/wandering  device must be secured on the wanderer’s wrist with a locking mechanism. Alzheimer’s patients have a tendency of removing their clothes. The Alzheimer’s Patient can be tracked from any computer,tablet or smart phone.


Regardless of your patients progression or need,whether at home or in a facility there are products that can be a solution to the symptom. We have what you need to keep the caregiver and the patient safe and comfortable.


21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories


If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this Elder Care Matter or with any Elder Care / Senior Care issue, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.


  1. ElderCareMatters.com

  2. ElderCareMattersBlog.com

  3. ElderCareWebsites.com

  4. ElderCareAnswers.us

  5. ElderCareArticles.us

  6. ElderCareProfessionals.us

  7. ElderLawAttorneys.us

  8. EstatePlanningAttorneys.us

  9. FindDailyMoneyManagers.net

  10. FindElderCareMediators.net

  11. FindElderLawAttorneys.net

  12. FindEstatePlanningAttorneys.net

  13. FindGeriatricCareManagers.net

  14. FindHomeCareProviders.net

  15. FindLongTermCareInsurance.net

  16. FindMedicaidAttorneys.net

  17. FindProbateAttorneys.net

  18. FindSeniorLivingCommunities.net

  19. FindSeniorMoveManagers.net

  20. FindSpecialNeedsAttorneys.net

  21. FindVAAccreditedAttorneys.net

#eldercare, #seniorcare, #eldercarematters, #seniorcarematters, #eldercarearticles, #seniorcarearticles, #alzheimersarticles




Wandering For Seniors with Alzheimer"s, Dementia or Memory Loss

What is the purpose of a Special Needs Trust and when should a Special Needs Trust be established?

Today’s Elder Care Matters Q&A provides information about Special Needs Planning


Question: What is the purpose of a Special Needs Trust and when should a Special Needs Trust be established?


Answer: While you can certainly bequest money and assets to those with special needs, such a bequest may prevent them from qualifying for essential benefits under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid programs.  However, public monetary benefits provide only for the bare necessities such as food, housing and clothing.  As you can imagine, these limited benefits will not provide those loved ones with the resources that would allow them to enjoy a richer quality of life.  But if parents leave any assets to their child who is receiving public benefits, they run the risk of disqualifying the child from receiving them. Fortunately, the government has established rules allowing assets to be held in trust, called a “Special Needs” or “Supplemental Needs”  Trust  for the benefit of a recipient of SSI and Medicaid, as long as certain requirements are met.


Generally, a Special Needs Trust should be established no later than the beneficiary’s 65th birthday. If you have a disabled or chronically ill beneficiary, you may want to consider establishing the Special Needs Trust at an early age.  One benefit of having the Trust in place is that if the disabled beneficiary become the recipient of funds such as gifts, bequests or a settlement from a lawsuit they can immediately be transferred to the Special Needs Trust without affecting that individual’s eligibility for government benefits.


Today’s Answer was provided by Jeffrey M. Janeiro, Attorney at Law, with The Law Office of Jeffrey M. Janeiro, P.L. in Naples, Florida.  Attorney Janeiro is a Partner Member in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance.


21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories


If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this issue or with any Elder Care / Senior Care matter, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.



#eldercarematters, #eldercare, #eldercareanswers, #seniorcareanswers,  #eldercaredirectories, #seniorcaredirectories, #findseniorcareprofessionals, #findseniorcareexperts, #elderlawanswers, #seniorcare, #seniorcarematters, #findeldercareprofessionals, #findelderlawattorneys, #findspecialneedsattorneys



What is the purpose of a Special Needs Trust and when should a Special Needs Trust be established?

Friday, September 2, 2016

How Often Should You Update Your Will or Estate Plan?

Today’s Elder Care Matters Q&A provides guidance regarding how often you should update your Will or Estate Plan


Question: How Often Should I Be Updating My Will or Estate Plan?


Answer: You should update your estate plan every 3-5 years on average. This should take place sooner if you experience significant life-changing events such as:


  • Marriage: If you marry someone, this is invariably going to affect your estate plan. A marriage is one of the most important life events, and you want to make sure your spouse is properly accounted for according to your wishes.

  • Divorce: Like marriage, this is one of the most significant life events, albeit a more unpleasant one. You want to make sure you adjust your plan so that your ex does not end up receiving more than you intended

  • Bearing children: If you have more children or even if you end up welcoming stepchildren into your life, you you may want to set up trusts or other arrangements to make sure they are provided for.

  • Dealing with family deaths: If a family member dies before your estate plan would kick in, then you should revisit your plan and remove the deceased person.

  • Acquiring significant property: If you buy a house, inherit property, or encounter some kind of windfall, then you would want to add this to your plan, deciding who it would go to.

  • Starting or dissolving a business: Your estate plan should specify what happens to the business if you are unable to make business decisions, are incapacitated, or die. This can avoid a lot of chaos down the line.

  • Moving between states: Anytime you move, chances are high that your assets and financial arrangements may change or shift. In addition different treatment of assets in different states can complicate matters. It is best to speak with an attorney if you move to a different state or acquire property in other states.

These are just some of the most common reasons to more frequently revisit your estate plan. If you maintain regular communication with your estate planning attorney, he will alert you when you should sit down and look at it again.


Today’s Answer was provided by Don L. Rosenberg, Attorney and Counselor, with Barron, Rosenberg, Mayoras & Mayoras, P.C. in Troy, Michigan.  Attorney Rosenberg is a Partner Member in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance.


21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories


If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this issue or with any Elder Care / Senior Care matter, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.



#eldercarematters, #eldercare, #eldercareanswers, #seniorcareanswers,  #eldercaredirectories, #seniorcaredirectories, #findseniorcareprofessionals, #findseniorcareexperts, #elderlawanswers, #seniorcare, #seniorcarematters, #findeldercareprofessionals, #findelderlawattorneys, #findestateplanningattorneys



How Often Should You Update Your Will or Estate Plan?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

IRS Now Allows IRA Distribution Deferrals

Today’s Elder Care Matters Q&A is about the IRS’s recent decision to permit Seniors to defer taking Minimum Required Distributions


Question: Has the Internal Revenue Service changed its policy about annual minimum required distributions from retirement accounts such as IRAs and 401Ks?


Answer: Required minimum distributions from retirement accounts such as IRAs and 401Ks have been problematic for many seniors who do not necessarily need to take money out of their accounts to meet their expenses. The rules have required seniors to withdraw minimum amounts from their retirement accounts beginning at age 70½ based on their life expectancies as determined each year by complicated IRS charts.


However, as Smoke Signals reports in “A new, liberating IRA option is available,” seniors now have the choice to take lower amounts out of their retirement accounts.


The new policy allows account holders to defer up to $125,000 or 25% of the total amount in their accounts, whichever is lower. The amount deferred does not factor into the required minimum distribution calculation.


The deferment can be taken until age 85, but the money must be placed in a qualified longevity annuity contract as the only premium payment of that annuity. The money placed into the annuity will continue to grow and payments will be made on the annuity when the deferment age is reached.


For seniors who do not need to take money out of their retirement accounts, this new option allows them to continue to increase their income if they wish to preserve those accounts as part of their estates or if they anticipate living longer and might need the money later.


Today’s Answer was provided by Scott A. Makuakane, Esq., CFP, Founder of  Est8Planning Counsel LLLC in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Attorney Makuakane is a Partner Member in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance.


21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories


If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this issue or with any Elder Care / Senior Care matter, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.



#eldercarematters, #eldercare, #eldercareanswers, #seniorcareanswers,  #eldercaredirectories, #seniorcaredirectories, #findseniorcareprofessionals, #findseniorcareexperts, #elderlawanswers, #seniorcare, #seniorcarematters, #findeldercareprofessionals, #findelderlawattorneys, #findestateplanningattorneys



IRS Now Allows IRA Distribution Deferrals

Elder Care / Senior Care Article

This week’s Elder Care article was written by Brian Andrew Tully, JD, CELA, CSA, CLTC, Founding Partner of Tully Law, PC in Melville, New York.  Attorney Tully is a Partner member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance.


Medicaid: Spousal Refusal Risks



In the current environment of budget deficits, and the mandate handed down by the State to the Counties to pursue recoveries from community spouses, and the estates of Medicaid recipients and their spouses, litigation by the Department of Social Services over the payment of Medicaid benefits is on the upswing. Once a spousal refusal has been submitted, there are issues which a community spouse should be aware of. The most significant risks to the effectiveness of your long term care planning include the following:


1) The execution of a spousal refusal by an excess-resourced community spouse.


A spouse who is deemed to have excess resources may be sued by the Department of Social Services for support on behalf of the institutionalized spouse. Even when this does occur, however, the community spouse almost always still comes out ahead because of the difference between the private pay rate and the Medicaid pay rate, which translates into a significant savings to the community spouse even if full support is required.


2) Claims against the estate of the community spouse.


A community spouse who is found to have had excess resources at the time benefits were paid may be found to have an “implied contract ” with the State to pay back the benefits paid out on behalf of the institutionalized spouse. This implied contract may ultimately be enforced as a claim against the estate of the community spouse.


3) The spousal elective share right.


If the community spouse dies before the Medicaid spouse, the Medicaid spouse will have a statutory right of election against the estate of the community spouse. A Medicaid Trust of the community spouse will be considered to be a testamentary substitute, and therefore included in calculating the net elective estate for elective share purposes. However, even if the Department of Social Services does move to enforce this right, only one-third (1/3) of the net elective estate is required to be paid out to the institutionalized spouse, and given proper planning it may be possible to preserve up to fifty percent (50%) of the elective share amount for family members. If possible, Waivers of the right of election should be signed by both spouses in advance of the Medicaid application.


4) Transfers After Medicaid Eligibility is Determined.


Once a spousal refusal Medicaid Application is accepted, under current New York law the community spouse may transfer assets without penalty. The federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), however, has indicated that a state may treat any transfers or gifts made by the community spouse as a disqualifying transfer for the Medicaid recipient. At this time New York State’s regulations do not adopt this policy, but there is a risk that the Department of Social Services may attempt to recover resources that have been gifted by a community spouse based upon New York’s Debtor and Creditor Law, by alleging that the transfers are fraudulent. Therefore, any asset transfers done “post-eligibility” must be carefully planned and executed.


21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories


If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this Elder Care Matter or with any Elder Care / Senior Care issue, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.


  1. ElderCareMatters.com

  2. ElderCareMattersBlog.com

  3. ElderCareWebsites.com

  4. ElderCareAnswers.us

  5. ElderCareArticles.us

  6. ElderCareProfessionals.us

  7. ElderLawAttorneys.us

  8. EstatePlanningAttorneys.us

  9. FindDailyMoneyManagers.net

  10. FindElderCareMediators.net

  11. FindElderLawAttorneys.net

  12. FindEstatePlanningAttorneys.net

  13. FindGeriatricCareManagers.net

  14. FindHomeCareProviders.net

  15. FindLongTermCareInsurance.net

  16. FindMedicaidAttorneys.net

  17. FindProbateAttorneys.net

  18. FindSeniorLivingCommunities.net

  19. FindSeniorMoveManagers.net

  20. FindSpecialNeedsAttorneys.net

  21. FindVAAccreditedAttorneys.net

#eldercare, #seniorcare, #eldercarematters, #seniorcarematters, #eldercarearticles, #seniorcarearticles, #medicaidarticles




Elder Care / Senior Care Article

Friday, July 29, 2016

What does the legal term "Intestacy" mean?

Today’s Elder Care Matters Q&A is about the meaning and consequences of the legal term “Intestacy”


Question:  I’ve read a lot recently about the legal term “Intestacy”.  What exactly does this mean and what are the consequences of this to the elderly and to their families?


Answer:  If a person dies without making a Will he/she dies intestate. Without a Will, a decedent’s property will pass according to the State of Connecticut Intestate Succession Laws. If you are thinking that “intestacy” sounds like some sort of sickness, you may not be too far off the mark. When you see how the state distributes the funds of those who die intestate… you may feel a little sick.


In Connecticut, State statutes provide that if a person dies intestate, and there are children that are the children of the decedent and the spouse, the surviving spouse will receive the first $100,000 plus one half of the balance of the intestate estate. The children will receive the remainder. For example, assume a $500,000 estate: The spouse will receive $300,000 ($100,000 plus half of the remaining $400,000) and the children will receive the remaining $200,000 in equal proportions ($100,000 each). Now let us suppose that there is only one child who is 18 years-old. Even a very mature 18 year-old may have difficulty handling a check for $200,000.


Typically, when most people plan out their estate, they want all of their assets to go to the surviving spouse and not to their children. The thought is that the surviving spouse is in the best position to use the assets wisely for the benefit of the children. In many scenarios it does not make sense to hand a large sum of cash over to a child or young adult. Imagine trying to convince an 18 year-old into investing his/her money in a college education — good luck.


The rules are different if the decedent had children that were not children of the surviving spouse. In this case, the surviving spouse would receive one-half of the intestate estate, and the children would receive the balance. This solution seems to be based in logic. The state wants to make sure that the step-children of the surviving spouse are not taken advantage of by a person who is not related to them by blood. While this plan works in preventing the aforementioned problem, it still puts money into the hands of people who may not be ready to handle it. With a Will based plan you can direct where your assets go, as well as direct appropriate measures to protect your children from the problems that come with receiving a large sum of money outright.


If there are no children of the decedent, but the decedent is survived by a parent or parents, the spouse does not receive the entire intestate estate. In this scenario the surviving spouse will receive the first $100,000 plus three-quarters of the balance, and the parents would receive the balance of the estate. Furthermore, if there are no heirs to the estate, the decedent’s money, property, etc., will escheat to the state and the state will become the owner. It’s probably not a coincidence that you cannot spell escheat without “c-h-e-a-t.”


As you can see from the above sampling from the Connecticut Intestate Succession Statutes, by not planning for the disposition of your property the state has a plan for you. It should be no surprise that control freaks hate the laws of intestacy. It takes control (albeit control that was never exercised) of a person’s hand and vests that control with the State, who then applies cookie cutter solutions for unique situations. The only way to avoid intestacy is to make sure that you have a validly executed Will. Any other plan will fall short.


Today’s Answer was provided by George P. Guertin, Esq. of the law firm of Guertin and Guertin, LLC in North Haven, Connecticut.  Attorney Guertin is a Partner Member in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance.


21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories


If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with this issue or with any Elder Care / Senior Care matter, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.



#eldercarematters, #eldercare, #eldercareanswers, #seniorcareanswers,  #eldercaredirectories, #seniorcaredirectories, #findseniorcareprofessionals, #findseniorcareexperts, #elderlawanswers, #seniorcare, #seniorcarematters, #findeldercareprofessionals, #findelderlawattorneys, #findestateplanningattorneys



What does the legal term "Intestacy" mean?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

How to Find an Elder Law Attorney

Today’s Elder Care Matters Q&A is about How to Find an Elder Law Attorney


Question:  I’m trying to find an Elder Law Attorney.  What steps should I take to locate a competent, caring attorney who can help me with our family’s Elder Care Matters?


Answer:  Legal problems that affect the elderly are growing in number. Our laws and regulations are becoming more complex. Actions taken by older people with regard to a single matter may have unintended legal effects. It is important for attorneys dealing with the elderly to have a broad understanding of the laws that may have an impact on a given situation, to avoid future problems.


Unfortunately, this job is not made easy by the fact that Elder Law encompasses many different fields of law.


Some of these include:


  • Preservation/transfer of assets seeking to avoid spousal impoverishment when a spouse enters a nursing home

  • Medicaid

  • Medicare claims and appeals

  • Social security and disability claims and appeals

  • Supplemental and long term health insurance issues.

  • Disability planning, including use of durable powers of attorney, living trusts, “living wills,” for financial management and health care decisions, and other means of delegating management and decision-making to another in case of incompetency or incapacity.

  • Conservatorships and guardianships

  • Estate planning, including planning for the management of one’s estate during life and its disposition on death through the use of trusts, wills and other planning documents

  • Probate

  • Administration and management of trusts and estates

  • Long-term care placements in nursing home and life care communities

  • Nursing home issues including questions of patients’ rights and nursing home quality

  • Elder abuse and fraud recovery cases

  • Housing issues, including discrimination and home equity conversions

  • Age discrimination in employment

  • Retirement, including public and private retirement benefits, survivor benefits and pension benefits

  • Health law

  • Mental health law

Most Elder Law attorneys do not specialize in every one of these areas.


So when an attorney says he/she practices Elder Law, find out which of these matters he/she handles. You will want to hire the attorney who regularly handles matters in the area of concern in your particular case and who will know enough about the other fields to question whether the action being taken might be affected by laws in any of the other areas of law on the list.


For example, if you are going to rewrite your will and your spouse is ill, the estate planner needs to know enough about Medicaid to know whether it is an issue with regard to your spouse’s inheritance.


Attorneys who primarily work with the elderly bring more to their practice than an expertise in the appropriate area of law. They bring to their practice knowledge of the elderly that allows them and their staff to ignore the myths relating to aging and the competence of the elderly. At the same time, they will take into account and empathize with some of the true physical and mental difficulties that often accompany the aging process. Their understanding of the afflictions of the aged allows them to determine more easily the difference between the physical versus the mental disability of a client. They are more aware of real life problems, health and otherwise, that tend to crop up as persons age. They are tied into a formal or informal system of social workers, psychologists and other elder care professionals who may be of assistance to you. All of these things will hopefully make you more comfortable when dealing with them and ease your way as you try to resolve your legal problem.


Finding an Elder Law attorney


Your first question may be: How do I find an Elder Law attorney? Before making the effort, step back a moment and try to determine whether you actually have a legal problem in which an attorney needs to be involved. If you’re not sure, ask your clergy, your social worker, your financial advisor, or a trusted friend to help you decide whether this is a legal issue rather than a medical or a social services issue. Legal expertise is expensive and it serves you well to know that you actually need legal assistance before seeking an attorney.


There are many places to find an attorney in your city or state who specializes in problems of the elderly. This Web site, ElderCareMatters.com, includes a searchable directory of attorneys with expertise in a wide range of Elder Care Matters.  In addition to finding Elder Law attorneys near you, this site provides you with substantive, up-to-date information to help you plan for and deal with your family’s elder care matters.


If you know any attorneys ask them for a referral to an elder law attorney. An attorney is in a good position to know who handles such issues and whether that person is a good attorney. Such persons are often the best and safest sources of referrals.


Ask Questions First


Ask lots of questions before selecting an Elder Law attorney. You don’t want to end up in the office of an attorney who can’t help you. Start with the initial phone call. It is not unusual to speak only to a secretary, receptionist or office manager during an initial call or before actually meeting with the attorney. If so, ask this person your questions.


  • How long has the attorney been in practice?

  • Does his/her practice emphasize a particular area of law?

  • How long has he/she been in this field?

  • What percentage of his/her practice is devoted to elder law?

  • Does he/she have any advanced designations – CELA, Fellow or CAP

  • Is there a fee for the first consultation and if so, how much is it?

  • Given the nature of your problem, what information should you bring with you to the initial consultation?

The answers to your questions will assist you in determining whether that particular attorney has those qualifications important to you for a successful attorney/client relationship. If you have a specific legal issue that requires immediate attention, be sure to inform the office of this during the initial telephone conversation.


Once You Have Found an Attorney


When you have found an appropriate attorney, make an appointment to see him/her. During the initial consultation, you will be asked to give the attorney an overview of the reason you are seeking assistance, so be sure to organize and bring all the information pertinent to your situation.  After you have explained your situation, ask:


  • What will it take to resolve it?

  • Are there any alternative courses of action?

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each possibility?

  • Who will handle your case?

  • Has that attorney handled matters of this kind in the past?

  • If a trial may be involved, does he/she do trial work? If not, who does the trial work? If so, how many trials has he/she handled?

  • Is that attorney a member of the local bar association, its health advocacy committee, or trust and estates committee?

  • Is that attorney a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys?

  • How are fees computed?

  • What is his/her estimate of the cost to resolve your problem and how long will it take?

Discussing Fees


There are many different ways of charging fees and each attorney will choose to work differently. Be aware of how your attorney charges. You will also want to know how often he/she bills. Some attorneys bill weekly, some bill monthly, some bill upon completion of work. Ask about these matters at the initial conference, so there will be no surprises! If you don’t understand, ask again. If you need clarification, say so. It is very important that you feel comfortable in this area.


Some attorneys charge by the hour with different hourly rates for work performed by attorneys, paralegals and secretaries. If this is the case, find out what the rates are. Other attorneys charge a flat fee for all or part of the services. This is not unusual, for example, if you are having documents prepared. Your attorney might use a combination of these billing methods.


In addition to fees, most attorneys will charge you out-of-pocket expenses. Out-of-pocket expenses typically include charges for copies, postage, messenger fees, court fees, disposition fees, long distance telephone calls and other such costs. Find out if there will be any other incidental costs.


The attorney may ask for a retainer. This is money paid before the attorney starts working on your case. It is usually placed in a trust account and each time the attorney bills you, he/she pays himself or herself out of that account. Expenses may be paid directly from the trust account. The size of the retainer may range from a small percentage of the estimated cost to the full amount.


Get It in Writing


Once you decide to hire the attorney, ask that your arrangement be put in writing. The writing can be a letter or a formal contract. It should spell out what services the attorney will perform for you and what the fee and expense arrangement will be. REMEMBER– even if your agreement remains oral and is not put into writing, you have made a contract and are responsible for all charges for work done by the attorney and his/her staff.


A positive and open relationship between attorney and client benefits everyone. The key to getting it is communication. The communication starts with asking the kinds of questions contained in this document. Use the answers to the questions as a guide not only to the attorney’s qualification, but also as a way of determining whether you can comfortably work with this person.


  • If your concerns are given short shrift;

  • if you don’t like the answers to these questions;

  • if you don’t like the attorney’s reaction to being asked all those questions or if you simply do not feel relaxed with this particular person

DO NOT HIRE THAT PERSON. Only if you are satisfied with the attorney you have hired from the very start will you trust him or her to do the best job for you. Only if you have established a relationship of open communication will you be able to resolve any difficulties which may arise between the two of you. If you take the time to make sure that you are happy right at the beginning you can make this a productive experience for both you and the attorney.


You will thank yourself, and your attorney will thank you.


Today’s Answer was provided by Stephen J. Silverberg, Esq., of  the Law Office of Stephen J. Silverberg in Roslyn Heights, New York.  Attorney Silverberg is a Partner Member in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance.


21 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories


If you need help in planning for and/or dealing with Medicaid Issues or with any Elder Care / Senior Care matter, you can find the professional help you need in one of the following 21Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories. These Elder Care / Senior Care – specific Directories are sponsored by the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of thousands of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.



#eldercarematters, #eldercare, #eldercareanswers, #seniorcareanswers,  #eldercaredirectories, #seniorcaredirectories, #findseniorcareprofessionals, #findseniorcareexperts, #elderlawanswers, #seniorcare, #seniorcarematters, #findeldercareprofessionals, #findelderlawattorneys, #findestateplanningattorneys, #findmedicaidattorneys



How to Find an Elder Law Attorney