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.



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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.



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“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.



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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

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  18. FindSeniorLivingCommunities.net

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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.



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