We receive this response too often from clients who, after working with another attorney on their elder law and estate planning matters, learn that their planning is incorrect, unnecessary or deficient.  This is becoming increasingly problematic for the consumer in all areas of law, but arguably more impactful in this area because of both the…

Is there a limit on how much I can gift for Medicaid Purposes?

Generally, in determining the Medicaid eligibility of a person receiving nursing facility services, any gifting of assets made by the applicant within the “look back period” will render the person ineligible for Medicaid for a period of time equal to the value of the gift divided by the regional rate.  Under current law, the look…

Reports of elder financial abuse continue to increase, and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to scams or to financial abuse by family members in need of money.

living will vs. healthcare proxy

This question often arises where an individual requires some assistance with her activities of daily living but can largely function on her own. These are almost always homecare cases and can be tricky from a planning perspective. We utilize the professional knowledge of geriatric care managers, nurses or social workers to assess the functional limitations…

A 529 plan is a very common planning technique used by grandparents to fund a grandchild’s college education. Simply stated, contributions to a 529 plan grow tax-free over the life of the plan and if used for qualified tuition costs, the distributions from the plan are also tax-free.

Co-authored by Joanna C. Feldman Under the usual fact pattern, a retirement account will not render someone ineligible for Medicaid.  There are initially two major issues when considering whether someone is eligible for Medicaid: resources and income.  Retirement accounts can fall in both categories. For resources purposes, in New York, retirement accounts, such as IRAs, 401(k)s,…

While I cannot say whether there are mistakes in your estate planning documents, the wording of your document may be confusing to you as a non-attorney. Legal documents contain a great deal of legalese.  For purposes of this response, I am assuming that you are leaving all of your assets to your children.  First, it…

The elderly are vulnerable, and as a result, are often soft targets for non-physical abuse. I refer to them as “silent abuses” because they are often difficult to identify, or worse, prove. Examples include undue influence, duress, coercion, mental abuse, and financial exploitation. Generally, a common predicate for most cases begins with a close, confidential…

When I meet with people for the first time who are interested in estate planning, their focus is usually on after-death planning.  Whether their concern is minimizing estate taxes, planning for minor or spendthrift children, or simply passing assets to the next generation as quickly and efficiently as possible, nearly every meeting begins with a…

Co-authored by Joanna C. Feldman The truth is that very often, “elder law” attorney is a misnomer as it pertains to many of our clients.  For example, nearly everyone should have a comprehensive Power of Attorney. Some of our youngest clients have just become adults who come to us for a Power of Attorney before…

According to a recent report published by the Alzheimer’s Association, in 2017, approximately 5.5 million individuals have “Alzheimer’s dementia”. If you consider those figures, together with the many other neurological diseases (ALS) and physical ailments (strokes) that impact our physical and cognitive abilities, you can understand why planning should be done to contemplate these matters….

  For 2017, the federal lifetime estate and gift tax exemption have increased to $5,490,000.  This means that you can gift this amount over your lifetime without incurring a federal gift tax and to the extent you haven’t done so, any exemption remaining at death can be applied against the value of your estate for…

At some point, most people experience that enlightening moment when they realize there is a risk of losing their assets if they fall ill and require long-term care. Some will contact an elder law attorney and receive sound advice; others will contact their friends and relatives, who after all, usually know more than most attorneys…

The look-back period is very different from the penalty period and as always the rules are different depending on whether you are seeking Medicaid to cover the cost of homecare or nursing home care. Conceptually, the look-back period is the period where asset transfers may impact your eligibility for Medicaid. The penalty period is the…

If you are reading this article, it is likely that at some point in your lifetime you may have worked through the placement of a loved one in a nursing home. If not, there is a high probability you know of someone who has. With the cost of nursing home care exceeding $150,000.00 per year…

Estate planning documents need to be regularly reviewed. I often tell clients to review their estate plan every three to five years or upon the occurrence of a significant life event such as a birth, marriage, divorce or death. Documents should also be reviewed for changes in the law. One of the benefits to connecting…

If there is one unavoidable consequence of life and relationships, it is that our loved ones may fall ill at some point, whether it be a parent, grandparent, child, aunt or uncle. Sometimes it could be a tragic accident or disease that affects them, and other times it is simply part of the aging process….

Nearly every aspect of estate planning and elder law requires an attorney to assess a client’s legal capacity. As elder law attorneys, we are regularly working with individuals who have some form of cognitive impairment such as dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. A common assumption is that someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s cannot sign a Last…

As the parade route approached, I captured my first glimpse of the Grand Marshal. He was a 93 year-old seasoned World War II veteran who exuded confidence, honor and pride. Accomplished in ways that many of us will never experience; a true hero. It was Memorial Day 2016, and the Grand Marshal was my Uncle….

I recently entered the world of beekeeping. When contemplating this new hobby, I obviously vetted my ideas with friends and family (not the neighbors). Their responses were comical and in all cases, far from the truth. Sitting down to write this piece I thought, this is no different than the practice of elder law. So…

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