Articles Posted in Elder Law

Placing a loved one in a nursing home is one of the most difficult decisions that many people make. It isn’t easy for a person to make the transition from living at home to living in a nursing home. To make the place feel more in common, it’s common to bring personal belongings to the nursing home to make your loved one feel more at ease. Unfortunately, however, items can sometimes go missing. As a result, this article reviews some critical things about nursing home theft as well as how to deal with it.

# 1 – What Type of Property Goes Missing Most Often

Any item can be stolen from a nursing home. Some objects, however, tend to go missing more often than others. Some of the most frequently stolen items include:

An elderly individual or person who is receiving care at a nursing home should not be required to live with bed sores. In many situations, bed sores are a good indicator that a person is being neglected. These sores can lead to infections that can jeopardize a person’s health and even lead to death. Sometimes also referred to as “pressure sores”, if you see these on your loved one you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced elder abuse lawyer. It also helps to understand some important details about the nature of bed sores.

# 1 – The Names for Bed Sores

Bed sores are injuries that occur when the pressure of a person’s weight reduces the blood supply to certain points on both the skin and underlying tissue. If not adequately treated, skin and other issues eventually die and leave an open wound. Bed sores occur among individuals who are unable to move to relieve that pressure, which is most common among the bedridden. While they’re frequently referred to as bed sores, these injuries are also sometimes referred to as pressure sores, pressure ulcers, or decubitus ulcers.

Medicaid is a joint federal and state program available to people who meet certain asset requirements that help pay for long-term care costs. Long-term care unfortunately often presents financial challenges for individuals in the United States including both the elderly as well as others who provide care for family members and lose income as a result. Despite these potential challenges, Medicaid is still one of the best methods in countless situations to pay for long-term care. Adequate planning for Medicaid can let you qualify for the program without experiencing financial hardships. To better help you navigate Medicaid, this article reviews some important tips to understand about the Medicaid planning process.

# 1 – Inform Yourself in Advance

Given that it is both a federal and state program, Medicaid standards differ based on the state in which a person lives. While other states have different names for the system, New York state calls the program Medicaid. A person in New York qualifies for Medicaid if that individual has high medical bills, receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or meets certain financial requirements. Unfortunately, however, many people wait to learn about Medicaid until catastrophic events occur that necessitate immediate planning. An increased risk exists during crisis that a person will listen to misinformed individuals. If you have any questions or concerns about Medicaid or the role it can play for your loved one, it is a much better idea to speak with a knowledgeable attorney.

If you decide to establish a trust, you will likely need to select someone to make sure that the trust is administered in accordance with your wishes. A trustee is a person who assumes the position of managing a trust’s assets. The regulations to which the trustee must comply are contained in the terms of the trust. While trustees are often the trust’s creator when the trust is formed, trustees can also be the beneficiary of a trust. Following the death or incapacity of the trust’s creator, a person or institution is named as the successor trustee to manage the trust’s assets. The person or entity named in a trust as a successor trustee should also be carefully appointed because an unreliable trustee can both mismanage and waste assets. Also, because trustees have substantial powers, a risk exists that an incorrect trustee might end up harming a beneficiary. While selecting a trustee is a critical aspect of estate planning, too many people appoint a trustee without sufficient planning or thought. As a result, this article reviews some important qualities to look for when selecting a trustee. 

# 1 – The Ability to Perform the Job

To successfully administer and manage a trust, trustees must be capable of performing various tasks. These individuals must have an understanding of both trust terms as well as the applicable law. Trustees should also know how to successfully manage assets as well as be able to diplomatically deal with beneficiaries. While a trustee does not need experience with areas like finance or trust management, whoever is appointed as trustee should be able to show financial responsibility as well as successfully resolve matters with others. The person appointed as trustee should also be able to make ethical decisions and act in the best interest of the trust creator and beneficiaries. 

Estate planning disputes can arise in countless ways. One of the most common types of disputes involves individuals who cannot successfully represent themselves or argue for what is in their best interest like mentally incapacitated adults or unborn beneficiaries. In these situations, a New York judge will often appoint a guardian ad litem to act in the position as a surrogate decision-maker. If you find yourself in such a situation, it helps to consider some important things about guardian ad litem, which are reviewed in this article.

# 1 – Reasons to Consider a Guardian Ad Litem

Guardian ad litem can be utilized whenever disputes have arisen involving custody, visitation, or any other issues addressing the subject. In the case of an older individual, a guardian ad litem is often utilized to make sure that the subject is receiving the best care possible. In accordance with New York’s Appointment of Guardian ad Litem statute, the topic comes before a court as the result of a motion by a party to a divorce action, a conservator, a guardian, or the court itself.

In September 2020, the nursing home staff at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke Massachusetts were indicted on criminal charges in what the Attorney General described as the first criminal case against nursing home operators in connection to the COVID-19 pandemic. Seventy-six veterans at the hospital died as a result of the outbreak. The nursing home operators were indicted on charges of being the caretakers who wantonly or recklessly commit or permit bodily injury to an elder or disabled individual. The nursing home is a state-run, fully accredited center that offers 247 long-term nursing beds and a 24-hour care center. Due to staffing shortages, the facility consolidated two dementia units into one, which led to confirmed COVID-19 patients being placed on the same unit as asymptomatic residents. The facility also placed residents who were thought to be asymptomatic on nine beds in the dining room, even though some of the residents were displaying COVID-19 symptoms. These beds were allegedly not sufficiently distanced and allowed residents to socialize despite their COVID-19 status.

These charges suggest the focus on accountability for COVID-19 exposure by both the federal and state government. The Attorney General has also begun to scrutinize other long-term facility cases. The Attorney General has also stated that it is a good idea for long term care facilities to review their policies and procedures in regards to the pandemic. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, it’s understandable to be concerned about COVID-19. As a result, this article reviews some critical steps that you should follow in such a situation.

# 1 – What To Do If A Loved One Is In A Facility With No COVID-19 Cases

It’s a common predicament. After the holidays have concluded, adult children are frequently left concerned about whether their parents can live safe independent lives. These adults often are left feeling uncertain about what the best decision is to make so that their parents remain safe but also do not have freedoms needlessly stripped. This year has made adult children more concerned than usual because with many people deciding to celebrate the holidays virtually, it’s becoming more difficult to recognize when someone can no longer live independently. Despite COVID-19, there are still several helpful strategies you can follow to have a conversation about long-term care with your parents now instead of later.

# 1 – Discuss Your Parent’s Daily Routine

Whether it’s in person, over the phone, or through video should, you should begin by chatting with your parents and discussing their lives as well as their routines. Some of the critical questions that you should ask include what are your parents’ daily habits and whether they find anything that limits their ability to live life as they once did. You should also inquire as to what modifications your parents have made to their daily lives as a result of the pandemic. Any clues that a parent’s basic daily living activities have ceased or are substantially limited should give rise to concern about the parent’s safety. 

It’s a common occurrence for family and friends to be the caregiver for disabled and elderly loved ones. In these situations, it is critical to understand that caregiver assignments are legal documents that both define as well as describe how a loved one should be cared for by another individual, which often will include a family member or friend. These agreements play the critical role of making sure that family members and loved ones both agree and understand the labor and cost associated with caring for a loved one. To better help you understand the role that a caregiver agreement can play in your estate plan, this article reviews some critical issues that you should consider about such agreements.

Why Caregiver Assignments Are Important

Caregiver assignments are an invaluable tool for making sure that a loved one receives the best care possible from both family members as well as medical providers. These documents can also perform the invaluable role of protecting caregivers by performing the necessary task of describing how much a caregiver should receive as well as the plan of action for such care. Caregiver assignments also often perform a valuable role in avoiding family conflicts.

The transition between US presidents is often a trade-off. While some advantages come from the change in leaders, there are also setbacks. While president-elect Joe Biden has announced a more-extensive plan for containing the COVID-19 pandemic as well as plans for minorities in the country, Biden also has expressed the intent to raise capital gains and estate taxes as well as change how capital assets are taxed at the time of death. 

As a result of this change in US politics, some individuals have begun to reconsider their estate planning strategy. In much the same way that no two estate plans are the same, the course of action you decide to utilize in response will also be unique and depends on various factors including your income, what you need to live on, and your gifting objectives. This article briefly discusses the potential impact that Biden’s presidency will have on your estate plan.

# 1 – Estate and Gift Taxes

It’s an unfortunate reality that many people who apply for Medicaid end up discovering that they have too many assets to qualify for the program. Instead of being available to everyone, Medicaid is classified as a “needs-based” program and a successful applicant must be determined to have insufficient assets before the program will “kick in” and provide assistance. 

The process of reducing a person’s assets to qualify for Medicaid is also known as “spend-down”. Like many estate planning processes, many misconceptions exist about the “spend-down” process. For example, rather than only medical care, there are various things that a person can spend on without disrupting qualification for Medicaid. 

Allowable Spend-Down Categories

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