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Articles Posted in New York Elder Law

by A.K. Lehmann, Paralegal.

A health care proxy and living will are a part of a comprehensive elder law estate plan.

A living will describes certain life prolonging treatments which indicate preferred medical care in the event you either suffer from a terminal illness or you will become in a permanent vegetative state. It usually requires certification by a doctor. The health care proxy gives someone else the authority to make health care decisions for you in the event you are incapacitated. Neither of these documents, however, addresses personal and emotional desires or spiritual beliefs around the end of life process.

Part I of a Two Part Series

By A.K. Lehmann, Paralegal

The End of Life Counsel Bill (A 7617/S 4498), recently passed in the New York State Legislature, requires doctors caring for a terminally ill patient to offer information and counseling on available options for palliative and end-of-life care. This new obligation to inform patients of their medical care options is based on the fundamental right of “informed consent.”

Handling day-to-day money matters isn’t always the simplest of tasks – even for those with strong financial acumens. Managing the business of a household can also quickly grow into a formidable task. Paying bills twice; overdrawing on checking accounts and succumbing to questionable investments are perils faced by all, but perhaps even more so as one gets older. This is where family becomes important.

Oftentimes adult children assume that their parents have everything “taken care of” and parents think their financial affairs are none of their children’s business. New research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) reveals that 51% of adult children have never had detailed discussions with their parents about their income and expenses.

As everyone knows, talking about money is perhaps one of the most unapproachable, emotionally difficult and uncomfortable subjects. Yet avoiding discussing them with aging parents could possibly be disastrous, especially when it comes to making sure that their long term health care needs are planned. Sometimes it helps to seek out a New York elder law attorney after the initial conversation.

The New York Times published “The Secrets of the Centenarians” in last week’s Science Times. The numbers of Americans aged 100 have risen from 38,300 in 1990 to 104,099 in 2009. “Extreme longevity” according to Jane Brody requires some certain skill sets. As part of the two part series appearing in The Times, Brody’s colleague interviewed members of the century club. One of them summed up three critical attributes for longevity: resolution, resourcefulness and resilience.

Here in brief, are some answers to the question that centenarians are often asked.

What is the secret to long life?

Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), a federation of 73 national Alzheimer’s organizations, recently released a report on the economic impact of the disease. In the U.S., there are as many as 5.3 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s and every 70 seconds someone in America develops the incurable illness. In 2010, there will be a half million new cases of Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, it looks like the disease is growing exponentially. In 2050, ADI predicts nearly a million new cases every year.

In 2006, Alzheimer’s was the seventh leading cause of death in the country. While death rates are thankfully decreasing for heart disease, prostate and breast cancer, Alzheimer’s deaths rose 46.1 percent from 2000-2006.

This disease is reaching epidemic proportions and has become a national crisis. Like all terrible illnesses, it discriminates against no one. Long term health costs continue to escalate. Caring for those affected with Alzheimer’s and other dementias cost U.S. society a total of $172 billion, including $122 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid.

by Bonnie Kraham, Esq.home-health-care.gif

Most of us don’t want to end our days in a nursing home, and would rather “age in place,” so it’s important to become familiar with available home health care services.

There are three major ways to pay for home health care: self-pay, long-term care insurance, or Medicaid, which is government provided health insurance for those whose assets have been depleted. Medicare, which is government provided health insurance for the elderly, only has limited community home health care. A New York elder law attorney can help to decide which one is the best option.

by Bonnie Kraham, Esq. caregiver agreement.JPG

Family members overwhelmingly provide the care for elderly and disabled loved ones at home. Although a labor of love, taking care of ailing loved ones also has a market value, meaning that caretakers can be paid as a way to protect assets.

Through the use of a Caregivers Agreement, also known as a Personal Services Contract, the disabled or elderly person can transfer money to family members as compensation rather than as a gift. Gifts to family members made in the last five years before applying for Medicaid to pay for nursing home costs disqualify the applicant from receiving Medicaid for a certain period of time, known as a “penalty period.”

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