Articles Tagged with new york elder law

Daily, thousands of baby boomers are forced to make the decision as to whether they need care and assistance as they continue to age. Currently, there are 1.4 million adults residing in nursing homes and that number will only continue to grow over the next few decades. Plans for how to cover the millions of adults who thought they would rely on Medicare and Medicaid in their old age as well as where they will live and who will assist in taking care of them if needed, are questions that must be addressed soon.

Thus, it is not surprising that it took four years and thousands of comments in the rulemaking process in order to revise the broad nursing home regulations that were put in place in the 1990s under the Nursing Home Reform Act. Nursing homes must comply with federal nursing home regulations, but some state laws have adopted more strict laws.

What New Regulations?

Many of our elderly adults end up in nursing homes or assisted living, whether as a result of an accident or due to a declining ability to care for themselves. While many have family members or friends who are able to ensure their loved one is being taken care of properly in their respective homes, not all of those elderly are fortunate to have someone to look after them. In fact, the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee found that 30% of nursing homes in the United States were cited for nearly 10,000 instances of abuse over a two year period.

Abuse in a nursing home can take many forms, some problems involving physical abuse and negligent include untreated bedsores, inadequate medical care through dehydration and improper hygiene, as well as physical abuse such as broken bones, untreated bruises and cuts. Other examples of abuse involve verbal abuse, for example yelling, and ignoring requests, as well as withholding medication.

This problem happens all too often, and it can come down to the caretakers word against the elderly abused patient. An Illinois man concerned about the care of his father after he voiced concerns about a new nurse, installed a surveillance camera in his father’s room in an assisted living home. The camera unfortunately confirmed exactly what he believed, he was being neglected at times, verbally and physically abused by a certified nurse’s aid working at the facility. The nurse was charged with a felony aggravated battery to a person older than 60 years and felony abuse of a long-term health care facility resident.

Putting your assets in an irrevocable trust has a number of benefits, including: allowing the settlor, also known as the maker of the trust, to establish how his or her assets will be kept and eventually distributed, it allows the settlor to have access to the income produced by the trust, as well as the numerous tax benefits such as capital gains taxes being either deferred or in the event of gifting, avoided.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, the federal tax code applies a gift tax on an individual level, however, that tax does not apply to trusts. If you transfer funds from your personal account, whether it is a savings or checking, to another, in excess of $14,000 you will be subject to a tax for the gift made, however, the IRS does not place these same taxes on trusts, depending on how the gift was made.

If the beneficiary makes a discretionary gift to another, a gift that can be shown to be made for the immediate benefit of another, it depends on whether the donation is viewed as present or future interest in the gift. If it can shown that the gift was made for the future interest of another, the IRS will not subject the trust to gift tax, however if it can be perceived that the gift was made for a temporary relief of another, the gift tax will be applied to the donation made.

There comes a time when difficult conversations must be had with an elderly loved one in your life that requires a caregiver, but is not receptive to the idea. These conversations can initially be overwhelming for both the loved one and the elderly person, as they start to make a plan about how their lives will change, but as so many Americans continue to live longer with a number of chronic health problems, enlisting the help of a caregiver is a very realistic and responsible choice in order to ensure an elderly person is well taken care of. This also tends to be the best option for those families who are not geographically close enough to care for their loved one full time but see the need for change in the current situation.

In determining the needs of your loved one, continue the dialogue to assess what is most important to both of the parties, such as, full time versus part time care, what daily activities the individual partakes in and what kind of assistance is needed with those, if any, as well as whether overnight care or meal assistance is needed, among many other factors.

Once needs have been determined, it is important to build a pool of applicants to interview. Caregivers build a very personal and intimate relationship with those they care for, thus, it is critical that the individual not only approves of the caregiver, but shares something in common and can trust that person.

Elder abuse has been an increasing trend over the past few decades, within roughly one in ten Americans over 60 years of age experiencing elder abuse, whether it be financial, harassment, sexual, physical, or passive abuse through neglect or deprivation. Of the elders subjected to abuse, over 90% of those Americans are abused by someone they know, either a family member, friend, acquaintance, medical staff employee, or caretaker.

Predators seek out opportunities with the elderly in order to become involved in their lives and then later exploit them in their most vulnerable state. Often times, an individual will claim to be helping the elder individual, either by assisting in caretaking or house keeping, and then will later bill them for an exorbitant amount of money or get ahold of their checking account to pay themselves.

Warning Signs

Special needs trust are a type of trust by which the beneficiary is provided for through the trust income, but has no control over the distributions of the trust. Generally, special needs, or supplemental needs trusts, have been used to provide for those loved ones with disabilities or who are unable to care for themselves any longer.

Once a special needs trust is established, family or a loved one can put the assets in the trust for the benefit of the beneficiary in order to provide them with any number of resources they feel the beneficiary deserves. The trust funds can be used to compensate for additional medical bills not fully covered by insurance, for personal leisure, travel, or anything the grantor feels the beneficiary may want or benefit from.

Eligibility for Benefits & Being a Beneficiary

According to the 2010 Census, over 7.5 million unmarried couples or 15 million people, live together, a sharp increase from the 3.2 million unmarried couples living together in 1990. This increase in cohabitation has been attributed to a number of different factors, including increased living costs, decisions to marry later or not at all, and until recently, due to legal barriers for same sex couples.

There are many legal benefits to marriage, including rights to social security, immigration rights if one party is not a citizen, surviving spouse benefits, estate benefits, as well as joint bankruptcy filings and the right to refuse to testify against a spouse in a legal proceeding. However, these reasons alone are not justification to get married, which many couples are finding is not for them.

In order to ensure that your partner gets inheritance in the event of your passing, it is critical that the couple executes estate planning documents such as a will or trust. Naming your partner in your will ensures that they will be the beneficiary of the assets and property executed in the document. Additionally, name your partner as your beneficiary on all pensions, retirement accounts, and insurance policies and check those policies to determine if naming a non-family member is allowed or subject to specific rules.

There are many factors that go into maintaining a budget in a family while also trying to save for the future. For Americans, the cost of maintaining a household has gotten continuously more expensive; the average cost of raising a child born in 2013 now costs roughly $245,000 for a middle income family in the United States, with housing for the child accounting for about 30% of those costs. This is compared to a study done in 1960 by the United States Department of Agriculture that stated middle income families could expect the average cost of raising a child to be a little more than $25,000 until age 18. Interestingly in both studies, housing accounted for the largest expense for the families surveyed. The children once focused on in these 1960s studies have now become the focus of our article, and one thing remains the same, housing is still the biggest expense they must account for.

As the aging population refocuses their priorities for housing, they must consider factors such as accessibility to stores, services, transportation, medical care if they experience chronic conditions, as well as access to social settings and connections. The worry of many aging people is that they will be forced to leave their home and instead reside in an assisted living or nursing home in order to retain government assistance with healthcare. There will also need to be a refocus on the ability to provide for a more diverse population of elderly people; with the thousands of individuals turning 65 years old daily over the next two decades will come a much more diverse population that has had drastically different housing situations.

Possible Solutions

MOLST Forms, What Are They?

Easily identifiable by its bright pink color, another advance directive has been approved for use in New York medical treatment and healthcare administration. Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment are medical forms similar to a DNR Order, being that they both provide for life of end care preferences. However, Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) not only allows a patient to refuse resuscitation in the event it is needed, but it also allows for a patient to state when they would allow or request it. Once the form was approved in 2008, EMT agencies now may use the MOLST form without needing a non-hospital DNR order, however, they must honor the DNR bracelet if worn by the patient or a non-hospital DNR form if it is on file.

How it Differs from DNR Orders

While most of us know that the baby boomer population is vast, many do not realize the impact this population will have as they start to retire over the next few decades. In fact, over the next 20 years, 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 everyday. Between 65-70 years old has been the age of retirement for many, with some retiring early and some pushing through another decade of work. However, as this generation gets older, their need for care will continue to grow.

Federal Level

In late June, the Supreme Court decided not to hear Home Care Association of America v. Weil, a case that was attempting to deprive home care workers of their ability to qualify for minimum wage and additionally, for overtime pay for those hours worked over 40 per week. These home care workers have been part of the ‘Fight for 15’ movement to get equal pay and higher pay for minimum wage. Home care workers have previously been labeled by the Labor Department as ‘companions,’ which does not allow them to qualify as employees who are subject to minimum wage and overtime pay. The rules governing home care workers were not fixed until this past year, when the Labor Department determined that home care employers needed to follow the same rules as any other employer and pay their employees according to minimum wage standards.

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