Complex MassHealth Application

A mother created an irrevocable trust with the purpose of 5-year lookback/MassHealth planning.  Unfortunately, her health took a turn a year after the trust was created and she went into a nursing home.  By the time the son came to us for a MassHealth long-term care application, she had been private paying the nursing home for 2 years, and her assets, which included an inheritance from a recently deceased sibling, were quickly dwindling.  We quickly, but carefully, crafted a spenddown plan whereby the son and the other beneficiaries would unwind the irrevocable trust and create a single premium immediate annuity Continue Reading

Dispute Between Brothers Demonstrates Need to Plan for Long-Term Care

A recent New Jersey appeals court case demonstrates how important it is for families to come up with a long-term care plan before an emergency strikes. The case involves two brothers who got into a fight over whether to place their mother in a nursing home – a dispute that resulted in one brother filing a restraining order against the other R.G. was the primary caregiver for his parents and their agent under powers of attorney. After R.G.’s mother fell ill, R.G. wanted to place his mother in a nursing home. R.G.’s brother objected to this plan, but R.G. went Continue Reading

Outpatient rehabilitation suffer fewer post operative complications

Over one million knee and hip operations are performed annually in the United States contributing to rising health care costs. One study concluded that patients discharged to their home with outpatient rehabilitation suffered fewer post operative complications than patients transferred to a rehab facility postoperatively. An Australian study concluded that patients who performed a home exercise program recover just as well as those in rehab facilities. After Knee or Hip Replacement, No Place Like Home By JANE E. BRODY | Read Entire Article Growing numbers of Americans are outliving their joints. More than a million operations are done annually to Continue Reading

Vermont’s remote Northeast Kingdom

A reporter who calls Vermont home researched who owned the seemingly abandoned two acres next to his farm. He was surprised to learn it was owned by Russian exile and Nobel Laureate for Economics, Wassily Leontief then his daughter Svetlana Alpers, noted art historian. When the reporter interviewed his neighbor, Ms. Alpers shared memories of her idyllic childhood summers foraging for strawberries and mushrooms and stargazing. Ms. Alpers loves her land and has told her sons she wants her ashes scattered there. In Vermont’s remote Northeast Kingdom, two acres of mystery By Colin Nickerson | Read entire article On a Continue Reading

IRS Now Allows Private Debt Collectors to Dun Taxpayers

In a move that could be confusing to seniors who are vulnerable to scams, the IRS will begin using private debt collection agencies to collect past-due taxes. The new program will begin in April 2017.Authorized by a law Congress passed in December 2015, the IRS may now contract with private debt collectors to collect certain debts. The private collection agencies can work on accounts in which the taxpayer owes money, but the IRS is no longer actively working on the account, perhaps because the account is older or the IRS does not have resources to continue pursuing it. Historically, scammers Continue Reading

Aging Drivers and the Law

For better or for worse, our current culture is very car-dependant; in many places, cars are the only convenient link to the outside world. Unfortunately, as people age, driving can become more difficult and more dangerous. The elderly drive less, but have more crashes per mile than younger drivers. This is partially because elderly individuals are more likely to be affected by poor eyesight, chronic disease, and medications that might impair driving. States vary widely on how they treat older drivers.  (For information each state’s license renewal procedures, click here.) While no state will revoke a driver’s license based only Continue Reading

Four Provisions People Forget to Include in Their Estate Plan

Even if you’ve created an estate plan, are you sure you included everything you need to? There are certain provisions that people often forget to put in in a will or estate plan that can have a big impact on your family. 1. Alternate Beneficiaries One of the most important things your estate plan should include is at least one alternative beneficiary in case the named beneficiary does not outlive you or is unable to claim under the will. If a will names a beneficiary who isn’t able to take possession of the property, your assets may pass as though Continue Reading

Senior Activities Best for the Brain

A new study shows that dancing may be the best activity for your brain’s processing speed as you age.  Healthy yet sedentary people in their 60’s and 70’s with no signs of cognitive impairment participated in the University of Illinois in Urbana study – they were divided into groups and assigned different forms of activity like walking, stretching and balance training and dance requiring choreography and a partner.  The study results showed that almost everyone performed better on thinking tests than at the start of the study with the dancing group showing the most improvement.  The study also showed that Continue Reading

Hospitals Now Must Provide Notice About Observation Status

All hospitals must now give Medicare recipients notice when they are in the hospital under observation status. The notice requirement is part of a law enacted in 2015 but that just took effect. Signed by President Obama in August 2015, the law was intended to prevent surprises after a Medicare beneficiary spends days in a hospital under “observation” and is then admitted to a nursing home. This is important because Medicare covers nursing home stays entirely for the first 20 days, but only if the patient was first admitted to a hospital as an inpatient for at least three days. Continue Reading

Is It Better to Use Joint Ownership or a Trust to Pass Down a Home?

When leaving a home to your children, you can avoid probate by using either joint ownership or a revocable trust, but which is the better method?If you add your child as a joint tenant on your house, you will each have an equal ownership interest in the property. If one joint tenant dies, his or her interest immediately ceases to exist and the other joint tenant owns the entire property. This has the advantage of avoiding probate. A disadvantage of joint tenancy is that creditors can attach the tenant’s property to satisfy a debt. So, for example, if a co-tenant Continue Reading