Revoking a Power of Attorney

If for any reason, you become unhappy with the person you have appointed to make decisions for you under a durable power of attorney, you may revoke the power of attorney at any time. There are a few steps you should take to ensure the document is properly revoked. While any new power of attorney should state that old powers of attorney are revoked, you should also put the revocation in writing. The revocation should include your name, a statement that you are of sound mind, and your wish to revoke the power of attorney. You should also specify the Continue Reading

Life Insurance Can Still Play a Key Role As Part of an Estate Plan

Life insurance can be beneficial in replacing lost income for young families, but as people get older, it can also serve a purpose as part of an estate plan.Historically, one main reason to buy life insurance as part of an estate plan was to have cash available to pay estate taxes. Now that the estate tax exemption is so big (in 2016, estates can exempt $5.45 million per individual from taxation), most estates don’t pay federal estate taxes. However, life insurance can still be helpful in a number of other ways. Immediate cash. Life insurance provides cash to use for Continue Reading

Jumbo Reverse Mortgages Are Increasingly Available for High-Value Homes

Seniors with pricier homes now have an increased ability to get a jumbo reverse mortgage in order to raise cash for retirement. As the housing market has improved, jumbo reverse mortgages are becoming more popular even though they carry some risk. Reverse mortgages allow homeowners who are at least 62 years of age to borrow money on their house. The homeowner receives a sum of money from the lender, based largely on the value of the house, the age of the borrower, and current interest rates. The loan does not need to be paid back until the last surviving homeowner Continue Reading

Medicare Coverage While Traveling Within the U.S.

When people retire they often have more time to travel. Although Medicare coverage is generally not available when beneficiaries are overseas, what about coverage for those exploring our own varied and scenic land? If you have original Medicare, the answer is easy: you can travel anywhere in the U.S. or its territories and receive health services from any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare. (“Territories” includes Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.) The amount you will pay depends on whether the provider “accepts assignment.” Those that take assignment agree to accept the Continue Reading

Understanding the Tax Consequences of Inheriting a Roth IRA

Passing down a Roth IRA can seem like a good idea, but it doesn’t always make the most sense. Before converting a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA to benefit your heirs, you should consider the tax consequences. Earnings in a traditional IRA generally are not taxed until they are distributed to you. At age 70 1/2 you have to start taking distributions from a traditional IRA. Contributions to a Roth IRA are taxed, but the distributions are tax-free. You also do not have to take distributions on a Roth IRA. Leaving your heirs a tax-free Roth IRA can be Continue Reading

What Is Undue Influence?

Saying that there has been “undue influence” is often used as a reason to contest a will or estate plan, but what does it mean? Undue influence occurs when someone exerts pressure on an individual, causing that individual to act contrary to his or her wishes and to the benefit of the influencer or the influencer’s friends. The pressure can take the form of deception, harassment, threats, or isolation. Often the influencer separates the individual from their loved ones in order to coerce. The elderly and infirm are usually more susceptible to undue influence. Continue Reading

About to Turn 65? Your Health Insurer May Be Automatically Enrolling You in Its Own Medicare Plan

As people approach age 65, they should be thinking about their Medicare enrollment choices, including whether to sign up for traditional Medicare or with a Medicare Advantage plan, and if so, which one.  But it turns out that some Medicare-age people are having these important decisions made for them, often without their knowledge. Before they become eligible for Medicare, many Americans are covered by a commercial or a Medicaid health care plan run by an insurance company. These insurers often also operate Medicare Advantage plans, which are the privately run managed-care alternative to traditional Medicare. Under a little-known process authorized Continue Reading

Fighting Nursing Home Discrimination Against Medicaid Recipients

While it is illegal for a nursing home to discriminate against a Medicaid recipient, it still happens. To prevent such discrimination, nursing home residents and their families need to know their rights. The potential for discrimination arises because Medicaid pays nursing homes less than the facilities receive from residents who pay privately with their own funds and less than Medicare pays. Nursing homes are not required to accept any Medicaid patients, but Medicaid payments are a steady guaranteed payment, so many nursing homes agree to accept Medicaid recipients. When a nursing home agrees to take Medicaid payments, it also agrees Continue Reading

What You Need To Know About Paying Home healthcare Workers

The federal government recently extended minimum wage and overtime protections to most home health care workers. If you are hiring a caregiver for yourself or an elderly loved one, you need to become familiar with the rules, even if the paid caregiver is a family member. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers who hire casual babysitters and domestic service workers to provide “companionship services” to elderly persons or persons with illnesses, injuries, or disabilities are not required to pay the minimum wage or provide overtime pay. Therefore, if you directly hire a caregiver whose job it is to Continue Reading

What You Need To Know About MassHealth

What is MassHealth? The federal Medicare program provides elders with financial assistance to subsidize the costs of medical bills and prescription drugs. However, Medicare does not cover placement in a nursing home. On the other hand, Medicaid, called MassHealth in the commonwealth, is a joint program with the federal government that pays for nursing home placement for qualifying individuals. Why does it exist? MassHealth gives health care coverage to more than a million people in the commonwealth, including seniors. The plan subsidizes all or part of health care premiums and pays for benefits, such as doctor visits, therapy, hospital stays, Continue Reading