Massachusetts Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

Can Your Will Protect You When You Don't Die?

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Thu, Aug 07, 2014

 

What Happens When You Don’t Die?

medicare, medicaid, wills, spouse

 

Is your “I love you” will capable of protecting you or your spouse from long-term care costs?

You know the kinds of wills we’re talking about: The husband leaves everything to the wife, the wife leaves everything to the husband and after they both die, everything goes to the kids. This works well in situations where the spouses are healthy one day and are deceased the next. 

However, as most of us know, life usually doesn’t work that way very often. Research indicates that nearly 70% of individuals over 65 will require some kind of long-term care in their lifetimes.

Thus, many spouses worry that if they predecease an ill spouse who is currently in a nursing home or will require long-term care at some point in the near future, there will be insufficient funds available to provide for their institutionalized spouses’ needs. This is an especially relevant concern for expenses that are not covered under Medicaid such as: care managers, private nurses, single rooms, as well as certain therapies and drugs.

Another concern is that the availability of funds from “I love you” wills and trusts will disqualify the surviving ill spouse from eligibility for Medicare benefits. As you know from prior articles, Medicare (MassHealth in Massachusetts) is the only long-term-care governmental program in the United States and does not cover long-term custodial care.

To solve this problem many of our clients rely on a “testamentary trust”. This is a trust built into the will of each spouse. For many estate planners, this is counterintuitive because much of the estate planning occurs within the context of a revocable living trust. In order to preserve access to Medicaid eligibility without requiring that the surviving spouse spend down the assets and lose the chance to maintain a “rainy day fund”, creating a testamentary trust in the will of the pre-deceasing spouse is essential.

What this means is that around age 55, you have to completely revise your wills and trusts to accommodate a different paradigm of thought. The thinking process is no longer “What happens when I die?” Now the question becomes “What happens if I don’t die and live a long time with expensive long-term care?”

The new paradigm requires a new estate plan. If you consider yourself middle-class (meaning that your net worth will be significantly impacted by the cost of long-term care for you and/or your spouse) and are over age 55, we suggest that you revise and update your estate plan to reflect your current and future needs as soon as possible.

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones.  We provide clients with a unique educational and counseling approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops, call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

 Click Here to Register For Our Trust, Estate & Asset  Protection Workshop

Tags: will, living will, Estate Planning, Estate Planning, Alzheimer's Disease, Elder Law, asset protection, long term care, Medicaid, in-home care, Health Care, estate reduction, estate, elder care journey, hospice, Alzheimers Disease, medicaid qualification, Wills, assets, Medicaid penalties, alzheimer's activities, in home, incapacity, Elder Law, Attorney, myths, Alzheimer's, alzheimers, financial, Attorney, income, Alzheimer's, federal, health, surviving spouse, in-home care, long term care insurance

Increase Your Brain Power!|Massachusetts Alzheimer's Attorney

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Fri, Feb 07, 2014

Estate, Asset, Brain Power, Alzheimer's

 

We've all been through those scary moments.

 We see a familiar face in an old movie on TV, and we frantically try to remember the name. Or we start walking to another room...and we suddenly forget why we're walking there.

 Well...relax. Incidents like these are quite normal. But, in addition, there are steps we can take to slow down cognitive decline. The brain is like the rest of the body - it responds to exercise!

 Here are a few things you can do...

  •  NEVER STOP LEARNING! - Stimulating our brains is the best protection against dementia and Alzheimer's. 
  •  GET ENOUGH SHUT-EYE - If you get less than six hours of sleep a night, your risk of stroke is greatly increased. 
  •   EAT LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT! - Most of your plate should be filled with green, leafy vegetables. Eat plenty of fish, nuts and olive oil. And avoid refined carbs. Studies show the "Mediterranean Diet" helps people live longer, healthier lives.
  •  WELCOME NEW CHALLENGES - The biggest memory complaint of Boomers and Seniors is difficulty in remembering names. So try memorizing three names a day - of celebrities, someone you met at the pool, TV personalities, athletes, etc.
  •   MOVE YOUR BUTT! - It's a great cardiovascular workout. And if you do it with a friend, it enhances stress-relieving social interaction, and brain-stimulating conversation.
  •   TRY MEDITATION - Reducing stress and anxiety generates improved blood flow to the brain. Try something simple. Inhale for a count of seven, hold for a count of seven, exhale for a count of seven. And repeat seven times.

If you've got questions about Alzheimer's or dementia, we've got answers.

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones.  We provide clients with a unique educational and counseling approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops, call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

Click Here to Register For Our Trust, Estate & Asset  Protection Workshop

 

Tags: Alzheimer's Disease, alzheimer's activities, Alzheimer's, Massachusettes, 2014, Brain Power

Early Signs That You May Be Getting Alzheimer's | Massachusetts Alzheimer's Attorney

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Mon, Jan 13, 2014

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Alzheimer's: Just hearing the word strikes fear into anyone over 50.

 The statistics are chilling. Already, more than five million Americans have Alzheimer's. And by the time the last Baby Boomer passes away, that figure will be over ten million.

Prior to the past few decades, it was simply called dementia. It wasn't until recent years that Alzheimer's became classified as a disease in itself...and as just one of a number of forms of dementia.

Most of us tend to think of memory loss as the chief distinguishing characteristic of Alzheimer's. And, realistically, it probably is. But it's often not the first way in which Alzheimer's manifests itself. In fact, there are a number of signs - prior to any noticeable memory loss - which could indicate the onset of this disease.

Unfortunately, most of us (and, often, even doctors) miss these early signs - because we're too focused on memory loss as the most significant indicator.

 In 2011, research in Spain indicated that more than a third of adults who go on to develop early-onset Alzheimer's (before age 65) display a number of other symptoms, before memory loss becomes obvious. Interestingly, they're also the same symptoms that often appear first in patients who develop the disease after 65.

 In Part 2, we'll give you the list of early symptoms which could possibly indicate the onset of Alzheimer's.

 With all this talk about Alzheimer's and dementia, it's wise to remember that estate planning isn't something you do after you become sick. It's something to do before you ever get sick!

 

We can help. We've been planning Massachusetts families' estates for the past 25 years.

 

We can help your family, too. We're just a phone call away.

To gain free online access to our Senior and Boomers Guide to Healthcare Reform and Avoiding Nursing Home Poverty, which contains care tips as well as other useful information , please Click the link here:

Seniors and Boomers Guide 

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center of Dennis Sullivan & Associates, we help people and their families concerned with losing their homes and life savings to increasing medical and nursing home costs, taxes and the costs and time delays of probate. We also protect clients from losing control of their own health and financial decisions.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops to learn more about our process and what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy. To register for a seat at an upcoming workshop call (800) 964-4295 (24/7) or register online at www.SeniorWorkshop.com

Tags: Alzheimer's Disease, Alzheimers Disease, alzheimer's activities, Alzheimer's, alzheimers, Nursing Home, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving From Dennis Sullivan & Associates | Massachusetts Alzheimer's Attorney

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Tue, Nov 26, 2013


Thanksgiving

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS!  

Turkey Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and food. This year we thought we would mention a concern that may affect some families and friends whose loved ones are suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.  In an article by CNN, it was reported that “Alzheimer’s ‘will become the defining disease of the Baby Boomer Generation.’” This is a difficult disease to live with and watch people live with. Below are some facts about the disease and some tips on how to celebrate this joyous holiday with the ones you love.


The Facts:
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth leading cause of death for those 65 and older. This disease is the only one in the top ten causes of death in America that has no way to prevent it, cure it, or even slow its progression.
Alzheimer’s takes a devastating toll not only on those with the disease, but also on their caregivers. In 2012, 15.4 million family and friends provided 17.5 billion hours of unpaid care to those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias; this care valuing at $216.3 billion... 

Thanksgiving Tips:

  • While preparing the food, reminisce about past Thanksgivings. But don’t ask, “Do you remember when…” something happened, since you don’t know how much has been forgotten. Instead, try starting your memories with “Wasn’t it fun when we…”

  • Limit the number of people you invite this year. Too many people may overwhelm someone with Alzheimer’s. Also make sure that there is a place for them to rest when things get to be a little too hectic.

  • Fill your home with familiar holiday scents, such as vanilla, which is considered to be calming. The smell of cooking food may also trigger memories and put them at ease.

  • Allow the person with Alzheimer’s to participate in cooking, but make sure that it is in a safe environment. Maybe stirring batter or mashing potatoes (See recipe below) at the kitchen table would be a good idea.

  • Sing or play familiar music. Music has a unique place in the human memory.

  • Watch TV or a movie together. You could watch a Football game, a Thanksgiving Day parade, or the Westminster National Dog Show.  

Family Thanksgiving

Recipe:

Kraft’s Whipped Sweet Potato Bake

what you need:
3 cans  (15 oz. each) sweet potatoes, drained
¼ cup  butter or margarine, melted
1 tsp.  ground cinnamon
1 tsp.  ground ginger
¼ tsp.  ground nutmeg
3 cups  JET-PUFFED Miniature Marshmallows  
make it:
HEAT oven to 350°F.
BEAT potatoes, butter and spices with mixer until blended.
SPOON into 1-1/2-qt. casserole sprayed with cooking spray; top with marshmallows.
BAKE 15 to 20 min. or until potato mixture is heated through and marshmallows are lightly browned.
kraft kitchens tips:
SIZE-WISE
Enjoy this classic side dish on special occasions, but keep portion size in mind.
USE YOUR MICROWAVE
Mix all ingredients; spoon into microwaveable 1-1/2-qt. dish sprayed with cooking spray. Do not top with marshmallows. Microwave on HIGH 8 to 10 min. or until heated through, stirring after 5 min. Top with marshmallows; let stand 2 to 3 min. or until marshmallows begin to melt.
SUBSTITUTE
Substitute 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center of Dennis Sullivan & Associates, we help people and their families concerned with losing their homes and life savings to increasing medical and nursing home costs, taxes and the costs and time delays of probate. We also protect clients from losing control of their own health and financial decisions.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops to learn more about our process and what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy. To register for a seat at an upcoming workshop call (800) 964-4295 (24/7) or register online 

Click Here to Register For Our Trust, Estate & Asset  Protection Workshop

CNN Artcle: Here Tips: Here Recipe: Here

Tags: Alzheimer's Disease, Alzheimers Disease, alzheimer's activities, Alzheimer's, Alzheimers Disease. Massachusetts, Thanksgiving, Recipes, family

Warning: Congressional Budget Office Considering Medicaid Changes That Will Cost You Hundreds of Thousands in Long Term Care Costs

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Fri, Jan 04, 2013

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is reviewing a new proposal to increase the look back period for Medicaid from 5 years to 10 years.  This would mean that you may end up paying more from your savings if you need nursing home care.  The CBO is also reviewing the impact of decreasing the home equity exemption from $750,000 to $50,000, which means your home will be at risk if you or your spouse go to a nursing home.  It is more important than ever that you take the important steps now to protect your spouse, home and life savings before it's too late.  You can protect your home and life savings by taking action now, before these new rule changes take effect.  If you do not, you could end up costing your family its life savings. 

For more information attend one of our Trust, Estate & Asset Protection Workshops by calling (800) 964-4295 (24/7) or visiting www.SeniorWorkshop.com.


You can also download a new report on the Biggest Mistakes in Estate & Asset Protection Planning...and How to Avoid Them by clicking here.  The report covers how you and your loved ones can avoid costly mistakes in this post-fiscal cliff enconomy. 

Tags: trusts, Elder Law, asset protection, long term care, Nursing Homes, assisted living, assets, alzheimer's activities, Attorney

Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney | Alzheimer's Caregiving Tips

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Mon, Sep 24, 2012

My Husband Has Alzheimer's. What Activities Can We Do Together At Home?

 

It can be a challenge to enjoy activities together with an Alzheimer's patient. But it's a challenge that can be overcome... if you use your imagination.alzheimers, massahusetts, elder law

 

Here are some things you can enjoy together...

 

  • WORD GAMES - A quick ramble through your neighborhood bookstore will reveal loads of books with word games. And you can also create your own - such as taking a word and seeing how many other words you can make from it.
  • VIDEOS - We're not talking about movies here, but videos specifically designed for Alzheimer's patients. Innovative Caregiving Resources has a set called Video Respite (www.videorespite.com). And these videos do just that - give you a respite.
  • WRITE HIS OWN LIFE STORY - This can be a shared activity that may stimulate some happy memories. Organize the information, and put it into a book your husband can carry around.
  • MUSIC SOOTHES THE SOUL - Music seems to help memory. You can dance to it. Or just relax to it.
  • RELA-A-A-A-A-X - Create a daily routine. At the same time each day, play calming music, burn candles or incense, or plug in a diffuser. (Use scents your husband likes!!) Gently massage some lotion into his hands and arms.
  • EXERCISE - Get outside for some fresh air. Or stay inside and use an exercise video. Play old favorites like horseshoes, or putt on a portable green.
  • GAMES - Play cards, board games, or checkers. And don't keep score!
  • READ TOGETHER - It doesn't matter what you read, as long as it's light and enjoyable.

To gain free online access to the Complete Alzheimer's Resource Kit, which contains care tips as well as other useful information on Alzheimer’s disease, please visit www.BostonMemoryLawyer.com

Click Here to Download  The Alzheimer's Resource Kit

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center of Dennis Sullivan & Associates, we help people and their families concerned with losing their homes and life savings to increasing medical and nursing home costs, taxes and the costs and time delays of probate. We also protect clients from losing control of their own health and financial decisions.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops to learn more about our process and what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy. To register for a seat at an upcoming workshop call (800) 964-4295 (24/7) or register online at www.SeniorWorkshop.com

 

Tags: Estate Planning, Alzheimer's Disease, Elder Law, Massachusetts, caregiver, alzheimer's activities, Innovative Caregiving Resources, Video Respite

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