Massachusetts Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

What Is Hospice|Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Tue, Mar 18, 2014

Hospice, Estate Planning, Elder Care

 

Certain topics such as death and hospice can be uncomfortable to talk about.  The fact is that death is a natural part of life and hospice is a service that can provide support and comfort to people who have been given time to prepare for death and their families.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths circulating about hospice that cause some people to be hesitant to even ask questions about it.  A better understanding of what hospice is, and what it is not, can help alleviate the sense of dread that often is felt when this word is mentioned.

What is hospice?

Many people think that hospice is a place, and though there are facilities that you can go that provide hospice services, that is not what hospice is.  Hospice means a philosophy of care.  Hospice will provide care to a client at their home, whether that is a private home, personal care home, nursing home, etc. 

Workers include nurses, nurses’ assistants, social workers, and chaplains.  They provide care depending on the individual’s needs; visits can be daily to once or twice a week and usually last no more than a couple hours.  They work to find the correct combination of medications in the lowest possible doses.  The goal is to control an individual’s symptoms without undesirable side effects.  While hospice tries to care for the patient in their home, if a short hospitalization is needed to keep them comfortable that is possible, as the treatments will be to provide comfort as well.

Hospice does not mean that a person is “giving up” or that death is imminent.  Hospice is designed to maximize the quality of life.  It is designed for someone who has six months or less to live and the care goals are changed from trying to find a cure to trying to find comfort and acceptance.  Hospice is not only for cancer patients, in fact; more than 60 percent of hospice clients have a diagnosis other than cancer.

How expensive is hospice?  That depends on the insurance plan.  Medicare and Medicaid plans cover the full benefits of hospice 100 percent.  For an individual with private insurance a hospice staff member will help you review your plan and determine how much your out-of-pocket costs will be. 

The more you know about hospice the easier the process can be.  A physician’s order is required for hospice, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start asking the questions.  The hospice staff is also available to speak with you about the process and provide as much information 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: massachusetts estate planning strategies, hospice, caregiver, caretakeer, care, Massachusettes

Massachusetts Estate Planning Lawyer | Jill Saved $30,000 - Part One

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Wed, Jan 23, 2013

Medicaid, Medicare, Fiscal Cliff, Seniors, Estate Planning, MassachusettsJill needed help. 

She had cared for her grandfather for years.  When he needed nursing level care she found a nursing home nearby, arranged for him to be admitted and, as agent under his Power of Attorney, spent down his remaining assets.  Jill then scheduled an appointment with a Medicaid caseworker to file a Medicaid application on his behalf.   It seemed to be pretty simple, but problems quickly arose.

Jill gathered her grandfather’s financial records together and turned them over to the Medicaid caseworker at the first interview.  The caseworker completed the Medicaid application with her right there, printed it and had her sign it. She left the office thinking everything would proceed smoothly – that is until she got a letter from the same caseworker telling her that her grandfather still had $30,000 in assets remaining to be spent down.

Jill was confused by the letter.  She was positive that her grandfather had only a few hundred dollars left in his checking account, the only asset he had remaining.  That’s when she called our office for help.  Jill provided us with copies of everything she gave to the caseworker, and upon reviewing everything, we found 2 accounts that were titled in the name of her grandfather, custodian for Jill, with the initials UGMA at the end.

I explained to Jill that UGMA stands for Unified Gift to Minors Account.  Jill said she didn’t even know those accounts existed.  She just gathered together whatever paperwork she could find for her grandfather and turned it all over to the caseworker.   The caseworker insisted that Jill needed to cash those accounts in and pay the nursing home, then her grandfather would qualify for Medicaid.

Next week we’ll reveal why the Medicaid caseworker was wrong and what we did to fix Jill’s problem and get her grandfather help.

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 education 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 to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your beneficiaries, digital assets, Estate Plan and legacy.

 Elder Law Attorney, Estate Planning Lawyer, Massachusetts

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

Tags: Nursing Home Costs, asset protection, Medicaid, Nursing Homes, advanced directives, caregiver, transfer of assets, caretakeer, Medicare

Massachusetts Alzheimer's Lawyer | How Can I Keep My Father Entertained During the Day?

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Tue, Oct 23, 2012

f you're a caregiver to someone with Alzheimer's or dementia, you're often expected to be master of ceremonies, ringmaster, and juggler all at the same time. alzheimer, alzheimer's, lawyer, caregiver

In fact, it's a pretty common occurrence for the senior to follow the caregiver around all day...almost as if they're expecting you to provide diversion. But you don't have to be the only source of diversion.

Here are some ideas to keep him entertained...
 
  • Play a fast-paced musical video.
  • Encourage him to walk - either outside or around the house - as much as possible.
  • He can pull some weeds outside, or bat around a balloon ball. Each would provide diversion, as well as physical activity. In addition, many companies that make products for seniors will have exercise videos with simple instructions.
  • Encourage him to be helpful with any type of household activity he can handle. It's important to keep him involved. For example, let him set the table while you prepare meals. It doesn't matter if he doesn't set it properly. It only matters that he helps!
  • He may be able to clip coupons, shred documents, do minor clean-up jobs, get things from the kitchen or the laundry room for you, etc.
  • Allow him to open the junk mail.
  • Encourage him to help out with the care and feeding of the dog.
  • You have friends? You have family? Let someone else help keep your Dad occupied for a while!
  • Many Alzheimer's patients enjoy being read to. (Your local library has book audiotapes.)

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

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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.

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Click Here to Attend a Free, Education Workshop

Tags: seniors, dementia, caregiver, caretakeer, lawyer, Alzheimer's, senior

Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney | Avoiding Medicaid Penalties

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Thu, Sep 20, 2012

Earlier in the week, we discussed the numerous restrictions the Deficit Reduction Act of 05 (hereinafter DRA) has placed on Medicaid eligibility, and how elder law attorneys are still able to assist individuals and families in developing estate plans to avoid depleting their assets should they become ill and need long term care.medicaid, elder law, estate planning

Despite these new harsh rules, The Estate Planning and Asset Protection Law Center of Dennis Sullivan & Assocaites continues to help people qualify for Medicaid benefits while maximizing the amount of money they are able to keep.

Here is another example of a family we were able to assist post DRA enactment:

Cheryl met with our office in March to discuss the situation with her mother, Lois.

Cheryl moved in with her mother, Lois, a few years ago to help care for her. Last year Lois had a stroke and Cheryl quit her job to assist her mother full time. When Cheryl came to our office, it had gotten to the point that Lois needed more help than Cheryl could provide. The doctor told Lois it was no longer safe for her to live at home, even with Cheryl’s assistance. Lois, the doctor said, needed nursing home care.

Cheryl and Lois were concerned that Lois would have to sell her house to pay for her care and Cheryl would have no place to live. It was very important to Lois that she give her home to her daughter as a way of saying thank you for the care Cheryl had provided. But, both Cheryl and Lois had heard that gifting the home would cause her to be ineligible for Medicaid (and under the new DRA, the penalty wouldn’t even start until Lois applied for Medicaid and was otherwise eligible!)

Through some planning, we were able to transfer the home to Cheryl, without causing any Medicaid penalties for her mother. The same month Lois went into the nursing home, we applied for Medicaid included the transfer of the home on her application, and Lois was approved for benefits!

Gifting an applicant’s residence to a caretaker child continues to be available under the new DRA so long as the requisite proof is provided, including a doctor’s statement. Again, is the transfer is made improperly, the result could be up to five years of Medicaid ineligibility!

While the Deficit Reduction Act can make Medicaid planning and Medicaid crisis situations more difficult, they are certainly not impossible. Call our office today to discuss the specifics of your situation and find out what you can do to protect your family’s assets while getting high-quality care for yourself or your loved one.

For more information, you can gain free online access to the “Seniors’ Guide to Health Care Reform & Avoiding Nursing Home Poverty” which contains secret benefits revealed by the Affordable Care Act.

Click Here to Download the Senior & Boomers Guide to Health Care Reform & Avoiding  Nursing Home Poverty

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: Elder Law, Medicaid, gifting, Massachusetts, Deficit Reduction Act, Nursing Home, DRA, Medicaid penalties, caretakeer

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