Massachusetts Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

A Trust For A Future Generation

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Thu, Sep 25, 2014

A Trust For A Future Generation
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An Old Tool That Still Works

Dynasty Trusts also referred to as Legacy Trusts are an instrument that has been used by the wealthy to preserve the wealth and legacy of family assets for generations upon generations. Most of the high net worth families from the late 1800's to early 1900's enjoyed the benefits of the Dynasty Trust. It is also well known that the Kennedy's are still enjoying the benefits of the Dynasty Trusts established generations ago.

 

So What Is It, And How Does It Work?

A Dynasty Trust is an Irrevocable Trust used to pass wealth and assets to descendants of the person establishing the Trust. The trust does not leave assets to a spouse or the immediate children, but to grand-children, and in the past it was left to great-grand-children or even great-great-grandchildren. Essentially, a Grantor could leave a substantial estate to children multiple generations that he or she would never live to meet.

This process went on for many years and an extreme amount of wealth was passed on tax free. Eventually though the government saw how much money it wasn’t getting its hands on and cracked down on the practice. They created the Generation Skipping Tax: a law designed to prevent wealthy families from transferring their enormous wealth on without paying an inheritance tax. So, these trusts can no longer go on for generations after generation, since the government has now hedged themselves to ultimately get paid.

 

Some Exclusions Apply

However, the government has also provided for the gift tax exclusion. The amount varies depending on the current administration in Washington, but currently there is a $5.34 million (adjusted to inflation) gift tax exclusion which means that you can give away in your lifetime up to that amount tax free. After that, you pay a significant percentage in taxes on gifted transfers of wealth. For a married couple, you can double the amount to $10.68 million.

One other item that affects the Dynasty Trust is a complex and convoluted law called the Rule Against Perpetuities. This law limits the number of generations that can be skipped before the Trust must commence distributions. The law puts a time limit on the Trust so that the money cannot be held in trust forever and must eventually be distributed. There are many other rules to this law that we do not have time to deal with here, but simply put, the Rule states that the distribution must take place within 21 years after the last remaining beneficiary, alive at the time of the making of the Trust, dies.

 

Who Gets What?

As mentioned earlier, your children do not benefit from the principle of the trust; however they will receive the income from the trust during their lifetimes. Your grandchildren would be deemed the true beneficiaries, thereby receiving the assets in the trust, inheritance tax free.

We have only scratched the surface of the complexity and usefulness of this trust in this blog. A Legacy Trust is not for everyone and a lot of thought and planning must go into determining whether this trust accomplishes your goals and intent. However, when used, this Trust is extremely powerful, not only for preserving wealth but for its asset protection functionality. If you have not used up your lifetime gift exclusion and you are interested in preserving some family wealth for future generations, we recommend you contact our office to learn more about the Dynasty Trust.

 

For further information on how to protect the inheritance for your children and grandchildren, please take a look at our book, The Ten Biggest Estate Planning and Asset Protection Mistakes and How to Avoid Them 2nd Edition, available for FREE kindle download between September 26th and October 2nd, or for purchase from Amazon.com

 

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we provide a unique education and counseling process which includes our unique 19 Point Trust, Estate and Asset Protection Review to help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones, click here for more information. We provide clients with a unique 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: asset protection, Estate Planning, Massacusetts Estate Tax, massachusetts estate planning strategies, tax exemption, transfer of assets, Wills

Times Are Changing, So Are Tax Laws

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Tue, Aug 26, 2014

The Tax Game Has Changed | Massachusetts Estate Planning Attorney

 

Tax planning, estate tax, trust, congress

 

The Old Ways Don’t Work Anymore

For years, estate planners have done what is considered traditional estate planning. They drafted plans primarily concerned with minimizing future estate tax liability and gave minimal attention to income tax consequences.

This was perfectly fine years ago when the estate tax was much more severe than the potential for income tax. This was attributable to relatively high estate tax rates, low estate tax exemption that was not indexed for inflation, and comparatively low capital gains rates.

However, Congress has tinkered with the tax system in a huge way. Accordingly, the income tax impact of estate planning is taking on greater significance, especially for Massachusetts residents.

 

The Tax Man Cometh

More attention shall now be directed toward the importance of income tax basis considerations in estate planning due to the narrowing between the estate tax rates and the income tax rates. In fact, in most estates worth less than $5.34 million, estate taxes are no longer an issue. Now, income taxes loom large, primarily because of the lack of attention on the income tax basis (i.e. cost or adjusted basis) of capital assets. Also state estate taxes have become critically important because of the lower $1 million threshold for estate taxes in states like Massachusetts.

 

Failing to Update Could Cost You

The bad news for most middle-class taxpayers is that for years they've been fed a steady diet of estate tax minimizing wills and trusts. Worse yet, they hang onto outdated documents for many years, thinking they are done with their estate planning and not wanting to be bothered. Sadly, these old documents will no longer serve their intended purpose of estate tax minimization. A major problem is also created when federal estate tax minimization plans, unless they are updated, will cause a completely avoidable Massachusetts estate tax for a married couple. While there may be no federal estate tax savings with these documents, because very few middle-class taxpayers will ever pay estate tax, the documents will increase income taxes for their heirs upon sale of appreciated assets. Moreover in Massachusetts, there may not only be a completely avoidable estate tax on an additional 1 million dollars, but it may also trigger a large, completely avoidable Massachusetts estate tax on the first death.

 

What to Do About a Completely Avoidable Massachusetts Estate Tax

Bottom line:  the game starts anew. Let's focus on income tax minimization for most taxpayers and forget about estate tax minimization. Unless your estate is worth more than $5.34 million, your biggest risk is Massachusetts estate tax as well as overpaying income taxes due to inattention to income tax basis planning in your wills and trusts.  Don't make that mistake. Review your documents today so that you eliminate these lurking tax problems

 

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we provide a unified education and counseling process which uses a unique 19 Point Trust, Estate and Asset Protection Review to help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones, click here for more information. We provide clients with a unique 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, trusts, Nursing Home Costs, Mistakes, Tax on IRAs, Massacusetts Estate Tax, social security, Tax Savings, tax deductions, tax liability, tax exemption, tax reform, taxes, Massachusetts estate tax, transfer of assets, tax, trust, Nursing Home

There Are Three Ways to Pay for Long Term Care

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Tue, Aug 12, 2014

The Three Ways to Pay for Long Term Care

VA Long Term Care

As we always explain to people, there are 3 ways to pay for long term care:  The first way is to use your own money.  The second source is long term care insurance and the third is government benefits, primarily Medicaid and the VA Aid and Attendance program.

We have written before in this blog about government benefits, especially Medicaid.  Because long term care is so expensive and so many people run out of money, Medicaid, as a last resort, must always be considered. Unfortunately, the economy is still struggling and tax revenues, which provide the funding for Medicaid, are down.  State and Federal governments are always looking for ways to cut costs and Medicaid is likely to continue to be a target for them.  The VA Aid and Attendance benefit, which has been a help to some, is not a total solution by itself and is also likely to be more restrictive.  Of course, VA benefits have never been an option for the non-Veteran senior population.  As we see fewer World War II veterans, there are fewer Korean veterans behind them, and still fewer Vietnam veterans coming behind them.

Long term care insurance is an important piece as well, unfortunately, all too often we find that too many people don’t have it, and when they do seriously consider purchasing the insurance, just as they start to think that they just might need long term care, it’s too late. They are now too old or too ill to pass insurance underwriting requirements.

What we have also seen, and what we have written about in the past, is the change occurring as a result of an aging population and poor forecasting by the insurance industry.  Many companies have dropped out of the long term care market altogether.  Others have presented their policyholders with large premium increases with the promise of more to follow each year.  America’s seniors are faced with the choice of paying the increases or cutting their coverage.

So, what other options are there for seniors looking for coverage?  Let’s go back to the first way to pay for care, self-funding or using your own money.  We see so many seniors who fall into one of two categories:  Some have their savings heavily invested in the stock market and other investments that are too risky for someone who could need large amounts of principal to pay for long term care.  If the market drops by 25% or more again like it did a few years ago, many seniors won’t have the ability to hold on till their investments recover. Others have gone the other way and put their savings in bank accounts and CDs that earn less than 1%.  The principal is safe from market fluctuations but they are getting a next to nothing rate of return.  Coupled with Social Security and small pensions, most seniors today have income in the $2000 to $4000 per month range; not enough to meet their monthly expenses without dipping into the principal.

So, is there are another way?  The answer, happily, is yes.  With asset based long term care products, there is a way to self-fund the cost of long term care and have something left for your spouse, children and loved ones.  We’ll tell you more about it in our next blog post, so be sure to watch for it.

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, Nursing Home Costs, long term care, Nursing Homes, VA benefit, VA benefits, Massachusetts, Nursing Home, incapacity, senior, Veteran, VA, Nursing Home, long term care insurance

Healthy Eating Impacts Lifestyle|Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Mon, Mar 31, 2014

Lifestyle, Healthy Eating

 

I tell my clients that, as you age, your food choices become more important, because they can keep you younger – and healthier – longer.

Eating a well-planned, balanced diet may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, bone loss, cancer, and anemia. If you already have one of these diseases, eating well may help you better manage it. And it can also help reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol.

 

 

The foods you put into your mouth are the fuel that powers not only your body, but also your brain health. And they help you control – or lose control of – your weight. Extra weight, of course, increases your risk for diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, as well as joint problems.

 

 

 

Choosing mostly nutrient-dense foods that are light in calories will give you the energy you need, while enhancing your digestion, too.

We all have friends that have started “diets” and not stuck to them. Eating well has nothing to do with a “diet.” It’s part of an everyday healthy lifestyle. That’s why it’s important to start with small steps such as ditch the salt shaker. It’s a killer – literally!

And add more seafood, fruits, whole-grain bread, and vegetables to your grocery cart.

Always check with your doctor or dietician first if you have a specific medical condition.

And, remember: It’s not about a diet. It’s about a lifestyle!

 

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, Health Care, Massachusetts, health, medical, 2014, Healthy Eating, balanced diet, lifestyle

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

Slowing the Aging Process If You're A Senior|Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Wed, Feb 26, 2014

 Slowing down the aging process

You can’t stop your body from aging.

But you can slow the process down. One way to do it is by eating a nutritious variety of foods that stimulate both physical and mental well-being, and that supply you with weapons to make the good fight against Father Time.

Here are some tips…

 

 

  • Salt’s a killer. Eating less will help prevent water retention and high blood pressure. Look for the “low sodium” label. And season your food with garlic, herbs, and spices instead.
  • You can enjoy some “good” fats. Olive oil, avocados, salmon, walnuts, flaxseed, and other monounsaturated fats help prevent heart disease.
  • FIBER! As you get older, it becomes more important. It helps you avoid constipation, and lowers your chances of chronic illness. Among other foods, it’s found in raw fruits and vegetables, whole-grains, and legumes.
  • Avoid “bad” carbs such as white flour, refined sugar, and white rice, which are stripped of their bran, fiber, and nutrients. Bad carbs cause spikes in blood sugar, while complex carbs such as whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables help stabilize it.
  • Food companies do their best to camouflage sugar in their products. They’ll call it corn syrup, molasses, brown rice syrup, cane juice, fructose, sucrose, dextrose, or maltose. But it’s still sugar!  
  • Steam or sauté your vegetables in olive oil. (Boiling drains nutrients.)
  • Put five colors on your plate. Fruits and vegetables rich in color are generally rich in nutrients, too.

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

Click below to download your free copy of 7 Strategies to Protect Yourself Against Obamacare, Higher Taxes, Increasing Nursing Home Costs, and Other Government Changes.

estate planning, asset protection, Obamacare 

 Click here

 

 

Tags: massachusetts estate planning strategies, Estate Planning, Elder Law, family, Massachusetts, care, lawyer, Attorney, health, family, 2014, Dennis Sullivan, Healthy Eating, balanced diet

Power of Attorney vs. Guardianship | Boston Estate Planning Attorney

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Thu, Aug 09, 2012

What is the difference between a power of attorney and guardianship?

A power of attorney is a legal document where one person (the principal) authorizes another person (the agent) to act on his or her behalf, either for health care decisions or for financial decisions.

guardianship, power of attorney

Guardianship is a legal relationship whereby a court gives a person (the guardian) the power to make personal decisions for another (the ward). A family member or friend initiates the proceedings by filing a petition in the circuit court in the county where the individual resides. A medical examination by a licensed physician is necessary to establish the individual’s condition. A court of law then determines whether the individual is unable to meet the essential requirements for his or her health and safety. If so, the court appoints a guardian to make personal decisions for the individual. Unless limited by the court, the guardian has the same rights, powers and duties over his ward as parents have over their minor children. The guardian is required to report to the court annually.

A conservatorship is a legal relationship whereby a court gives a person (the conservator) the power to make financial decisions for another (the protectee). The court proceedings are very similar to those of a guardianship, except the court of law determines whether an individual lacks the capacity to manage his or her financial affairs. If so, the court appoints a conservator to make financial decisions for the individual. Often the court appoints the same person to act as both guardian and conservator for the individual. Like the guardian, the conservator is required to report to the court annually.

Powers of attorney for health care and property/financial decisions are relatively low cost and private way to decide which family member or trusted friend will have the legal authority to carry out your wishes if you can no longer speak or act for yourself. If you do not have power of attorney, or if your powers of attorney are not drafted properly and something happens that results in your inability to make decisions, your loved ones may later face court proceedings and court supervised guardianship and/or conservatorship. A court proceeding is not only costly, but the person appointed as your guardian/conservator may not be the person whom you would have chosen yourself.

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 developed our Unique Self-Guided 19-Point Trust, Estate, & Asset Protection Legal Guide, so you can learn where problems may exist in your planning as well as opportunities for improvement and how to implement a plan to protect your spouse, home, family, and life savings.

Click Here to Download our Trust, Estate, & Asset Protection  Legal Guide

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: massachusetts estate planning strategies, Elder Law, durable power of attorney, elder care, executor, advanced directives, guardianship, conservatorship

Big Changes in the VA Aid | Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Mon, Jul 30, 2012

     Eligible wartime veterans and the widowed spouses of wartime veterans can qualify for a special pension that can go a long way towards helping to pay the skyrocketing cost of long term care.  In many cases we can qualify needy applicants almost immediately even though they have assets greater than the limits imposed by the VA.  But that is aboutveterans benefit, VA benefit to change.

     There has been much discussion in Congress about the sharp increase in applications for VA benefits and the shady practices of some financial investment companies that sell annuities to unsuspecting seniors at high fees in order to qualify them for the benefit, only to determine that they cannot qualify in many instances.

      As with anything that gains popularity rapidly, there are unsavory practices that need to curtailed.  But what will changes mean for many who really need this benefit?  Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon has introduced legislation in the United State Senate to impose a look back and a penalty period, similar to what the Medicaid program has in place.

     While Senator Wyden’s proposal must go through various steps before it can be voted on by both houses of Congress and then presented to the President for his approval, Wyden has called for a 3 year look back and a penalty that would equate to a number of months of ineligibility for benefits based on the amount of money transferred.  It is not clear yet how that penalty would be calculated but it sounds like it would begin to run when the transfer is made, similar to the way the Medicaid rules worked before Congress changed them in February, 2006 under legislation known as the DRA (Deficit Reduction Act).

     What does this mean for aging seniors right now?  As with any change in the law, it will eradicate some abuse but it will also probably hurt other seniors in need, making it more difficult for them to qualify for benefits.  We anticipate that any changes won’t be effective till sometime in 2013.  For families, the time is now to examine their long term care plans.  There are steps that we can take now so that you won’t be hurt by any legislative changes in the future. 

For more information go to www.SullivanVeteransReport.com, which contains important information on the “Hidden Benefit” available to veterans and their spouses, and the steps you should be taking right now to find out if your loved one qualifies. For useful information on Alzheimer’s disease including care tips and resources please visit www.BostonMemoryLawyer.com. You will be given access to the Complete Alzheimer’s Resource Kit, sold nation wide for $197, absolutely free.

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.

To register or call (800) 964-4295 (24/7) or online at www.SeniorWorkshop.com 

 

 

Tags: massachusetts estate planning strategies, Nursing Home Costs, Elder Law, Massacusetts Estate Tax, Medicaid, Nursing Homes, elder care, veterans benefits, VA benefit, Wellesley

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease | Boston Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Wed, Jun 27, 2012

alzheimers disease attorney, elder law attorney, mass elder law

The definition of dementia, according to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English

Language, is “deterioration of intellectual faculties, such as memory, concentration, and

judgment, resulting from an organic disease or a disorder of the brain. It is sometimes

accompanied by emotional disturbance and personality changes.” Dementia is a syndrome or a group of symptoms that causes loss of intellectual function and usually progresses over time. 

Alzheimer ’s disease is the leading cause of dementia and the one we hear about the most. Not all people with dementia have Alzheimer’s. Different types of dementia exist. Other conditions, such as depression, will also cause dementia symptoms. Careful diagnosis of any dementia is essential in determining proper treatment and intervention. 

Types of irreversible dementia include Parkinson’s Disease (PD), Vascular Dementia (stroke),  Pick’s Disease, AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, Huntington’s Disease, Wilson’s Disease, Lewy Body Dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Frontotemporal Dementia, and Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome (alcohol-related dementia). 

Causes of reversible dementia can include depression, drug intoxication, alcohol and other poisons, nutritional deficiencies, brain disorders, diseases, a metabolic condition, organ dysfunction, traumatic brain injury, brain tumor, hydrocephalus, syphilis, encephalitis, and meningitis. 

Alzheimer’s is an irreversible dementia condition, but with the appropriate interventions, such irreversible dementias can be managed. Caregivers should seek out education, help, and support.  Physicians’ offices typically have resources available to get you started with this process.  If you would like further information on the different types of dementia, visit the following websites:

• The Mayo Clinic - www.mayoclinic.com

• The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke –www.ninds.nih.gov

• The National Alzheimer’s Association - www.alz.org.

• Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center (ADEAR) -

www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers

• Web MD - www.webmd.com/alzheimers/guide/alzheimers-dementia

• FamilyDoctor.org

 

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

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: massachusetts estate planning strategies, health care proxy, HIPAA, Estate Planning, Protective Trusts, Estate Planning, Alzheimer's Disease, Elder Law, Health Care, durable power of attorney, Financial Planning, elder care, estate, elder care journey

Answers for Framingham Veteran's Benefits

Posted by Wellesley Estate Planning Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Fri, Aug 26, 2011

The Question

 My father fought in WWII and died in January 1993. My mom presently lives in an Assisted Living Community.  My mom is 92 years old and cannot live on her own anymore.  Would she qualify for a VA benefit of any kind?  How would I go about obtaining this information to help my mom. Her Assisted Living Community costs her more than $3500 a month. Mom sold her house but once the money runs out I worry what will happen and how she will be cared for?  I would appreciate any information you could give me.

 Answers for Massachusetts Veterans

The good news is as a surviving spouse your mother may be eligible for an “Aid and Attendance” benefit.  In order to qualify for this benefit your mother must have limited assets and low yearly Income for Veteran’s Administration Purposes (IVAP).  You should locate your town or region’s Veteran’s Service Officer who is critical to the filing of an application with the local VA regional office. 

Qualification:

There is a two-part test for qualification, an assets test and an income test.

I. The Asset Test

In order to qualify to receive benefits your mothers total net worth, less certain exemptions allowed by the Veteran’s Association, should be under $50,000 (home, vehicles, life insurance policies).  It may be possible to qualify for benefits if yourVeteran's Benefits Natick total net worth is greater than $50,000 but being under that number greatly increase an applicant’s chances of qualification.

II. The Income Test

The countable income for veterans’ benefits is determined by taking an individual’s gross income and subtracting from that all of their unreimbursed medical expenses to determine their IVAP, which is ultimately used to determine whether or not a person qualifies.  For your mother, a surviving spouse with no dependents, her IVAP cannot exceed $1,056 per month. 

 The cost of an assisted living facility, and even part or all of the cost of an independent living facility, can also be an allowable medical deduction to reduce a veteran’s gross income to a much lower net countable income that may qualify him or her for veterans’ benefits. It is very important to meet with a knowledgeable veteran’s service officer or an experienced elder law attorney for a pre-filing consultation to determine whether or not a veteran may qualify. It is also important to review the estate planning work to see what may be done to assist the veteran in qualifying for this particular benefit. There may be planning steps that can be implemented before applying that will help a veteran or widow to qualify and or obtain an increased benefit.

Determining what is the countable income as measured by the Veterans Administration is very confusing to many individuals in. An attorney skilled in elder law and accredited with the Veteran’s Administration can provide a veteran and the veteran’s family with appropriate pre-filing consultations to determine the appropriate steps that must be taken to be able to determine if it would be right to apply for this VA benefit. 

 If you are in Massachusetts and would like to discuss Veteran’s Benefits more extensively, please call our office at (781)-237-2815 or register to attend one of our free educational workshops.  You can also access our free Nuts & Bolts Guide to Veteran’s Benefits and learn what you can do to maximize your benefit.

Tags: massachusetts estate planning strategies, Nursing Home Costs, Elder Law, Metro West Estate Plan, life insurance, social security, Nursing Homes, Health Care, assisted living, veterans benefits, life-care plan

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