Massachusetts Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

The Team Approach to Long-Term Care Planning

Posted by Wellesley Estate Planning Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Sun, Jan 08, 2012

Navigating through the long term care system usually requires a team of advisors.  Although the attorney is, no doubt, a pivotal person, the accountant, financial advisor, and insurance specialist are equally important.  And when one piece isn’t properly in place, it can be catastrophic. 

Mrs. Jones' story is illustrative.  Mr. & Mrs. Jones decided to sell the home in which they raised their four children.  They invested the money in annuities and decided to rent and live on the income from their investments and Social Security.  Mr. Jones, however, had already exhibited some signs of Alzheimer's. 

After the sale of their home, Mr. Jones' condition deteriorated rapidly.  He became restless and at times physical with Mrs. Jones.  She could no longer keep her husband at home.  Mrs. Jones came to us for help, thinking she could get her husband on Medicaid (MassHealth) in a nursing home.  She didn’t realize that their assets would have to be spent down to $109,560 before Mr. Jones could qualify for Medicaid. 

Mrs. Jones was distraught, "How can I live on $100,000? I'm only 65."  As part of our planning we told Mrs. Jones to cash in the annuities and buy a new home with the money, because the home would not be a countable asset for Medicaid purposes. There was however an issue with cashing in the annuities because the Jones would have to pay a 7% penalty for cashing in the annuities. However, they decided it was more important to protect what they could for the rest of Mrs. Jones' lifetime.

nh home

We were able to help Mrs. Jones get her husband into a quality nursing home.  She privately paid for a few months, cashed in the annuities, paid the surrender fees, and bought a home.  Through this and other planning we were able to help Mrs. Jones preserve the majority of her savings - money she will need to provide for her own care down the road.

The lesson to be learned here is that the Jones could have achieved much better results if they had simply come to us before they sold their home and bought annuities.  No one thought to ask what would happen if Mr. or Mrs. Jones needed care sooner than later. 

As you can see having a team of advisors work together is important.  As we progress on the Elder Care Journey, our needs change and evolve.  That is why the team of elder law professionals at Dennis Sullivan & Associates offers clients a unique, total care plan called the Life Care Plan

We also host a free educational Trust, Estate, and Asset Protection Workshop twice a month in Wellesley, Massachusetts where experienced elder law lawyer and estate planning attorney Dennis B. Sullivan will reveal how you can protect your home, spouse and life savings from the rising cost of nursing home care. To learn how to avoid nursing home poverty, call 800-964-4295 (24/7) and reserve your seat today or register online.

Tags: Alzheimer's Disease, long term care, Medicaid, Nursing Home Guide, Nursing Homes, Estate Planning, Elder Law, Health Care, seniors, risk factors

Healthy Behaviors May Lower Your Risk for Alzheimer's Disease

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Mon, Jul 25, 2011

Although aging is the leading cause of Alzheimer's and other dementias, recent research done by the Canadian Study of Health and Aging discovered that other health factors, not typically related with brain decline, could have a cumulative effect toward increasing that risk.  For example, they looked at things like eyesight, dental health, denture fit, and bladder control to see if they played any role in predicting the disease. 

When these relatively minor problems were considered, researchers found that individually, each problem was linked to only a 3 percent increased risk. However, when seniors had several of these smaller problems, that risk increased by a larger percent, because that 3 percent would be multiplied by the number of smaller issues.  This finding prompted the authors of the study to conclude that ,cumulatively, issues that "take a toll" on general health might also be associated with increased risk for dementia and Alzheimer's.

"The single risk factors that we looked at tended to be less important than overall general health," said researcher Dr. Kenneth Rockwood, a professor of medicine and Alzheimer research at Dalhousie University in Canada.  "Leading an active, healthy life when you're younger is more likely to lead to better brain health when you're older," he added.

As with everything in science, there is debate on this issue as a U.S.-based panel recently found insufficient high-quality scientific evidence linking lifestyle issues with risk.  However, researchers caution that nothing should be dismissed.  All research should become a part of the greater, and still-growing body of work relative to Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. Rockwood's basic recommendation is that "People should engage in a healthy lifestyle now, and that includes all of the specific factors that can add up -- particularly exercise," he said. "You don't have to wait 20 years for all of the data to come in."

Alzheimer's affects nearly 50% of those over 80.  In the fight against Alzheimer's, education is the best defense, arm yourself with our Free Alzheimer's Resource Kit and consider registering online or calling (800) 964 4295 to attend one of our Trust, Estate & Asset Protection workshops, to see how you can protect your life savings from the high cost of medical care.  If you have an immediate concern contact our office and ask for our Emergency Asset Preservation Coordinator. 


Tags: Alzheimer's Disease, seniors, risk factors

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