Massachusetts Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

Confused About the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare)? | Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Thu, Nov 14, 2013

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We are here to help!

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) provides insurance for those who are uninsured, many of whom have, unfortunately, become overcome with confusion, fear, and misunderstanding, that they are avoiding to process all together. We understand that! We are navigating the options for the people we help, but even we are little unsure of the best options for them.

But there is one thing we are sure of, its the new benefits added to Medicare recipients! These added benefits include yearly Wellness visits (an opportunity to talk about your future), and coverage for numerous procedures that were not covered before.

For more information about this confusing topic, visit our website to receive your free copy of our report, "The Senior's & Boomer's Guide to Health Care Reform and Avoiding Nursing Home Poverty."

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.

Make sure you to attend one of our free educational workshops, call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about Obamacare, Medicare cuts, taxes, & how to avoid nursing home poverty!

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

Click the picture below for some more information on the 
"Senior & Boomers' Guide to Health Care Reform & Avoiding Nursing Home Poverty." 

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Tags: Medicare, Medicaid, MassHealth, Wellesley, medical expenses, medicaid qualification, Medicare, Obama, 2013, Massachusettes, Affordable Health Care, Obamacare

Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney | Medicare Part B Premiums on the Rise

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Mon, Jan 14, 2013

Effective this month, the monthly premium for Medicare Part B (out patient services) has increased by 4.7%.  The new monthly premium will be $104.90 for most.  The increase amounts to about 25% of the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment.  It should be noted that those with higher incomes will see a greater increase in the Medicare Part B premium, based on a sliding scale.

It is also important to note that the Medicare Part B deductable has risen to $147 and the Medicare Part A (hospitalization) deductable has increased to $1,184.

The Medicare Rights Center, a non-profit organizat estimates that the average Medicare recipient spends about $4,500 per year out of pocket on health care.

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 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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AS A LIMITED TIME SPECIAL OFFER You can access a free preview of this new guide. 

In the full version of the guide, which is currently in publishing, will be made available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble when it is completed. 

You will learn about health care reform and the steps that you can take now to protect your home, spouse, and family from increasing medical and nursing home costs.

Discover the secrets smart Massachusetts families are using to cut long-term care costs.

Tags: Medicare, Medicaid, Health Care, elder care, seniors, elder care journey, Wellesley, Elder Law, Attorney, senior

Massachusetts Estate Planning Attorney | Last Mintue Planning to Avoid Nursing Home Poverty

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

Lawrence Case Study

The Lawrence Family initially contacted our office looking for help upon getting referred by their financial advisor.   They were confused because they were told that they should deed their home to the children.  Like many people we have helped, their home was their largest asset.  When asked if they liked the idea of their children paying $150,000 in unnecessary capital gains on the sale of the home, they said of course they did not.  With our advice,  Mr. & Mrs. Lawrence decided not to transfer their home to the children, avoiding that expensive MISTAKE.  Instead, when they sold the home, the sale was tax-free and the proceeds were added to their life savings.asset protection, estate planning

Failure to Act Costs Thousands:

Plan Ahead to Protect Your Life Savings

Unfortunately for the family, they did not follow our other strong recommendation at the time and for a number of years thereafter to protect their life savings from being spent down on long term care costs.  As a result of their failure to plan ahead, their life savings had to be used to pay $16,000 a month to a care facility, a cost that Mr. Lawrence and Mrs. Lawrence incurred when they both ended up in the same long term care community.  Mr. Lawrence was in the nursing home and Mrs. Lawrence was across the courtyard in assisted living. 

The Lawrences incurred these costs 6 years ago.  If the care had been for two people it would have been much higher.  At todays rates, nursing home care for one person costs and average of $12,000-$15,000 per month.  That's $144,000-$180,000 per year.  The cost is completely avoidable however, and could have been avoided if Mr. & Mrs. Lawrence had come to us in advance. They could’ve protected everything and even passed the Medicaid 5 year look back period.

It’s Never Too Late, Emergency Planning is Possible

All was not lost for Mr. & Mrs. Lawrence.  Fortunately their son and daughter came to us in time to help the family with some advanced asset protection planning. Both children lived out of town, one in Oregon and the other in Europe. But we had a chance to meet with the family before Mr. Lawrence passed away.  Our teams of professionals were able to help protect $500,000 for Mrs. Lawrence from being forced to be spent on her long term care costs. Because of our successful advanced planning to help the family, we enabled Mrs. Lawrence to remain in assisted living, which is not paid for by Medicaid, AND she was able to keep additional funds for living expenses and medical expenses, which would otherwise have been paid to the nursing home for Mr. Lawrence’s care.   Needless to say at this time of crisis when Mr. Lawrence was in his last days, the family was relieved with the results they accomplished.  The planning even survived review by the Medicaid Board as qualified long term care costs to be paid for when the time came.

Are Increased Medicaid Look-Back Periods on the Horizon?

Long term care planning is a very confusing area, especially with the new health care reform, but all families’ have an opportunity to plan ahead and beat the Medicaid program’s 5 year look back. It should be noted that it is critically important for people to get their planning done now.  The look back period was increased from 3 to 5 years a short time ago, and many are now speculating that another increase somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 to 10 years is coming some point down the road.  The good news is that everything can be protected well in advance so families are not forced to spend their life savings, lose their home, and impoverish the spouse to pay for a nursing home.  In every scenario, planning ahead to defeat the five-year look back is much more effective. 

New Guide Reveals How Health Care Reform Impacts You

The stock market, investment, and retirement accounts have fallen in recent years, but medical and long term care costs continue to rise.  In Massachusetts, one-month in a nursing home costs an average of $12,000-$15,000 per month.  Additionally, as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Affordable Care Act as there will be a number of significant changes to the health care system in the United States.  Seniors and Boomers, are concerned about how the Affordable Care Act will impact their lives, future, finances, and health care. Because health care reform and increasing long term care costs are on the minds of so many we have written a new book called the Senior & Boomers’ Guide to Health Care Reform and Avoiding Nursing Home Poverty.  The guide contains hidden benefits on how new healthcare laws will affect your family, healthcare, Medicare and Medicaid coverage as well as little known secrets many smart families are already using to avoid nursing home poverty.     

While the boomers are in their 50’s and 60’s now, before you know it, they’ll be moving on to thier 70’s and 80’s. The senior segment of the population is growing five times faster than the rest of the population. Just like the seniors that we serve today, many Boomers have these same concerns.  It is so important for us all to pay attention to what’s going on with health care reform.  This guide was written to be a helpful resource to navigate and understand some of the changes brought about by the Health Care Reform.  With or without health care reform, we all need to take responsibility for our own savings and planning.  People need to be smart about how to protect what is most important to them. At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, our professional team has helped many families in Massachusetts protect their home, spouse and life savings, so if and when the time comes to go to a nursing home, people are not forced to spend their life savings down. 

Unfortunately many learn too late that Medicare will not pay for nursing homes.  Medicare only pays for diseases for which there is a cure and the patient can recover.  If you want to learn more, you can read about it in the Seniors & Boomers Guide to Health Care Reform and Avoiding Nursing Home Poverty.

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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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Tags: Estate Planning, assisted living, Wellesley, Massachusetts, Nursing Home, case study, asset, protection

Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney | Effective Medicaid Planning

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Fri, Sep 21, 2012

Is it effective planning to add someone’s name to your bank account?

Consider the following situation:

Mrs. Jones’s husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s three years ago, and the disease has prolonged to the point where he needs long-term nursing home care.estate planning, massachusetts

At the time of the diagnosis she talked to some friends of the family who told her to go ahead and add the kid’s names to her bank accounts and mutual funds as a way to protect those assets from Medicaid. Now that her husband is in the nursing home she wonders if she did the right thing.

Medicaid says that adding someone else’s name to a bank account or mutual fund does NOT transfer the ownership on that account. If Mrs. Jones had a bank account with $20,000 and she added her daughter’s name to the account, the State would say that her daughter’s name was added for convenience purposes. In other words, the entire account still belongs to Mrs. Jones. So even though the child’s name has been added, the practical effect, from a Medicaid standpoint, is that has been no gift and the entire account still belongs to Mrs. Jones.

This is true whether we are talking about bank accounts, certificates of deposit,  and checking accounts. The law says there is no gift until, and unless, the child actually takes the money out of the account. In other words, using this same example, if Mrs. Jones added her daughter’s name to the account three years ago, there has been no gift made. If her daughter later takes some money out of the account, and moves it into her own name, then the gift is made at the time the daughter takes the money out of the account. 

When dealing with mutual funds, stocks and some other assets it is considered a gift at the time of the titling of the account. 

This general rule is not true where real estate is concerned. That’s because if someone’s name is added to real estate, at the time the deed is signed and recorded, then a completed gift has been made.

For instance, let’s say that Mrs. Thompson is a widow and she owns a house valued at $300,000. If she adds her son’s name to the house and then has the deed recorded, at that time she made a completed gift. Remember that a gift would cause her to be ineligible for Medicaid for the 60 moth lookback. At the end of that time, however, the Medicaid ineligibility would cease… and the house, by virtue of its title, would be protected.

Whether or not it makes sense to add someone’s name to real estate or financial assets depend upon the facts and circumstances of each particular case. Be sure to seek advice of a competent professional before proceeding.

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.

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, as well as useful information about Medicaid.

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

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

Register NOW and receive a free Unique Self-Guided 19-Point Trust, Estate, & Asset Protection Legal Guide with accompanying DVD, absolutely free.

Tags: Estate Planning, Elder Law, long term care, Medicaid, Health Care, Wellesley, Alzheimers Disease, Massachusetts, Nursing Home

How Do I Know What Training a Caregiver Needs To Care for My Loved One? | Boston Elder Law Attorney

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Wed, Aug 29, 2012

 

No one who's ever handed the care of a loved one to a stranger has been without doubts as to whether they've picked the right person. But we can give you a few tips to make the choice easier.

 

elder care, nursing home, seniors

 

The first question you need to ask yourself if simple. What level of care does my loved one require? You may be able to arrive at the answer with the help of a home health/private duty agency.

 

If it's just a matter of getting you some assistance with daily chores, a housekeeper would work. If your loved one is still somewhat independent, but you don't want to leave them alone, a sitter would be the right choice. (Note: It should be a sitter with experience in dementia.) If your loved one needs assistance with simple personal tasks - it's time for a certified nurse aid. And once she's in the stage where she needs medical services, your logical choice would be a nurse.

 

A home care agency will do all the dirty work - background checks, hiring, training, payroll, benefits, and, if necessary, dismissal. There's a fee, of course. But it's money well-spent. And it will relieve you of the burden of trying to find help yourself.

 

Then there's the option of an adult day care center... which would free you during the daytime.

 

When making these decisions, go with your gut. If it doesn't feel right... don't do it!

 

You'll feel a tremendous responsibility - and burden - when making these decisions. But we can 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 educational and counseling approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

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

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.

and receive a free Unique Self-Guided 19-Point Trust, Estate, & Asset Protection

Legal Guide with accompanying DVD

Nursing home care is more than $140,000 per year! Attend this FREE educational seminar to learn:

  • How to protect your home and assets from the costs of long-term care
  • How to stay out of the nursing home and access in-home care
  • How to make sure your spouse is not left financially ruined if you need nursing home care
  • How to access Veterans benefits to pay for long-term care

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

 

 

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

Tags: Estate Planning, Nursing Home Costs, Alzheimer's Disease, Elder Law, Nursing Home Guide, Nursing Homes, elder care, Wellesley, dementia

Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney | Palliative Care

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Tue, Aug 07, 2012

Palliative care is basically the prevention and treatment of pain. It does not aim for a cure, per se; it aims, instead, for relief. And - although anyone suffering from any disease can receive palliative care - it's most often associated with hospice.palliative care

Hospice, of course, is different than hospital. People go to hospitals, generally, in search of a cure. People go to hospice when there's no hope of a cure, so they can die in a comfortable, homier atmosphere.

Palliative care, in a very real way, helps ease the process of dying... which, of course, is a part of life. It doesn't postpone death, by causing people to linger with untreatable illness. But it doesn't hasten it, either.

Palliative care in a hospice setting usually involves a team of specialists, ranging from doctors to clergy, to treat pain and its symptoms, and to provide a psychological or emotional approach when warranted. And it works; most families who experience the death of a loved one in hospice say it's better than passing away in a hospital.

Yet, many people don't take advantage of hospice - even though it's paid for by Medicare.

We often tend to think of a loved one's death as the worst thing that could happen. But I would suggest that there's one thing even worse - a loved one dying badly. What do we mean by "badly?"

According to Dr. Ira Byock, director of Palliative Medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire, dying badly is "Dying while suffering, dying connected to machines." Dr. Byock believes that, if we deny an imminent death, we can become delusional, and can start acting in ways that can actually harm our loved one.

These are very difficult questions. But we can help.

For more information, we encourage you to download our FREE "Consumer's Guide to Hospice Care", which reveals answers to some of the most frequently asked questions concerning Massachusetts hospice care.

hospice

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, Elder Law, Medicare, Health Care, elder care, hospice, Wellesley, palliative, palliative care

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

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