For a variety of reasons, people sometimes want some or all of their assets to pass directly to specific individuals upon their deaths, outside of probate. POD and TOD accounts are one way to [...]
When interest rates are low, intrafamily loans can be a good way to assist children with purchasing a house or a family business, and in certain circumstances they can be used to gift money to [...]
In the event you lose your house in a natural disaster or through another calamity, it is important that your estate planning and other important documents are beyond reach and easily [...]
All older Americans are vulnerable to financial abuse, but there are circumstances that make someone more likely to be scammed. An online survey can help older adults assess their risk of [...]
Every year during Medicare's Open Enrollment Period, which runs from October 15 to December 7, Medicare gives beneficiaries a window of opportunity to shop around and determine if their [...]
The Social Security trustees are projecting that the Social Security trust fund will be depleted in 2033 -- one year earlier than the previous estimates. Once the fund is depleted, Social [...]
When most of a couple's income is in the name of the spouse who is receiving Medicaid, the spouse remaining in the community may wonder what he or she will live on. Medicaid has created some [...]
Marriage is supposed to be “until death do us part,” but after one spouse dies, is it possible to have the marriage annulled? It can be done, but only in certain circumstances.
A number of tax proposals being considered in Congress could significantly affect gifting and estate plans for people with with larger estates -- over $3.5 million.
It is important to get any agreements about inheritance in writing. Providing services to someone does not automatically entitle you to a portion of their estate.
Studies have found that workers overestimate how much they will receive in Social Security benefits when they retire. Having a good understanding of the realities can help you plan for [...]
If you are experiencing problems with your nursing home that can't be resolved within the nursing home, your next step is to contact the local ombudsman assigned to the nursing home.
The federal government can grant “waivers” to states allowing them to expand Medicaid to include home and community-based services. The downside is that states can limit home care and the wait [...]
While the current estate tax exemption is quite high, a closely held family business may put your estate over the limit. Careful planning is necessary to lower or completely avoid the tax, and [...]
Most people want to pass their assets to their children or grandchildren, but naming a minor as a beneficiary can have unintended consequences. It is important to make a plan that doesn’t [...]
Britney Spears’s struggle to regain control over her business and personal life shines a spotlight on legal guardianship and alternatives that involve less loss of control over one's life.
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that has the potential to affect anyone who receives government assistance with their medical care following a disabling injury that results in [...]
In order to be eligible for Medicaid benefits a nursing home resident may have no more than $2,000 in "countable" assets (the figure may be somewhat higher in some states).
Directed trusts can be a useful estate planning tool, allowing you to place your family’s assets in a trust but benefit from the expertise of an advisor who knows more about the handling of [...]
Passing assets to your grandchildren can be a great way to ensure their future is provided for, and a generation-skipping trust can help you accomplish this goal while reducing estate taxes [...]
Medicare prescription drug plans can have a coverage gap—called the "donut hole"--which limits how much Medicare will pay for your drugs until you pay a certain amount out of pocket.
Thousands of SSI recipients have been falsely accused of owning real estate because of the Social Security Administration’s reliance on a private database that is “riddled with errors,” [...]
Qualifying for Medicare hardly means free health care -- there are still premiums and deductibles. However, people who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid (called “dual eligibility”) [...]
The one-year deadline for nursing home residents on Medicaid to spend down their first round of stimulus checks is here, but they may have a little extra time.
The IRS has announced that the tax deduction for medical expenses includes amounts spent on face masks, sanitizer and other products purchased to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Can My Mom Take Out a Home Equity Loan on a House in Her Name Without Affecting My Dad’s Medicaid Benefits?
My dad is in a nursing home and qualified for Medicaid nearly three years ago. My mom still lives in their home in Pennsylvania. The [...]
In a profanity-laced episode of his HBO show that is by turns hilarious and deeply disturbing, comedian John Oliver delivers one of his trademark rants, this one exposing the “abuse and [...]
President Biden has signed the latest COVID-19 relief bill, which in addition to authorizing stimulus checks, funding vaccine distribution, and extending unemployment benefits, also provides [...]
An elder law attorney suggested the purchase of a vehicle as a way to protect some of my grandma’s assets. While this would be [...]
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued new guidance on whether families can visit loved ones in nursing homes. The guidance allows indoor visitation even when the resident [...]
In recent years a number of non-lawyers have started businesses offering Medicaid planning services to seniors. While using one of these services may be cheaper than hiring a lawyer, the [...]
Increasingly, several generations of American families are living together. These multi-generational living arrangements present legal and financial challenges around home ownership.
Long-term care costs can add up quickly. For veterans and the surviving spouses of veterans who need in-home care or are in a nursing home, help may be available.
As the second round of stimulus checks go out, it is important to know that nursing home residents are not required to turn their checks over to their nursing home. And Medicaid recipients [...]
Tucked into the federal spending bill that passed at the end of December 2020 are some changes aimed at simplifying Medicare enrollment and addressing coverage gaps. But Congress chose not to [...]
All Long-term care costs rose sharply in 2020, but assisted living facility costs increased the most, according to Genworth’s latest annual Cost of Care Survey. The across-the-board rises were [...]
Many employers offer critical illness insurance as part of their benefit package. What is this insurance and is it worth purchasing? Before paying for a plan, you should read the fine print [...]
COVID vaccines are starting to roll out to nursing homes across the country, signaling the beginning of the end of the pandemic. Once your loved one has had both doses of the vaccine, you may [...]
As Medicare premiums rise, a Medicare Advantage plan can seem like an attractive option. But if you are considering switching from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan, you need to [...]
If you are experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, you may want to consider withdrawing money from your retirement account while you still can. The special exemption [...]
The rules around required minimum distributions from retirement accounts are confusing, and it’s easy to slip up. Fortunately, if you do make a mistake, there are steps you can take to fix the [...]
Husbands Usually Don’t Consider Their Wives’ Future When Deciding When to Take Social Security Benefits
Husbands usually don’t take survivor’s benefits into account when claiming benefits, according to a recent study, meaning that many widows will needlessly experience a significant drop in [...]
Every adult is assumed to be capable of making his or her own decisions unless a court determines otherwise. If an adult becomes incapable of making responsible decisions, then the court will [...]
The coronavirus pandemic has forced nursing homes to place a number of restrictions on their residents. These constraints are having the unintended consequence of making it more difficult for [...]
Medicare Beneficiaries May Be Eligible for an Extra 100 days of Skilled Nursing Coverage Due to Pandemic
Medicare beneficiaries who qualified for skilled nursing facility (SNF) coverage may be eligible for an additional 100 days of coverage. Whether beneficiaries can actually get the extended [...]
Medicare's Open Enrollment Period, during which you can freely enroll in or switch plans, runs from October 15 to December 7. Now is the time to start shopping around to see whether your [...]
The coronavirus pandemic is having a profound effect on the current U.S. economy, and it may have a detrimental effect on Social Security’s long-term financial situation.
If you plan to move states, can you take your Medicare or Medicaid plans with you? The answer depends on whether you have original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, or Medicaid.
Choosing a nursing home for a loved one is a difficult decision and it can only be made more confusing by the various rating systems. A recent study found that using both Medicare’s Nursing [...]
Although many people are willing to voluntarily care for a parent or loved one without any promise of compensation, entering into a caregiver contract with a family member can have many [...]
A controversial policy that reduces the benefits of military spouses is on the way out. The so-called “widow’s tax” cuts assistance to surviving military spouses who qualify for benefits under [...]
Raising the minimum wage by as little as 10 percent would significantly improve the safety and health of nursing home residents, according to new research.
Medigap policies that supplement Medicare’s basic coverage can cost vastly different amounts, depending on the company selling the policy, according to a new study. The findings highlight the [...]
The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on those in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. This has raised questions about how the virus has influenced the costs and [...]
Illegal evictions of Medicaid nursing home residents are nothing new, but the coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating the problem, according to an investigation by the New York Times.
Seniors and Adults with Special Needs Who Are Claimed as Dependents Will Not Get Coronavirus Relief Payment
Not everyone will get the relief payment the federal government is sending to help Americans through the economic hard times triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. Among those left out [...]
The coronavirus relief bill includes a direct payment to most Americans. How will this sudden cash infusion affect the eligibility of those receiving Medicaid long-term care services?
With the coronavirus pandemic hitting nursing homes and assisted living facilities especially hard, families are wondering whether they should bring their parents or other loved ones home.
Staff members working in more than one facility has been identified as a main contributor to nursing homes' vulnerability to COVID-19. But working at more than one facility is often a [...]
Should Seniors Who Lose Their Job During the Coronavirus Pandemic Claim Social Security Benefits Early?
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment is skyrocketing. Seniors who lose their jobs may be tempted to claim Social Security benefits early, but should they, given the resulting [...]
The spread of the coronavirus to nursing home residents has caused the federal government to direct nursing homes to restrict visitor access. Families are having to find new ways to stay in [...]
To protect its workers and the public during the coronavirus pandemic, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has suspended face-to-face service at its field offices and hearings offices [...]
As part of its response to the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government is broadly expanding coverage of Medicare telehealth services to beneficiaries and relaxing HIPAA enforcement. This [...]
With coronavirus dominating news coverage and creating alarm, it is important to know that Medicare and Medicaid will cover tests for the virus.
The Trump administration will allow states the option to cap Medicaid spending using block grants. While this change does not directly affect nursing home residents on Medicaid, it could [...]
Recognizing the huge problems caused by opioid addiction in the United States, Medicare is adding a new outpatient opioid treatment benefit, paying for methadone and related treatment in [...]