All hospitals must now give Medicare recipients notice when they are in the hospital under “observation.” The notice requirement is part of a law enacted in 2015 that just took effect.
Signed by President Barack Obama in August 2015, the law was intended to prevent surprises after a Medicare beneficiary spends days in a hospital under “observation” and is then admitted to a nursing home. This is important because Medicare covers nursing home stays entirely for the first 20 days, but only if the patient was first admitted to a hospital as an inpatient for at least three days. Many beneficiaries are being transferred to nursing homes only to find that because they were only under observation and were therefore hospital outpatients all along, they must pick up the tab for the subsequent nursing home stay — Medicare will pay none of it.
Continue Reading Hospitals Now Must Provide Notice About Observation Status
Ask most people “What does a will do?” and they’ll be able to answer your question.
But when you bring up things like a living will and a healthcare power of attorney, things tend to get a little muddled. Although both deal with medical decisions, it’s important to know the distinction between these legal documents when making any sort of end-of-life care decisions. Thankfully, an elder law attorney in Bucks County can help you understand the distinction, to make the choice that is best for your needs.
Continue Reading What’s the Difference Between a Living Will and Healthcare Power of Attorney?
Many seniors and their families don’t use a lawyer to plan for long-term care or Medicaid, often because they’re afraid of the cost. But an attorney can help you save money in the long run as well as make sure you are getting the best care for your loved one.
Instead of taking steps based on what you’ve heard from others, doing nothing, or enlisting a non-lawyer referred by a nursing home, you can hire an elder law attorney in Bucks County. Here are a few reasons why you should at least consider this option:
Continue Reading Why You Should Use a Lawyer for Medicaid Planning
A little-known insurance option can be an answer for some people who might need care but are unable to buy long-term care insurance. Short-term care insurance provides coverage for nursing home or home care for one year or less.
As long-term care premiums rise, short-term care insurance is gaining in popularity. This type of insurance is generally cheaper than its long-term care counterpart because it covers less time. Purchasers can choose the length of coverage they want, up to one year. According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, a typical premium for a 65-year-old is $105 a month.
Continue Reading Short-Term Care Insurance: An Alternative to the Long-Term Care Variety
Wills and trusts are binding legal documents, but that doesn’t mean they’re written in stone. They can be altered as the circumstances in your life change. In this blog post, we will review why you may need to update your will, living will or trust.
1. Marriage or divorce
If you’ve just gotten married, you’ll want to determine what portion of your assets should go to your spouse following your death.
If this is a second marriage or you have children from a previous relationship, you may need to consult with an estate planning attorney on how to provide for all your loved ones.
And although getting divorced usually cuts your spouse out of your will, you’ll still need to determine other matters, especially if your will had called for them to serve as your executor or guardian of your children.
Continue Reading Why You Need to Update Your Estate Planning Documents
If your child has reached the teenage years, you may already feel as though you are losing control of her life. This is legally true once your child reaches the age of 18 because then the state considers your child to be an adult with the legal right to govern his or her own life.
Up until your child reaches 18, you are absolutely entitled to access your child’s medical records and to make decisions regarding the course of his treatment. And, your child’s financial affairs are your financial affairs. This changes once your child reaches the age of 18 because your now-adult child is legally entitled to his privacy and you no longer have the same level of access to or authority over his financial, educational and medical information.
As long as all is well, this can be fine. However, it’s important to plan for the unexpected and for your child to set up an estate plan, with the assistance of an estate planning attorney in Bucks County, that at least includes the following three crucial components:
Continue Reading Take These Three Steps When Your Child Turns 18
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to start planning immediately. There are several essential documents to help you once you become incapacitated, but if you don’t already have them in place you need to act quickly after a diagnosis. Consulting with an elder law attorney is an essential part of this process.
Having dementia does not mean that an individual is not mentally capable to make planning decisions. Simply having a form of mental illness or disease does not mean that you automatically lack the required mental capacity. As long as you have periods of lucidity, you may still be competent to sign planning documents.
Here are some essential documents for a person diagnosed with dementia:
Continue Reading Four Legal Steps to Take After an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis
Moving your spouse into a nursing home can be a weighty decision, emotionally and financially.
If you don’t take the right steps, there is a chance that transitioning to a nursing home will drain your spouse’s finances, and possibly even your own.
In this blog post, we’ll look at some common mistakes to avoid before your spouse transitions to a nursing home.
Continue Reading Costly Mistakes to Avoid When a Spouse Enters a Nursing Home
For those of us who are still relatively young and in good health, it can be difficult to understand how frightening it can be to grow older, and experience the feelings of helplessness as various parts of your once-strong body begin to betray you.
If you have a senior in your life who is beginning to experience some of the negative physical or mental affects of growing older—or if you happen to be a senior yourself—you may be thinking about the various benefits and drawbacks of moving into a senior living facility, or simply aging in place in your own home.
Continue Reading Assisted Living vs. Aging in Place: How an Elder Care Lawyer Can Help
You may be young – or at least young at heart – but that doesn’t mean you won’t someday require the services of an elder law attorney.
In this blog post, we’ll outline the many ways an elder law attorney can help you or your loved ones prepare for your golden years, so that you can choose the opportune time to meet with one to discuss your specific needs.
Continue Reading When Should You Speak With an Elder Law Attorney in Bucks County?