Helping Seniors & Families
Plan For Their Future
Feasterville, PA
215.396.1001
Doylestown, PA
215.345.5858

What Type of Trust is Right For You?

Types of Trusts for SeniorsWhenever we elect a new president, we hear a lot of talk about something called a “blind trust.”

This term refers to a financial arrangement in which a person in elected office sets aside their business interests to avoid a conflict of interest.

It’s one of many types of trusts, all of which are designed to keep assets safe in the long term, either for you or for your loved ones.

Let’s look at some common types of trusts, their benefits and what pitfalls to avoid.

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‘Tis the Season for Gifting

2016 Estate and Gift Tax At this time of year, we think about gifting for the holiday season. While gift-giving is considered an act of kindness, it can also be an important estate planning tool.

You may wish to give away assets during your life so they are not included in your estate and subject to tax upon your death. However, you need to consider the tax laws that may apply.

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Congress Limits Insurance For Medicare Deductibles

Medicare beneficiaries often buy “Medigap” insurance policies that pay for many of regular Medicare’s deductibles and copayments. But as a result of a new law passed by Congress, starting in 2020 Medigap plans will no longer be allowed to offer coverage of the Medicare Part B deductible, which is currently $147.

However, current Medigap policyholders and those buying policies before 2020 will still be eligible for the deductible coverage after that date, so this is something to keep in mind.

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Elder Mediation Can Reduce Family Strife

When a parent gets older and begins to need additional care, it can create a lot of stress within a family. Sometimes, it can create conflicts and misunderstandings between family members as well.

For example, siblings might argue over what’s best for an aging parent. Or if one family member is doing the bulk of the care, it can lead to resentment within the family, especially if the person providing the care is also receiving compensation for the work.

One way to deal with these issues is with an elder mediator. Continue Reading Elder Mediation Can Reduce Family Strife

Power of Attorney VS Guardianship

power of attorney vs guardianship

What’s the difference between guardianship and power of attorney?

Most of us do not want to look into the future and find that we are unable to care for ourselves, or manage our day-to-day affairs. However, planning for this possibility is a necessity you should seriously consider.

Preparation of a Power of Attorney is key in preparing for the possibility of your disability or incapacity. Several types of Power of Attorney are as follows:

General Durable Power of Attorney. This Power of Attorney is comprehensive and gives your agent all the powers and rights that you have yourself. For example, you can give your agent the right to sign legal documents, pay your bills, and conduct financial and healthcare matters on your behalf. This Power of Attorney continues in effect until you revoke it or you die. A Power of Attorney designated as “durable” remains effective after you become incapacitated or disabled. In Pennsylvania, all Powers of Attorney are durable unless specified otherwise in the document.

Healthcare Power of Attorney. This Power of Attorney, which is also usually durable, permits your agent to act on your behalf in all healthcare related matters if you become disabled or incapacitated.

Limited Power of Attorney. This Power of Attorney gives your agent the power to act on your behalf for a limited purpose. For example, if you are selling your home and cannot attend settlement, you could prepare a limited Power of Attorney authorizing your agent to sign the settlement documents on your behalf. The authority of the agent to act under a limited Power of Attorney usually ends at a specific time or upon the completion of a specific event, as set forth in the document.

Springing Power of Attorney. This Power of Attorney gives your agent the power to act in your behalf only when you become disabled or incapacitated. Unlike a General Durable Power of Attorney, your agent cannot act under this document solely for your convenience if you are not disabled or incapacitated. If you choose to prepare a Springing Power of Attorney, it is important that the trigger used to determine your disability and/or incapacity be set forth clearly in the document.

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Filial Support Act Alive in PA!

The Pennsylvania Filial Support Act, which is contained in Chapter 46 of Title 23 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, permits an indigent person or any agency involved in the care of the indigent person, such as a nursing home, to make a claim against you for their care and for financial assistance if you are the spouse, the child, or the parent of the indigent person.

The amount of your liability to your indigent relative will be determined by the court in the judicial district in which the indigent person lives. If the court determines, after reviewing evidence of your assets and income, that you do not have sufficient financial ability to support the indigent person, then the Filial Support Act will not apply to you. Also, a child will not be liable for the support of their parent if the child was abandoned by the parent, and the abandonment lasted for at least a period of ten years during the child’s minority.

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Be Careful If You Want to Make Changes to Your Will

codicil to a last will and testamentIf an estate plan isn’t kept current, it can become useless. You should always make sure your will is up to date with your wishes, your financial circumstances, and current tax and other laws.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that changing a will is not a “do-it-yourself” process. Generally, any changes to your will must be made with the same formalities as the will itself, including witnesses and signatures.

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Can You Be Discharged From an Assisted Living Facility?

Assisted Living facilities provide long-term or permanent care for residents, however, occasionally they are confronted with a situation which requires them to discharge a resident or terminate the resident’s admission contract.

As a resident, you have rights which protect you from being discharged without cause. Assisted Living facilities are required to manage difficult situations and are prohibited from randomly discharging residents because they have a difficult personality or challenging health care need.

If you or someone you know is facing an assisted living discharge that you believe is unfair, it may be possible to fight it. The legal rules, however, are often unclear, and vary a great deal from location to location.

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Nursing home residents should prepare financially in case their spouse dies first

Seniors who are relying on Medicaid to help pay for expensive nursing home care need to plan carefully for the possibility that their spouse will pass away before they do.

Unlike Medicare, not all seniors are eligible for Medicaid. Medicaid is designed for people with limited income and assets, and to be eligible, you must meet strict financial guidelines. Many people have to spend down their assets to almost nothing and/or exhaust their long-term care insurance before they become eligible.

Of course, this is a problem if a senior is married and his or her spouse does not need nursing home care. It would mean that the spouse would have to be reduced to living in poverty before the senior could be eligible for benefits.

To avoid this problem, most states allow the spouse of a Medicaid recipient to keep a fairly generous amount of assets to live on. Many also allow the spouse to continue to receive some income without having to contribute to the senior’s nursing home costs.

But what happens if the spouse dies before the nursing home resident?

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