Although the concept of the living will has been around for decades, there are still many misconceptions when it comes to this legal document.
Sometimes referred to as an “advanced healthcare directive“, a living will permits you to express your wishes and instructions for healthcare and healthcare directions when you are incompetent and are in an end stage medical condition or are permanently unconscious. It is not the same as your last will and testament, which permits you to control the disposition of your assets after your death. Nor does a living will address decision making in your day-to-day medical care if you become incompetent.
You can create a living will if you are of sound mind and one of the following applies:
– 18 years of age or older
– A high school graduate
– An emancipated minor
To be valid, a living must be signed and dated by you, and witnessed by two individuals, each of whom is 18 years of age or older.
Your living will goes into effect when a copy of it is provided to your attending physician, and the attending physician determines you to be incompetent and to have an end stage medical condition or to be permanently unconscious. Once made, your living will is valid, notwithstanding the passage of time, until you revoke it.
A significant benefit of making a living will is that it removes any ambiguity as to your wishes if you are in an end stage medical condition or a permanent coma. This can be helpful to your love ones, especially your children, in removing the burden of making a life and death decision for a parent.
No matter the reason, hiring an attorney usually means you’re dealing with a stressful situation.
Maybe it’s an emergency: You’ve been charged with a crime, or you and the company you own has been sued for wrongdoing.
Or maybe you’re planning for the future, creating a will, setting up a power of attorney, which can be a different type of stressful: it’s forcing you to contend with literal matters of life and death.
It’s in situations like these that you’d be best served by seeking out the services of a Doylestown, PA elder law attorney.
Continue Reading How to Find a Qualified Elder Law Attorney
Last month, the U.S. government began issuing new Medicare cards to every Medicare recipient in the country.
The roll-out is happening in phases, going state-by-state, with all new cards expected to be distributed by April of 2019. Residents in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland are among the first getting the new cards.
Continue Reading New Medicare Cards Are Coming. That Means New Medicare Scams
It’s important to understand the medicaid gifting rules. If you are admitted to a nursing home, you will usually want to qualify for Medicaid benefits as soon as possible. However, even if you qualify in all other respects, if you have made a gift within five years of applying for Medicaid, you may not qualify. The PA Department of Human Services will penalize you one month of ineligibility for every $10,043.28 you gave away.
Continue Reading How to Prove that a Gift was not Made to Qualify for Medicaid
What is an elder law attorney?
The dictionary definition of an “elder law attorney” is simple: an advocate for older people, and their loved ones.
But talk to Garrett Gummer, a longtime Bucks County elder law expert, and you’ll get a much more nuanced answer. It’s a role that covers everything from estate planning to will preparation to powers of attorney and healthcare powers of attorney to setting up trusts.
“If your parent or grandparent has to go into a nursing home, we help protect their nest egg,” he says. “There are ways to do that if you properly plan for it.
“If a loved one dies, we help you administer their estate if you’re appointed as the executor. Or if they haven’t done a proper power of attorney, sometimes it’s necessary for us to petition the court to have you or another family member appointed guardian.”
Continue Reading What is an Elder Law Attorney?
Preparing to enter a nursing home can be as confusing as it is stressful.
Garrett Gummer, a veteran elder law attorney handing Medicaid planning in Bucks, PA, says its one of the most misunderstood issues in his field.
Continue Reading Medicaid Assets Protection 101
Signed into law late in 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act slashed the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.
Proponents of the law say it will stimulate the economy and create jobs, but how does it actually affect you? We should also note that everything we describe below will end after 2025, assuming legislators don’t vote to extend the cuts.
Continue Reading How Will the New Tax Law Affect You?
Medicare launched its new Hospice Compare website last year in an effort to help patients find and evaluate hospice providers.
The only problem, medical experts say, is that the site may not be all that helpful.
Medicare covers any reasonable care that helps ease the course of a terminal illness through its comprehensive hospice benefit. In August, the agency launched the new website, aimed at improving transparency and giving patients more access to care.
The site provides information on how hospices handle treatment preferences and patient beliefs and values. It also tells patients how facilities assess and treat things like pain, shortness of breath.
But Hospice Compare, run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) may not be that useful, argue a group of medical professionals in a recent paper published in Health Affairs.
Continue Reading Medicare Launches Hospice Compare Website
After remaining unchanged for five years, the amount you can give away to an individual in a single year without reporting the gift on your taxes has increased in 2018.
Continue Reading 2018 Gift Tax Exclusion: You Can Give Away More Tax Free
When it comes to the 2018 Medicare premium, there’s good news and bad news.
The good news? The standard monthly Part B premium, which is what roughly 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries pay, will stay at 2017’s rate of $134 next year.
Continue Reading Medicare’s Part B Premium Will Be Unchanged in 2018, But Many Will Pay More. Got That?