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Elder Planning Isn't Just For The Elderly

White Plains Long-Term Care Planning Law Blog

Helping you meet your long-term care planning goals

For many residents in New York and elsewhere, it is difficult to think of a time one will no longer be able to care for him or herself or make their own decisions. Unfortunately, it is more and more likely that in our old age, we will require care and assistance. Because of that, long-term care planning has becoming an essential step to take.

While it is a very common step to take, it can be a challenging and emotional one as well. Because of this, many individuals put this off as long as possible. However, no matter a person's age, it is never too early to establish this plan. At Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP, our main focus is on elder law and meeting the needs of our clients. With regards to long-term care planning, we take the time to ensure our clients are well informed. This provides our clients with the information and tools necessary to establish a plan that works best for them.

4 questions to ask as a loved one grows older and more dependent

Do you have an elderly family member who you need to care for? Perhaps this individual is still able to carry out most daily needs, but your relative's health situation is on the decline and you're gradually becoming more involved.

If so, you may want to ask the following four questions about caring for an elderly family member:

Warning signs of dementia may mean guardianship is necessary

For many older adults, retaining their independent mobility and living status is a source of personal pride. However, there are many situations in which an older loved one may want to remain on their own but is clearly no longer capable of doing so. When that happens, family members may find themselves in the difficult position of needing to intervene.

Thankfully, state laws in New York allow for loved ones to seek guardianship of older adults if they can no longer handle the responsibilities and tasks of independent living. Learning a little bit more about warning signs of health issues that can lead to dangerous scenarios for your loved one is a good first step if you think guardianship may be in the future for your family.

Estate planning mistakes to avoid in the wake of a divorce

A person can have a great deal on his or her mind when getting a divorce. Given this, there are a lot of things a person who has just gone through a divorce may be tempted to put off for awhile. However, there are some things it is critical to not procrastinate on following a divorce. One of these is estate planning. Estate planning missteps can have major ramifications for a divorcing person and his or her family. Today we'll go over two estate planning mistakes it is critical for individuals to avoid following a divorce.

Will your retirement funds keep you from qualifying for Medicaid?

Many people feel confused about the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. That confusion can lead people to improper planning for their medical needs as they age. Adults over the age of 65, as well as those who receive Social Security Disability benefits, typically qualify for Medicare. Medicare is a special insurance program designed to protect older adults and provide cost-effective health care options.

However, there are limits to what Medicare covers. That can leave some people in need of better coverage, such as what is available through Medicaid. Medicaid is an insurance program aimed at helping those with lower income levels connect with health care.

Picking the right people to assume power of attorney for you

Creating a last will and estate plan is a complicated process. From determining whom in your family should receive which assets to deciding on your medical wishes regarding life support and other concerns, there are many things to consider. You need to take the time to create a comprehensive estate plan, including a living will.

One of the most important decisions you will make regarding your living will is which of your family members or close friends should receive power of attorney. Your living will includes your advance medical directive, which outlines your wishes in the event that you become medically incapacitated, perhaps as the result of a traumatic brain injury or stroke. If you are not able to speak up on your own behalf, the individual who holds power of attorney will have the right to make certain decisions for you.

Does your aging loved one have an updated living will?

If you have grandparents or parents in their golden years, you are likely acutely aware of the importance of having a will or estate plan in place. Chances are good that your loved one has already taken the time to arrange for the disposition of their assets after they pass on.

While this is a great step to have taken, it doesn't mean that there are no further concerns for estate planning. If your loved one does not currently have a living will in place, you may need to talk to them about developing one as soon as possible. Addressing estate planning issues now will make future transitions easier for everyone involved.

Accounting for a child's care after parental death

If you've been reading our blog, then you know that there are many aspects to an estate plan. Oftentimes the focus is on physical assets, such as money, real estate, and personal property, but it can also include powers of attorney and health directives that can instruct other as to how to act in the event that incapacitation strikes. For New Yorkers who have children, there is a whole other consideration that must be considered when creating an estate plan.

This involves how one's children will be cared for in the event of death. Usually, individuals name someone who has agreed to serve as their children's guardian. Therefore, it is assumed that upon death those named individuals will automatically slide into a parental role. However, the transfer of rights isn't automatic. Although it may not take long for a long-term guardianship to go into effect, the amount of time could be significant enough to have a profound impact on one's child.

Are debts inherited from an estate?

Estate planning is the process through which individuals devise a plan for the distribution of their assets upon their passing. These assets can vary widely from person-to-person,and can encompass numerous asset types. Bank accounts, stocks and bonds, real estate, personal possessions and even intellectual property can be addressed in an estate plan. Yet, while creating an estate plan or when a loved one passes away, individuals are often left wondering how debts are handled after death.

Generally speaking, debts are not inherited. Therefore, when an individual passes away, his or her loved ones, even if named in estate planning documents, are not on the hook for repayment of debts. There are, of course certain exceptions, such as when a loved one co-signs on a loan. Therefore, any jointly held credit cards, mortgages and car loans may still need to be repaid by the living individual.

New York nursing home abuse leads to criminal charges

The decision to place an elderly loved one in a nursing home is not an easy one to make. However, most New York residents comfort themselves with the thought that the home where their loved one has been placed is staffed by experienced, well-trained, caring and compassionate employees. While many of these homes adequately meet the needs of residents, too many times employees at these homes subject innocent residents to abuse and neglect.

Take the recent case involving one New York man as an example. There, a nurse aide was taken into custody after allegedly abusing an elderly resident at a nursing home. According to reports, the man was wrestling with a 64-year-old resident and eventually punched him in the face. It is alleged that the nurse aide was found to be on top of the victim and saying racial slurs at him. The victim suffers from mental and physical limitations that leave him unable to adequately care for himself. Reports also allege that the nurse aide smelled of alcohol at the time of the incident and may have been under the influence of drugs.

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