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Why A 204% Increase In Bankruptcy For Older Americans Is A Bigger Threat Than You May Realize

bankruptcy elder law Sep 10, 2018

As an elder law attorney, I see with much more frequency than most how certain issues related to aging cause financial distress in ways that families never expected...and certainly didn’t prepare for. That being said, even I was surprised to read some findings recently put out by the The Federal Reserve’s survey of consumer finances, via the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, about the drastic increase in bankruptcy filings for older Americans (age 65-74).

This study found that filings by older Americans increased by a whopping 204% in the years between 1991-2014. The reasons why, unfortunately, are not surprising to me - but they may be to you.  

 

It is very important to understand that these reasons, especially the two outlined below, are ones that can happen to any family - even families that were financially “secure,” or thought they were.  That is why it is so important to understand the root causes of this massive increase - so that we can be...

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Avoid Nursing Home Poverty And Spend Down - Jane's Story

Avoid Nursing Home Poverty & Spend Down - Jane's Story

The story below has been changed in order to protect the client's confidentiality, while retaining the truth of the details.  While the Family & Aging Law Center cannot guarantee results, we can say that the results below are typical for our office. 

Video Transcript:

Hi everybody, Attorney Nicole Wipp here with the Family & Aging Law Center.

So, today, I'd love to share with you a story about our client, Jane (*not her real name!). Jane, like so many of our clients, needed nursing home level care. Yet, her family was so scared - because they did not know what to do, just like so many people don't know what to do. They had been being told, "you HAVE to do a spend down, you have to spend down her money to $2,000 before she can receive benefits for care...she can't have two houses (which is what she had). She can only have one house! You've gotta sell one!" All of these things were being told to the...

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The Three Most Important Things Everyone Needs to Know...

...About Maintaining Control When It Comes To Estate Planning & Asset Protection

Listen as attorney, Nicole Wipp, discusses these three critical considerations when it comes to protecting yourself and your family.

  1. The Law
  2. The Issues
  3. Your Options

 

Questions? Need Help? Contact Us Today (248) 278-1511


The information in this video is not intended to be, nor should it be, construed as legal advice. It is for informational purposes only. For advice, specific to your situation, consult with a qualified attorney.

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Three Surprising Things I’ve Learned Working for an Elder Law Attorney (You Might Be Surprised Too)

I’m not an Elder Law attorney – and I don’t play one on TV. That being said, I’ve had the pleasure of working at the Family & Aging Law Center since December of 2015. What I’ve learned has been eye-opening – even shocking. As a well-educated person, I always thought I knew just enough about estate planning and elder law. I was wrong.

~Julie Taylor

First, I’m going to tell you a little bit about what I’ve learned about long term care in Michigan – which is, for most, also surprising. Generally speaking, the cost of skilled long term care can range anywhere from $8,000 - $14,000 a month (or more!). Shocking, isn’t it? I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t have that kind of money! If my husband or I were ever faced with one (or both) of us needing care, I wouldn’t want to see everything we’ve worked for disappear. Even worse, what happens after our life savings goes to the cost of care?...

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Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)

With PACE, teams of health care professionals focus on the unique needs and circumstances of participants, and their families, to make sure participants receive the coordinated care they need.

 

The Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) is a program that helps seniors meet their health care needs at home & in their community as an alternative to a nursing home or other care facility.

SERVICES

With PACE, an individualized plan of care is developed and maintained by a team of health care and service professionals to meet specific needs. These services include all Medicare and Medicaid-covered services and may include, but are not limited to:

  • Primary and Specialist Care (including Women's Health)
  • Medications
  • Medical Transportation
  • Therapy (Occupational, Physical, Speech)
  • Recreational Day Center Activities
  • Home Care
  • Hospital & Emergency Services
  • Dental
  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Foot Care
  • Nursing Home
  • End of Life Supportive Care

In Michigan, the areas serviced by PACE...

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Medicaid Home Care Rules

Individuals seeking to obtain Long-Term Care services outside of a nursing home must navigate a different set of Medicaid eligibility rules, depending on the type of services required.

One of the primary goals expressed by our clients is to remain in their own homes or at least in the most independent setting possible.

 

 

 

Navigating the maze of community care requires an in-depth knowledge of the services available in the home, and in adult homes and assisted living facilities, and an ability to manage income and resources to maximize their value, while utilizing Medicaid services wherever available to supplement the care provided by the individual and their family. 

Community-based Medicaid services are available through the MI Choice Waiver. Generally, however, Medicaid does not pay for adult home or assisted living care, which under existing rules must be paid for privately.

In order to access community-based care, an individual is allowed to keep the...

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Irrevocable Pure Grantor Trusts (Part 2)

Irrevocable Pure Grantor Trusts With David Zumpano (Part 2)

Irrevocable trusts, traditionally, are estate tax planning devices. Very few Americans need estate tax planning, however – less than 2%. Why, then, would you want an irrevocable trust?

This two part series, including part one, focuses on a new type of irrevocable trust known as the irrevocable pure grantor trust.

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Irrevocable pure grantor trusts are mainly used to protect assets from creditors and predators, and can be an excellent pre-planning tool for elder law attorneys and their clients.  Understanding what they are, and how they differ, from traditional irrevocable trusts is essential.

In this episode, David Zumpano, a nationally recognized expert on asset protection and elder law planning (also a CPA & attorney) discusses this irrevocable trust, who it is for, and why you may want one.

Learn how this type of trust is one of the best ways to truly keep your money “safe.”

...

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Can We Avoid A Nursing Home Spend Down? - Ask The Attorney

elder law estate planning Jan 31, 2017

This article about nursing home spend downs by Michigan estate planning and elder law attorney Nicole Wipp and the Family and Aging Law Center is not legal advice. It is for informational purposes only. For legal advice on your situation, consult with a qualified elder law attorney.

 

How Do We Avoid A Total Nursing Home Spend Down?

Family & Aging Law Center paralegal Sharon Kwolek and attorney Nicole Wipp show a nursing home medicaid application - 272 pages long - saving the client $250,000.00 ++.  This could not have been accomplished by the clients themselves - they needed a qualified elder law attorney!

 

Q: I’ve been told that if either of my parents needs nursing home care, we have to spend all of their money.  Is this true?  Can we legally protect some of my parent’s money?

A: The answer is, without a proper, legal plan, you do have to engage in what is called a “Spend Down.”  How much your parents are allowed to keep...

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What Are the Rules for Medicaid Qualification (Part 7)? - Spousal Protections

For the final topic in our series on Medicaid qualification rules, we'll be looking at important information in regard to spousal protections. As with part six of our series, your Medicaid planning advisor can best help you determine how the rules apply to your specific circumstances in your specific locality. Before you get into the specifics, however, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the general federal guidelines for Medicaid qualification that apply everywhere. To start at the begining of our series, click here

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Spousal Protections

The spouses of nursing home residents are provided certain protections under Medicaid law. Here is a brief overview:

  • Snapshot of Couple’s Assets – With married applicants, Medicaid takes a “snapshot” of the couple’s assets when the ill spouse enters a hospital or long term care facility for at least a 30-day stay.
  • Community Spouse Resource...
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Revocable Living Trusts (Part 1) With Nicole Wipp

Revocable Living Trusts (Part 1) With Nicole Wipp

How Do Revocable Living Trusts Work?

In this episode, host Nicole Wipp discusses what a “RLT” is and the importance of “funding your trust” – a commonly missed step.

You will learn:

  • What the primary purposes of revocable living trusts are
  • What a revocable living trust does NOT do for you
  • Common misunderstandings as to how this trust works
  • What trust funding is and why it is critically important

This is Part 1 of a two-part series on Revocable Living Trusts. To listen to Part 2, click here.

 

Be a SMART PLANNER!

Contact Us Today at (248) 278-1511. We Can Help.

The information in this podcast is not intended to be, nor should it be, construed as legal advice. It is for informational purposes only. For advice, specific to your situation, consult with a qualified attorney.

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