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4 Common Medicaid Planning Mistakes

Most are aware that Medicare will cover a significant portion of their overall health-care costs as they grow older, but some are surprised that it is not free. It’s also not easy – managing the Medicaid application process is actually fairly complicated. 4 Common Medicaid Planning Mistakes: Procrastinating: Don’t wait too long to start planning ahead. Planning for Medicaid should be started long before benefits are actually needed to cover long term care costs. Individuals who wait too long often find that they have to exhaust a substantial portion of their assets in order to fulfill the program’s eligibility requirements...

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Estate Planning for Families with Special Needs Children

Families who have special needs children have to take extra care when creating their estate plans. Regardless of whether their special needs child is a minor or an adult, it is critical that they consider the possibility of the child’s needs now and in the future. Will the child need to receive needs-based public benefits such as SSI or Medicaid? Will they have what they need and still be able to qualify? Estate planning considerations for a special needs child will depend on the child’s age, their level of competency, the family, and other considerations. The goal is simple: to use...

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Elderly Guardianship Basics: How to Get Guardianship

In some situations, it becomes necessary for an adult to be appointed with a guardian. In this situation, the court appoints an individual to handle decisions for another adult who is no longer capable of safely making decisions on their own. In most cases, this situation becomes necessary when an older person/family member has an accident or suffers from an illness that causes mental deterioration like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. If you believe that a loved one or someone close to you is in need of a guardian appointed by the court, start by gathering all the relevant information. List out...

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What is a Supplemental Needs Trust or Special Needs Trust?

A special needs trust or supplemental needs trust as they are sometimes called, allows individuals to designate special needs individuals to receive gifts, legal settlements, or other funds without losing their eligibility for government benefits programs. This type of trust is drafted so that the funds are not considered as “belonging” to the beneficiary when their eligibility for public benefits is being determined. Special needs trusts (as the name implies) are designed to pay for comforts and luxuries that could not be paid for by public assistance funds. They are not intended to cover basic support costs. Instead they are designed...

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Know How the Probate Process Works

Probate is the legal process through which the court officially recognizes a will’s validity and supervises the designated executor. The executor carries out the wishes of the deceased individual according to the will. When someone passes away without a will or estate plan in place, probate is the legal process the court uses to supervise the carrying out of the distribution of the deceased’s estate in accordance with Florida state law. The majority of those designated as executors of an estate are new to probate court and the probate process as a whole. Know what to expect by considering the common...

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How Gifts Can Affect Medicaid Eligibility

Many seniors are dealing with rapidly rising medical and nursing home expenses and find themselves struggling to accept the situation when they discover that even a modest amount of personal assets may leave them ineligible for Medicaid benefits to help with the rising costs of elder care and living. Many find themselves facing the possibility of spending all their money on health care with nothing left to leave their heirs. In this situation it is tempting to immediately transfer assets to heirs, qualify for Medicaid and move into a long-term care facility. Rules are in place to govern this type of...

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An Introduction to Elder Law and Wills

As we age, we face a lot of important decisions. We have to make decisions regarding how to receive care, where we live, and what’s going to happen after all the important questions are answered. Many issues that come with age have significant legal implications and elder law attorneys are there to advise you, help you make the best preparations, and be your advocate. Major Elements of Elder Law Planning: Will: A will and testament is a legal document that allows you to express your wishes regarding the distribution of your property at death. It also allows you to designate an executor...

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What is the Difference Between Elder Law and Estate Planning?

Attorneys are often asked about the difference between elder law and estate planning. Most agree that the two go hand and hand, but there are differences between the two. One similarity is that they are both more universally necessary than they seem at first. More specifically, estate planning is not reserved for individuals with huge estates and elder law is not exclusively beneficial to individuals who can be described as elderly. Overview of Estate Planning: Estate planning focuses on a person’s assets, how they should be held while the person is still living and how they should be distributed after the...

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Tax Savings with Special Needs Trusts

The Special Needs Trust, sometimes referred to as Supplemental Support Trusts, provide support for someone that receives means tested benefits such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) without affecting their eligibility for the benefits.  After a Special Needs Trust is established and funded, it is very important that the administration of the account be handled according to the rules regarding qualifying expenses. In order to qualify as a special needs trust, only specific expenses can be paid for using trust assets. In too many cases, a beneficiary is unintentionally disqualified from receiving their SSI or Medicaid benefits when expenses...

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Protecting Your Assets from Medicaid

There aren’t very many older adults who know and understand their rights and their available options in connection to long term care. This state of affairs can end up costing them and their family their financial stability as it can be disastrously expensive. Some don’t want to face the issue. Others go into their later years with faith that they will avoid the need for long term care entirely. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Americans turning 65 in today’s society have approximately 70% likelihood that they will need long-term care services or support during their lifetime....

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