Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, October 13, 2017

Is Cruise Ship Living a Cheaper Option for Seniors Than Assisted Living?

0aafd601fa004987cc888165eb5ee545For many seniors, there may come a time when the daily burdens of maintaining a household become too much to handle. For those seniors who are still in fair health, the traditional option is to pick up and  move to an assisted-living facility. These institutions allow seniors to remain mostly independent, but provide help with medications, transportation, housekeeping, entertainment, and meals. The greatest drawback to this option is the exorbitant cost.

For 2017, the average cost for one of these facilities exceeded $45,000 per year. This can be difficult for seniors, many of whom exist on a fixed budget, to afford. An unorthodox alternative that few consider is the fabulous life offered aboard a cruise ship. An individual can stay on a ship for fewer than $100 per night. For couples, the price is more, but there are many additional discounts available for those travelling in pairs. In total, such a stay is almost $10,000 less than an assisted-living facility. In addition, cruise ships offer amenities very similar to those found in an assisted-care home. So, for seniors who are unable to live independently but are not in need of the intensive services of a nursing-home, life on a cruise ship may be a viable and more enjoyable alternative.

See Christy Bieber, Is Cruise Ship Living a Cheaper Option for Seniors Than Assisted Living?, The Motley Fool, October 3, 2017.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.) for bringing this article to my attention.

October 13, 2017 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

How the Elderly Lose Their Rights

Senior-financial-abuseRudy North once began his days in the relative comfort of his own home, reading newspapers and novels at his leisure. His wife of fifty-seven years, Rennie, recovering from lymphoma and suffering with neuropathy, was a bit slower but just as pleased to greet the day. Both were living happily together with daily assistance from a nurse who provided Rennie aid with bathing and dressing. This delightful routine ended abruptly and without warning upon the unexpected entrance of April Parks into their once-tranquil lives.

Parks was the owner of A Private Professional Guardian, a company specializing in gaming the legal and medical systems, with the help of complacent judges and crooked medical staff, in order to obtain guardianship over elderly individuals in order to siphon away their assets through fees and expenses. Unbeknownst to the Norths, Parks had attained a letter from a physician’s assistant indicating the Norths posed a substantial risk for mismanagement of their own medications. Jon Norheim, the Clark County guardianship commissioner at the time, granted Parks’s request to become guardian for the Norths. This had essentially become routine, as Norheim granted Parks a guardianship about once per week. Neither Rudy nor Rennie were subject to any formal testing or psychological evaluation prior to the complete and total stripping of their civil liberties.

After a long and arduous struggle and substantial intervention by third parties, the Norths are now living with their daughter in a converted office. They have few assets, as Parks gorged her seemingly insatiable appetite on their life savings. Despite a substantial amount of blame that can laid at the feet of the Nevada legal system, it appears as though the victims of this schema have little recourse for remedy.

See Rachel Aviv, How the Elderly Lose Their Rights, The New Yorker, October 9, 2017.

Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.  

October 10, 2017 in Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Article on Losing Loved Ones and Your Livelihood: Re-Evaluating Filial Responsibility Laws

BF-AD001_23fami_DV_20120622181243Kara Wenzl recently published an Article entitled, Losing Loved Ones and Your Livelihood: Re-Evaluating Filial Responsibility Laws, 29 Loy. Consumer L. Rev. 391-409 (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

Imagine that you just received news that your mother, who had been living in a nursing home nearby for the past year, passed away. While she was in the nursing home, you visited her a few times a week and bought her new clothes and toiletry items whenever she needed them. You work full-time and are raising two children of your own. Shortly after your mother's funeral, the nursing home where she lived serves you with a lawsuit. The nursing home is suing you for your mother's outstanding bill totaling $ 90,000.00.

This hypothetical may seem unrealistic and unbelievable, but it is unfortunately a very real situation that more and more people face every day as states begin, with increasing regularity, to enforce filial responsibility statutes. For the reasons addressed in this hypothetical, along with several others I will discuss later in this article, filial responsibility laws should be eliminated across the United States. Filial responsibility statutes contradict the most basic and important policy goals of the judicial system, including efforts to promote familial relations, limit litigation, and uphold uniform laws across the nation. Further, filial responsibility laws implicate important gender issues and discrimination.

This article will be divided into eight parts. Part II will explain filial responsibility, at what point the filial responsibility arises, and how the laws are implemented. Part III will discuss the history of filial responsibility, including its origin, its application in America, and the recent resurgence of filial laws in United States courts. Part IV will offer an explanation for the recent resurfacing of filial responsibility laws, and will include a discussion on increased long-term care costs and decreased income to elderly individuals. Part V will address the burden that women, specifically, face when filial responsibility arises. Part VI will address the negative effects of enforcing filial responsibility laws in the United States, and how that enforcement contradicts important policy goals. Part VII will propose solutions to problems that filial responsibility laws attempt to address. Lastly, part VIII will conclude with a synopsis of where current filial responsibility laws leave consumers, and how eliminating filial responsibility laws will benefit society at large as well as improve familial relations and individual welfare.

October 4, 2017 in Articles, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Death of World's Richest Woman Shakes Cosmetics Giant

573222fa26ee547d75fb7c1da6ffbbabBillionaire Liliane Bettencourt, heiress to the L’Oreal empire, died last Thursday at the age of 94. Her passing signals a possible shift in L’Oreal ownership as a 43-year-old agreement between Nestlé, the company’s second-largest shareholder behind the Bettencourt family, is set to expire in the next six months. At the end of this term, either party may increase their current holdings in the company. L’Oreal is currently viewed as a willing and able buyer of Nestlé’s shares and may choose to use a 9% holding in Sanofi, a drug maker, to fund the purchase. Such a move has the potential to force L’Oreal to make a takeover bid under French law.

See Sarah White & Sudip Kar-Gupta, Death of World's Richest Woman Shakes Cosmetics Giant, Financial Advisor, September 22, 2017.

Special thanks to Joel C. Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

September 30, 2017 in Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 23, 2017

CLE on Elder Law and Medicaid Planning: Everything You Need to Know

0000000 CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a conference entitled, Elder Law and Medicaid Planning: Everything You Need to Know, which will take place on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, at the Hilton Garden Inn Rochester Downtown in Rochester, NY. Provided below is a description of the event:

Program Description

Everything You Need to Know to Represent Elderly Clients

Rising medical costs, health insurance changes, looming Social Security Fund depletion and baby boomers' retirement have intensified concerns over long-term care funding. Are you doing everything you can to help each client develop a comprehensive plan to ensure proper quality of life in the golden years? Join our expert faculty for two days of intensive study on planning and coordinating government benefits, and emerge better prepared to face the challenges of today's Medicaid and elder law practice. Register today!

  • Get two full days of estate planning training, so you can help clients protect assets and qualify for continuing care benefits.
  • Review medical and financial Medicaid eligibility criteria in detail.
  • Explore new continuing care options that allow for more independence.
  • Find new LTC funding sources to help clients maintain the quality of life they're used to.
  • Get solutions to real-life ethical dilemmas often faced in elder law practice.
  • Plan for the tax consequences of asset transfers on spenddown requirement compliance.
  • Minimize Medicaid estate recovery through intricate understanding of the process.
  • Make better use of special needs trusts.

Who Should Attend

This basic-to-intermediate level two-day seminar is designed for:

  • Attorneys
  • Estate and Financial Planners
  • Trust Officers
  • Paralegals
  • Accountants
  • Tax Preparers
  • Nursing Home Administrators

Course Content

DAY 1

  1. Medicaid Benefits and Eligibility Rules
  2. Preserving Family Assets When Qualifying for Medicaid
  3. Medical and End-of-Life Decisions
  4. Medicaid Application Procedure and Tactics
  5. Ethical Dilemmas

DAY 2

  1. Long-Term Care Planning: Types, Cost, and Funding Options
  2. Tax Considerations
  3. Powers of Attorney
  4. Special Needs Trusts: Creation, Taxation, Administration
  5. Medicaid Post-Eligibility Issues

Continuing Education Credit

Continuing Legal Education

Credit Hrs State 
CLE 14.40 -  NJ*
CLE 14.00 -  NY*
CLE 12.00 -  PA*

Continuing Professional Education for Accountants – CPE for Accountants: 14.00 *

National Association of State Boards of Accountancy – CPE for Accountants/NASBA: 14.00 *

* denotes specialty credits

September 23, 2017 in Conferences & CLE, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Book on The End of Alzheimer's: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline

BookDale Bredesen recently published a book entitled, The End of Alzheimer's: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline (2017). Provided below is a summary of the book:

A groundbreaking plan to prevent and reverse Alzheimer’s Disease that fundamentally changes how we understand cognitive decline.
 
Everyone knows someone who has survived cancer, but until now no one knows anyone who has survived Alzheimer's Disease.  
 
In this paradigm shifting book, Dale Bredesen, MD, offers real hope to anyone looking to prevent and even reverse Alzheimer's Disease and cognitive decline.  Revealing that AD is not one condition, as it is currently treated, but three, The End of Alzheimer’s outlines 36 metabolic factors (micronutrients, hormone levels, sleep) that can trigger "downsizing" in the brain. The protocol shows us how to rebalance these factors using lifestyle modifications like taking B12, eliminating gluten, or improving oral hygiene. 
 
The results are impressive. Of the first ten patients on the protocol, nine displayed significant improvement with 3-6 months; since then the protocol has yielded similar results with hundreds more. Now, The End of Alzheimer’s brings new hope to a broad audience of patients, caregivers, physicians, and treatment centers with a fascinating look inside the science and a complete step-by-step plan that fundamentally changes how we treat and even think about AD.

Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.  

 

September 20, 2017 in Books, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Article on Note: Nursing Home Abuse of Agents: Creditor Misuse of New York's Revised Durable Power of Attorney

Elder abuseWilliam P. Davies recently published an Article entitled, Note: Nursing Home Abuse of Agents: Creditor Misuse of New York's Revised Durable Power of Attorney, 79 Alb. L. Rev. 1433 (2015/2016). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

According to the Third Restatement of Agency, “[a] written instrument may make an agent’s actual authority effective upon a principal’s loss of capacity, or confer it irrevocably regardless of such loss.” A commonly used device that confers agency, and does not terminate upon incapacity, is known as a Durable Power of Attorney (“DPOA”). While such a device can be useful to avoid government and court involvement in the event of incapacity, it can also be dangerous. Without proper safeguards, the agent under a DPOA can use the device to exploit an elderly principal. Due to the danger of abuse of the principal at the hands of the agent, state legislatures have enacted various measures to protect principals. However, as this paper sets out, some reforms that combat DPOA abuse may be contrary to the purpose of the device. One of these reforms is the Special Proceeding available to third parties pursuant to the New York General Obligations Law section 5-1510(3), which in its current form allows creditors to bypass the protections offered by New York Debtor Creditor law. 
In order to understand how the special proceeding came to be in its current form, this paper will discuss the history of the DPOA on a national scale, its application in New York, and the various measures taken by New York and other states to ensure agents do not abuse the power granted to them by principals who are no longer competent to manage their affairs. 

September 13, 2017 in Articles, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Administration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Manhattan Gets $20,000-a-Month Homes for New Breed of Seniors

RiseManhattan is poised to become a testing ground for a real estate boom fueled by aging seniors with significant wealth. A handful of developers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on lush, assisted-living residences. The gamble these developers are taking rests on a belief that there are plenty of underserved residents wanting their product and with the ability to pay up to $20,000 a month for rent. The gamble may not be too risky, as no new assisted-living facilities have opened in the immediate area since 2005.

The buildings will feature amenities familiar to those accustomed to the trappings of wealth: uniformed doormen, lush gardens, limestone exteriors, and marble interiors. Unique to these buildings will be a number of special features, like sharply contrasted wall and floor colors, incorporated to help the elderly and memory impaired with day-to-day activities. The developers’ goal is to create an environment with which the affluent are already accustomed, but with the additional services required by an aging population. Thomas DeRosa, CEO of Welltower in Toledo, Ohio explained, "If you've lived your whole life in a limestone-clad building on the Upper East Side, this will not feel alien to you. This building should feel like a seamless part of the community that someone would have experienced for the last 60 to 80 years."

See Manhattan Gets $20,000-a-Month Homes for New Breed of Seniors, Newsmax, August 21, 2017.

Special thanks to Joel C. Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

September 2, 2017 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 1, 2017

CLE on Medicaid Planning: The Ultimate Guide

0000000 CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a conference entitled, Medicaid Planning: The Ultimate Guide, which will take place on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at Radisson Hotel Manchester Center of New Hampshire in Manchester, NH. Provided below is a description of the event:

Program Description

Get the Latest on Medicaid Asset Planning Tactics

Middle class Americans seeking asset protection cannot afford to ignore the potentially devastating costs of nursing home and other long-term care. Nursing homes are among the most common and largest creditors an average American is likely to face in his or her lifetime, but only about 10% of the population has long-term care insurance. For the other 90%, Medicaid is the primary source of payment, so a basic understanding of the Medicaid asset protection process is vital for all professionals who work with seniors and their families. This course will provide an overview of asset protection concepts and strategies that elder law attorneys can use to legally and ethically protect assets while facilitating earlier Medicaid eligibility; and a set of crisis-management tools to prevent and correct inadvertent loss of benefits. Register today!

  • Learn what the income eligibility requirements are when applying for Medicaid.
  • Protect your clients' interests by knowing what's exempt and what's not.
  • Employ the most practical and effective asset transfer methods to comply with the spend-down requirement.
  • Explore crisis planning methods to restore Medicaid benefits as quickly as possible.
  • Understand what's recoverable under Medicaid estate recovery rights and how it can be mitigated.

Who Should Attend

This basic-to-intermediate level seminar is designed for:

  • Attorneys
  • Nursing Home Administrators
  • Social Workers
  • Geriatric Care Managers
  • Trust Officers
  • Accountants and CPAs
  • Estate and Financial Planners
  • Paralegals

Course Content

Continuing Education Credit

Continuing Legal Education – CLE: 12.00 *

Financial Planners – Financial Planners: 14.00

National Association of State Boards of Accountancy – CPE for Accountants/NASBA: 14.00 *


* denotes specialty credits

September 1, 2017 in Conferences & CLE, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

There's an Unforeseen Benefit To California's Physician-assisted Death Law

HospitalSome California doctors were concerned when the state Legislature passed a law allowing terminally ill patients to request physician-assisted suicide. In addition to this being a fairly clear violation of the Hippocratic oath, many physicians harbor religious and moral beliefs in conflict with the practice. For these, the law allows an exemption.

No matter the perspective, there have been some unexpected positive consequences associated with the availability of the procedure. Namely, an improvement in the care for terminally ill patients. For those patients that request the service, only a small fraction make it through the whole process. What has changed dramatically are the conversations patients are having with physicians and health workers. Dying patients, by requesting the end-of-life option, are forced to discuss their concerns, worries, pains, and suffering they endure. In some cases, especially those suffering under constant pain, physicians may adjust medication levels to accommodate their needs. This simple change has encouraged some patients to drop from the program.

So, while the process is still controversial, it has raised awareness regarding the need for these difficult conversations between patients and doctors and how ineffective policies had been prior to the passage of the law.

See Soumya Karlamangla, There's an Unforeseen Benefit To California's Physician-assisted Death Law, Los Angeles Times, August 21, 2017.

Special thanks to Joel C. Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

August 30, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)