October 17th, 2014
Guardianship, in the State of New York, refers to proceedings to help individuals who are either in declining health, are unable to take care of their personal needs and/or financial needs, or who have been taken advantage of by third parties, fraudsters, friends, neighbors, or other loved ones. The purpose of a guardianship proceeding is to help a senior, a debilitated person or a special person deal with their personal and financial needs and see to it they are not taken advantage of. In cases where there have been inappropriate transfers, violations of powers of attorney, or where the individuals were simply taken advantage of financially, a guardianship proceeding can be utilized to protect the rights of these individuals. Assets taken through fraud, duress, or undue influence can be returned to their rightful owner through legal action.
Expedited Guardianship Proceedings
Sometimes friends, family members and other loved ones find the senior or special person has an emergency situation which requires immediate action. In these cases, expedited proceedings can be brought for the appointment of a guardian either of the person or of the property of this individual.
Two Types of Guardianships
Guardianships for senior citizens are brought under Article 81 of the New York Mental Hygiene Law. These guardianships are brought in the Supreme Courts of the county where the individual resides.
Guardians for special individuals can also be brought under Article 17(a) of the New York Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act. These types of guardianships are brought in the Surrogate’s Court of the county where the individual resides.
Helping another who can’t help themselves is an altruistic course of action. Helping a sick individual, infirm individual, or mentally challenged individual protect their assets and their health and well-being requires the skill and attention of dedicated attorneys with experience in these matters. The guardianship lawyers at the Law Office of Elliot Schlissel have more than 100 years of combined experience helping clients with these types of cases. For more than 30 years, our attorneys have helped seniors, special individuals and their families with regard to guardianship proceedings.
Elliot S. Schlissel is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Elliot and his associate attorneys maintain a sophisticated practice bringing numerous guardianship proceedings each year. He can be reached for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.
May 13th, 2014
Retirement is supposed to be the golden years. However, today the issue of how much money you need in retirement is becoming a much more complex issue. Although it is important to save for retirement, you shouldn’t scrimp and deprive yourself for a retirement that may never happen. The big problem is running out of money while you are retired.
How Much Do I Need?
To start with, you must take into consideration what your financial assets are. Then you must develop a plan that is practical with regard to an individual or family with your assets.
On the other side of the balance sheet you must look into what your income will be in retirement. Do you have annuities? Do you have a pension? Do you have a 401(k) you can draw from? Will your only income be from Social Security benefits and returns on retirement investments?
If your living expenses during the term of your retirement are greater than your income, the only way of making ends meet is to draw down the principal of your savings and investments.
What Type of Investments?
Investing for long term income is the approach you should take with regard to retirement planning. This means you should avoid speculative investments. I suggest that you invest approximately 60-70% of your assets in income producing investments and the balance in dividend paying blue chip stock.
You should not assume that your investments will produce a seven, eight, nine or ten percent return. You should use a very conservative number of either a four or five percent total return on investments.
The Length of Your Retirement
Traditionally, Americans had been retiring between ages sixty and sixty-five. However, with greater life expectancy and smaller amounts of savings, many Americans are considering retiring at much older ages. If you retire at sixty-five you must take into consideration that you have enough assets to last you twenty-five or thirty years. However, if you retire at an older age, the term of your retirement will be shorter and the length of the payout in your investments will be shorter.
There are tricksters and scam artists who prey on senior citizens. Be careful with regard to investment advisors who promise high investment returns. If you are not sophisticated with regard to investments, you should find a well thought of investment advisor to help you. You should counterbalance the suggestions from your investment advisor with a certified public accountant.
Investing for retirement can be difficult. Hopefully you will be successful in accumulating enough money and investing it properly to actually have those golden years in retirement.
Elliot S. Schlissel is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He assists his clients in all types of elder care issues related to medicaid planning, drafting wills and assisting the clients and their family members regarding probating of wills.
August 29th, 2013
Approximately ¾ of all Americans, at some time in their life, will need some form of long term care. This is pursuant to a study of the US Department of Health and Human Services. Seniors over 65 have approximately a 1 in 3 chance of at some point in time finding themselves in a nursing home. Approximately 20% of these seniors will spend up to 5 years in a nursing home.
Long Term Care Insurance
Medicare is not designed to cover long term care in a nursing home or a rehabilitation facility. Medicare provides up to 100 days of coverage in an institution solely for rehabilitation purposes. So, should you purchase long term care insurance? The answer to this question is yes! However long term care insurance should be purchased when you are in your 50’s. If you want to purchase long term care insurance when you are in your 60’s or 70’s you may find it is much too expensive. It also should be pointed out insurance companies underwrite long term care insurance policies. Should they find you have a medical condition or illness which makes you a more likely candidate to end up in a nursing home, they will not sell you a long term care insurance policy or they will charge you a higher premium for the policy.
Medicare And Medicaid
As indicated earlier in this article, Medicare is not designed to cover long term care in a nursing home. It may help cover rehabilitation in the short run but it is not designed for long term care. Medicaid is a program for poor people. There are very strict requirements to be eligible for Medicaid. There is also a five year look back with regard to the transfer or moving of assets that is investigated prior to obtaining eligibility to participate in Medicaid.
Veterans may have an opportunity to obtain benefits from Veterans Administration for long term care. Long term care is expensive. The average nursing home in the metropolitan New York area charges between $10,000 and $12,000 per month for private pay patients. If you do not have long term care insurance, other avenues you may need to investigate to pay for long term care involve reverse mortgages, pension loans and the liquidating of your personal assets.
Growing Old in America
Today, Americans are living longer and longer. As Americans age, their mobility can sometimes be more difficult. Senior citizens living alone sometimes have difficulty in maintaining their daily routines. Even if you have devoted loving family members, they may not be able to help you on a daily basis should you have need for a care giver. Your current home or apartment may also not be practical for you should you become sick, infirm, wheelchair bound or have failing eyesight. I wish we could all be forever young. However, growing old is part of life!
About The Author
Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is an Elder Care attorney.
August 12th, 2013
In the States of Connecticut, Florida and New York spousal refusal to pay for a spouse’s medical expenses can be an acceptable Medicaid planning technique. The spouse of an individual who goes into a nursing home and applies for Medicaid is referred to as the “community spouse.” This spouse can keep approximately $3000 a month of the family’s combined income. In addition the community spouse can keep about $100,000 in assets which is referred to in Medicaid jargon as “resources.” Exempt assets such as car and the home the parties reside in are not included. The spouse that is going to go into the nursing facility is referred to as the “institutionalized spouse.”
$3000 A Month Is Not Enough
In a situation where the community spouse cannot live on the $3000 a month which is exempt from Medicaid, spousal refusal becomes an important option. The first step is the moving of assets from being held jointly to being solely in the name of the community spouse. An elder care attorney can prepare a document indicating the community spouse is refusing to contribute his or her income and assets to the care of the institutionalized spouse. The document provides reasons for the community spouse needing more than $3000 a month to live on. If the community spouse exercises spousal refusal and then meets other requirements to qualify for Medicaid benefits, the New York State benefit program must pay the expenses for the institutionalized spouse.
Department of Social Services Suing Community Spouse
The Department of Social Services can institute a law suit against the community spouse to recover all of the expenses paid by Medicaid. The purpose of the law suit is to force the community spouse to reimburse the Department of Social Services. So why should a community spouse risk this law suit? There are good reasons for this. To start with there is no guarantee the Department of Social Services will be successful in the law suit. Even if the Department of Social Services is winning the law suit, these law suits are often settled for less than the entire amount which is due and owing. In the event the Department of Social Services is successful in the law suit, it may only obtain payment for the Medicaid reimbursement rate and not for the much higher private pay rate the institution would charge for taking care of the institutionalized spouse. The private pay rate is usually $3000 to $5000 a month higher than the reimbursement rate for Medicaid.
Elder Care Planning: The Best Route
The first option should be to purchase long term care insurance. If this is not a viable option, the next best way to deal with elder care related issues concerning Medicaid is to hire an elder care lawyer to prepare an irrevocable MAPT trust at least five years before any potential need for Medicaid benefits.
November 26th, 2012
Job growth in the United States has been weak for a number of years. However, there is one group in the American population that has a higher level of employment than in previous decades. This group encompasses “older Americans.” More than 7.2 million Americans over the age of 65 are now working. This is more than twice as many that were employed 18 years ago. Why are a lot of older Americans working today? Simply speaking, they have to!
Savings In 401K’s Are Down
The amount of money in 401K plans and equity in homes of older Americans has decreased during the recent recession. During this period of time, the expenses for senior citizen’s health care and daily living expenses have increased.
Americans today are living longer than they have in the past. This makes working beyond 65 years of age much easier. Many Americans work to stay active and productive. However, the most significant factor in Americans working well into their seventies is financial need.
In a study regarding retirement financial confidence conducted by Employee Benefit Research Institute, only 14% of Americans polled felt they would have enough money to live comfortably in retirement. Is retirement no longer an option?
About The Author
July 24th, 2012
Planning for retirement is difficult. Today, nest eggs are much smaller than they have been in the past. Many individuals and families plan for retirement at the last minute. This can cause problems.
Save And Invest
Americans need to save today, not tomorrow. It takes a lot of will power to forego today’s pleasures and have money for the long run.
Retirement Is Not A Permanent Vacation
Some TV advertisements present retirement as a permanent vacation. You see pictures of individuals playing golf in a Shangri-La type atmosphere. Americans are living longer today. The Shangri-La atmosphere presented in those pictures can become boring and stale. Even if you can afford living in a retirement community of that type, life expectancy can stretch retirement for as long as thirty or forty years.
A Study by Fidelity Investments indicates a couple who are 65 years of age when they retire will need more than $250,000 to pay for medical expenses throughout their retirement. These medical expenses do not include nursing home care. The study found the average medical expenses for a 65 year old couple amounted to more than $530 per month. It should be noted Medicare is not free and doesn’t cover all medical expenses!
Be Careful With Your 401K Plan
A 401K Plan is retirement plan. Many people borrow large sums from their 401k plans and are not able to pay these sums back. Depleting your 401K plan can have a significantly negative impact on your ability to retire.
Be Careful Of Your Priorities
Steven Cuhna, a certified financial planner with Bay Street Financial Services, suggests you remember the 5 P’s regarding retirement, Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. You should have a plan that analyzes your financial goals, retirement needs, investment and estate plan. You may live a long time but you will not live forever. Having a will and/or irrevocable trust may be necessary to help you preserve your assets. Another solution is to never stop working!
March 29th, 2012
The Garden of Eden Nursing Home is located in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York. The residents of this adult facility have been forced to live in a poorly maintained residence and under unsanitary living conditions. Multiple lawsuits have been brought related to complaints of mistreatment from the residents. The State Health Department has sited the facility for numerous violations during the course of 2011.
Pay Your Rent Or We’ll Put You On The Street
Linda Benjamin, age 58, who has been living at the facility for the past nine years, has said “they have black hearts – all of them.” She claims to have been bullied and threatened by administrators during the entire 9 year period she has been living at the facility. Benjamin recently asked the administrators of the facility to reduce her rent so she could purchase a new set of dentures. She was told that if she didn’t pay her rent she would be out on the street.
Residents of the facility claim the administrator Martin Amsel bullied patients into attending optional treatment meetings. They would be threatened with eviction or unnecessary hospital stays if they didn’t do as requested.
The State Health Department documents indicate that residents complained they were being served stale and moldy food.
Jeff Sherrin stated “Garden of Eden and its Administrator were wrongfully accused by the Department of Health inspector of overzealousness in trying to encourage residents to attend programs and take medications that their doctors had order for them”. He further stated that the facility has one of the best inspection records of any adult facility in the State of New York.
Numerous residents of the facility disagree with Jeff Sherrin’s analysis. They claim they are bullied, harassed and tormented by the management of the facility
The Elder Care Lawyers at the Law Offices of Elliot S. Schlissel have been helping seniors with numerous issues for over two decades. The law firm had extensive experience with Medicaid, Medicaid planning techniques, drafting special needs trusts for special needs children, representing executors in the probating of wills, contesting wills and drafting wills and trusts. The firm also prepares guardianship documents for submissions under Article 81 under the New York Mental Hygiene Law. In addition the firm drafts revocable living trust and irrevocable trusts for their clients. Call us for a free consultation regarding all elder care and wills and trusts issues.
January 10th, 2012
End of life issues are difficult to face. Everyone that lives will eventually die. If you want to make your own choices as to how you’re cared for, should you become gravely ill, it is important that you have a Living Will. A Living Will is an advance directive that explains to your loved ones and your physicians what type of life prolonging medical treatments you want and don’t want if you become incapacitated, are placed on a resperator, or are unable to express your concerns due to illness or injuries.
Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk Counties) in the State of New York, is considered a “ high spending” medicare area of the country. Most individuals without health care proxies on Long Island will find themselves dying in a hospital. Individuals with Living Wills can choose to spend their final days in a hospice facility.
Hospice Facilities are designed to make patients facing end of life diseases comfortable by treating their pain and allowing their illnesses to run a natural course. Treatment in hospitals is organized around the theory of prolonging life. This can involve aggressive procedures even if the illness is considered by the treating physicians to be terminal. The treatment in hospitals for terminal illnesses can greatly reduce the quality of the individuals life. Sometimes the difference between hospice care and hospital care relates to the quality of the individual’s life while dealing with a terminal illness.
Lauren Hersh Nicholas is a health professor with the University of Michigan. She has conducted a study of involving living wills. She states there’s a benefit to the family of the patient. “Family members have a somewhat easier decision making process, because they have greater guidance.” The hospice treatment can eliminate pain and reduce medical procedures that are unlikely to work.
The Elder Law and Wills, Trusts and Estate lawyers at the Law Office of Elliot Schlissel have been helping their clients deal with end of life issues for more than 3 decades. The law firm drafts Wills, Trusts and Health Care Proxies, Powers of Attorney and Living Wills. They represent individuals involved in will contests. They explain to executors of wills their duties. In addition, they draft revocable living trust and irrevocable living trusts. The firm is also involved in assisting clients with nursing home issues as well as medicaid planning technigues. Call for a consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 and 718- 350-2802.
November 9th, 2011
Have Sufficient Assets and Cash Flow
You should not retire unless you have enough savings, pension, funds or 401K funds to support your lifestyle. Social Security alone will not be sufficient to fund your retirement goals. Social Security pays approximately $14,000 a year to retirees. This is simply not enough money to live on!
Be Active In Your Retirement
Researchers show that retirees who maintain an active lifestyle have a longer life expectancy. Exercise is important to seniors. Stimulating your body and your mind will keep you healthy, happy and extend your life.
Stay Close With Friends and Family Members
Don’t retire to your room. Have an outgoing social life and lifestyle. Stay in touch with the people you love and whose company you enjoy.
Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Studies indicate that approximately 14% of all Americans over the age of sixty-five suffer from some form of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. In the long run. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia negatively impact your brain, which in turn has a negative impact on your life and may land you in a nursing home. Medicare will not cover nursing home stays. Nursing homes can cost as much as ten to twelve-thousand dollars per month. To avoid the potential of an uncovered stay at a nursing home from impoverishing you, you should consult with an attorney who handles elder care work.
The Law Office of Elliot S. Schlissel provides elder care legal services to our clients. We draft wills and trusts. We probate wills. We deal with Medicaid planning issues. We assist our clients with nursing home issues. We provide all types of elder care legal representation. We also draft special needs trusts and supplemental needs trustsfor our clients. Should you need a will, trust or an elder care attorney, call us at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.
October 14th, 2011
Republican politicians have recently referred to Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme”. This is an absurd misrepresentation of a program that has helped keep many of America’s senior citizens out of poverty. Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, in a recent debate, stated “it is a Ponzi scheme to tell our kids that are 25 or 30 years old today, you’re paying into a program that’s going to be there. Anybody that’s for the status quo with Social Security today is involved with a monstrous lie to our kids, and that’s not right.” What’s not right is that Governor Rick Perry is clueless as to the nature and makeup of the Social Security system!
Governor Rick Perry
The Social Security Trust Fund will have a surplus that will reach it’s peak in the year 2022. At that time, the surplus in the fund will be 3.7 trillion dollars. Social Security is a program that has worked for more than 50 years. Politicians shouldn’t mess with a system that already works well.