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The Right To Die

long island attorneyThere was a recent case in Long Island, New York concerning issues surrounding “the right to die.” Sungeon Grace Lee, age 28, decided her life was no longer worth living. She advised her doctors she wanted to end her life by cutting off the life support system keeping her alive. Her parents, who are deeply religious, vehemently opposed their daughter’s wishes

Tumor On Her Brain

Ms. Lee had a tumor on her brain stem. She had been suffering from seizures. During one of her seizures she was rushed to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York. The seizure left her paralyzed from the neck down. At that time, she was hooked up to a life support machine that allowed her to breathe.

Parent’s Sue To Keep Daughter Alive

Ms. Lee’s mother, Jin Ah Lee, and her father, Man Oh Lee, a Pastor of the Antioch Missionary church in Flushing, Queens, were both deeply religious people. They retained an attorney and obtained a restraining order preventing their daughter from ending her life. After protracted litigation, both the trial court and appellate court set aside the petition of Sungeon Lee’s parents. In their decision, the courts indicated that the daughter was competent to make her own medical decisions. However, in the end, Ms. Lee agreed to withdraw her request to be allowed to die and complied with her parents’ wishes.

Ms. Lee has been moved from North Shore University Hospital to her parents’ home where she is competently taken care of.

About The Author

elder care helpElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is an Elder Law Attorney with more than 35 years of legal experience. He represents individuals concerning Medicaid planning, wills, trusts and estate matters, end of life issues and estate planning matters.

The United Kingdom’s Discriminatory Royal Laws

The British government has recently accepted the fact that the laws in the United Kingdom concerning succession to the throne are discriminatory against women. Current rules for succession in Great Britain state that daughters are over looked in favor of later born sons. Prince William’s marriage to Kate Middleton has brought this issue before the public.

If Kate and William have a daughter and thereafter Kate gives birth to a son, the son would be the next in line for the English throne after William. The 701 Act of Settlements in Great Britain deals with succession laws. This law was fine for the men and women of the 18 century. The writer wonders whether it really is acceptable in the 21 century!

A statement by the British government recently was “the government accepts there are provisions which could be discriminatory” in referring the succession laws.

Succession Laws Bar Catholics

The anti Catholic succession laws are a throw back to the 1600’s. Catholic King James II was perceived as favoring Catholics and allowing them to come into positions of power. The Act of Settlement Law specifically states only Protestants are eligible to succeed, but it also specifically prevents Catholics from becoming King. This means you forfeit your right to the throne if you are in the line of succession and you marry a Catholic.

Keith Vaz, a British member of Parliament, recently stated “I think they’re all sitting down praying that Prince William and Kate Middleton have a son first, because if they do there is no need to consider this for some time to come” referring to the succession laws. Vaz also stated he found the 310 year old succession laws offensive. He has submitted a bill to Parliament to eliminate the discriminatory portion of these succession laws. A spokesperson from Buckingham Palace stated issues of succession are a matter for the government.

New York Will Contest Lawyers

Succession issues are similar to issues involving who will inherit your assets when you die.  A large majority of us don’t have to worry about whether our children will become princes and princesses, but we do have to take into consideration what happens to our assets, homes, cars and loved ones after we die. The best way to deal with these issues is to draft a will. Family members who are unhappy with wills, can contest the will. After someone dies a will is probated. This is the process where a court determines whether the will is valid.

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been dealing with wills, trusts and estate issues for more than 30 years. In addition to wills and estate related issues, we handle various elder care matters, including but not limited to nursing home abuse, medicaid planning techniques, medicaid issues, special needs trust for special needs children and all other elder care and estate planning issues. Call us for a free consultation.

Retirement Planning Mistakes

retire-150x1502

Americans do not save enough money during the course of their working years to have the retirement life experience  they have dreamed about. In a recent study by the Employment Benefit Research Institute, fifty-six percent of the workers interviewed stated that the total value of their household savings and investments, without including the equity in their residence, was less than $25,000. Twenty-nine percent of those interviewed had savings of less than $1,000. How are these people going to afford to retire?

Rethinking Retirement Issues

Many Americans look at retirement as a long term vacation. However, very few Americans can afford this long term vacation. Saving funds for retirement must be done over long periods of time to accumulate the type of capital necessary to stop working. The retirement age of sixty-five is  unrealistic for the majority of Americans currently in the work force. Sixty-five is no longer the magic retirement number. Matthew Tuttle, a certified financial planner with Tuttle Wells Management, stated, “with life expediencies increasing, playing golf and going to early bird dinners every day can get [old] after 35 years. Rethink what retirement means. It could be working fewer hours or changing jobs to something that you like more.” Americans will either have to work longer, until 70 or 72, or, after retiring, might have to obtain a part time job to supplement their income.

Medical Expenses

Individuals who are over sixty-five  years of age have more medical expenses as they grow older than when they were young and healthy. A Fidelity Investments study indicated that a sixty-five year old couple who retire in 2010 will need a quarter of a million dollars to pay medical expenses during the period of their retirement. This $250,000 does not include nursing home expenses. This study found that the average monthly expenditures for health care will amount to $535 a month.

Set Reasonable Priorities

Americans need to down grade their expectations of their standard of living in retirement. They need to save and accumulate larger amounts of assets to cover their longer life expectancies. They must think twice about purchasing very expensive luxury items instead of putting those funds away for future needs.

Wills and Trusts Lawyer

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo drafts wills. We handle estate administration and estate tax issues. We deal with issues concerning business succession. We also draft living wills and help our clients with end of life issues, supplemental needs trusts and special needs trusts. We prepare medicaid applications and handle medicaid issues for our clients. Feel free to call us for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Abuse of the Elderly for Financial Gain

elder-150x150In the year 2000, Howard Thomas suffered severe dementia. He also had terminal cancer. In early 2001, his daughter, who was his primary caretaker, took a short vacation. He was left in the care of a Nidia Thomas. While Mr. Thomas’s daughter was away, Nidia arranged for a $150,000 bank account in Mr. Thomas’s name to be retitled from his name to a joint account with her. She had herself named as sole beneficiary on his pension and she married him. He died several months thereafter.

Howard’s Children Challenge Nidia’s Inheritance

Howard’s three children brought a lawsuit in the Supreme Court in the State of New York to declare the marriage between their father and Nidia null and void. They also proceeded in the Probate Court against her. Ms. Thomas filed a Notice of Election under the estates, powers and trust law, section 5-1.1-A. She asserted her right as a surviving spouse to receive a portion of her deceased husband’s estate. In the Supreme Court proceeding, the court eventually issued a decision stating that Nidia “shall have no legal rights and claim no legal interest as a spouse of Mr. Thomas.” She filed an appeal claiming that, even if the marriage was annulled or voided post death, she is still entitled to receive her share of his estate as a spouse. In this case, an appellate court held that, because Mr. Thomas was incapable of consenting to the marriage due to lack of mental capacity, his spouse could be denied a right of election based on the equitable principal that a court will not permit a party to profit from his or her own wrongdoing. Nidia lost. She received no money from Mr. Thomas’s estate. It all went to his children.

Wills and Trusts Lawyer

Our law office probates wills. We represent individuals on contested wills and estate proceedings. We also draft wills. We provide estate administration services when

loved ones or friends die. We deal with estate tax issues, estate planning issues, and all types of elder care and nursing home issues. We prepare medicaid applications and we assist our clients in medicaid planning techniques. We draft revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts and special needs trusts on behalf of our clients. Call us should you have an issue concerning a will, a trust or an estate matter.

Baby Boomers Will Have Trouble Retiring

baby-150x150Baby Boomers are going to have difficulty retiring. Recent studies indicate that baby boomers will work four years more than earlier generations due to the economic problems they have faced in recent years. The years following retirement are referred to as the “golden years”. There may not be much gold left for the baby boomers!

Baby boomers are individuals who were born between 1946 and 1964. There are approximately 77 million baby boomers. This represents 37% of the nation’s population that are age sixteen or older.

Retirement – A Grim View

Baby boomers have supposedly been saving during the course of their lifetimes for their golden retirement years. Unfortunately their savings have been involved in stocks, bonds and real estate that has been devastated by the recent economic crisis in the United States. The past five to seven years have had a negative effect on the net worth of a large portion of the baby boomers who are expected to retire during the next five to seven years.

Even the baby boomers whose investments have not been effected by the recent economic down turn may be hesitant to retire due to concern over their financial future.

In a recent survey by certified public accountants shows that their clients who had assets between $500,000 and $5,000,000 were concerned about retiring and were prepared to work four or more years before retiring. If individuals with such substantial assets are nervous about retiring, the picture is even more bleak for baby boomers who do not have savings.

“Boomers have been scarred by the economic turmoil in the past two years and face complex challenges going forward” Clark M. Blackman III recently stated. Mr. Blackman is the chair of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Personal Financial Executive Committee. Baby boomers golden years may be less than golden!

Member of National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys

Elliot S. Schlissel is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. His law office probates wills, deals with contested wills and estates, drafts wills, and provides estate planning for their clients. They also draft revocable living trusts and irrevocable trusts for their clients. The law office provides all types of elder care legal services including dealing with issues of nursing home abuse, medicaid planning techniques and actually applying for medicaid for their clients. The law office also deals with children with special needs and the drafting of special needs trusts for these children. Call for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350- 2802. Link to Wills Website

The New Health Care Law – Affordable Care Act

healthThe Republicans in Congress are challenging the health care law passed in 2010 by President Obama and the Democratic controlled Congress. Question: How does the health care law affect you?

Americans between the ages of fifty and sixty-four will be significantly affected by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Unfortunately, due to the economic slowdown in the United States, more and more Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 have not been able to afford health insurance.

One Million Americans Lose Health Insurance

It is estimated that more than one million Americans between the ages of fifty and sixty-four lost their health insurance during the 2009 calendar year. Altogether, approximately ten million Americans between the ages of fifty and sixty-four no longer have health insurance. As long as unemployment remains high, the number of Americans in this age group without health insurance will continue to rise. Americans between the ages of fifty and sixty-four often have health problems that cannot be addressed without health insurance. Recent bankruptcy filings indicate that more and more Americans are being forced into bankruptcy because of spiraling health care bills that they cannot afford to pay.

More Americans Given Healthcare Coverage

When the Affordable Care Act comes into effect in the year 2014, approximately seven million Americans who currently don’t have health insurance will obtain subsidized health insurance. Starting in the year of 2014, the Affordable Care Act will expand eligibility requirements under Medicaid to cover adults who have incomes below 133% of the Federal poverty level. The Federal Government will have to provide significant cash payments to the states to meet demands for this increased medical insurance.

Starting in the year 2014, insurance companies will no longer have the ability to reject individuals with preexisting medical conditions or to charge individuals who currently are suffering from illnesses higher premiums for medical insurance.

There are a number of court challenges to the Affordable Health Care Law. Several Federal Judges have set aside the law for various reasons. It will be interesting to see how the Appellate Federal Courts deal with this issue.

New York Wills Lawyers

At the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo, we have five attorneys who assist our clients in Wills, Trusts and Estate matters. Our office has been providing our clients with valuable assistance regarding issues concerning probating of Wills, drafting of Wills, Estate Taxes, Estate Planning, Will Contests and Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts for more than three decades.

Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He provides his clients with detailed Elder Care legal services involving Medicaid planning, nursing home issues, special needs trusts and issues involving special children. If you have a probate, Wills, Trusts and Estates or Elder Care matter, we are the law firm that can help you. Call us at 1-800-344-6431; 516-561-6645 and 718-350-2802.

Medicare: How Do We Reform This Program?

meds1-150x150Cutting Doctor Reimbursements

Congress is considering a 23% reduction in the reimbursement to physicians who render medical treatment to Medicare patients. Will doctors accept this type of reduction?
There is concern that the doctors will simply refuse to treat Medicare patients if they are not paid a reasonable fee. This will force Medicare patients to try to find new doctors to treat them.

Slowing Health Care Inflationary Expenses

The best way to stop the inflationary increases of government health care programs is to reduce the rising cost of health care. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 was designed to reduce Medicare expenses; however, it has not worked. This statute attempted to reduce spending for physician services. It did not take into consideration the growth in volume and complexity of services provided by physicians. It also did not change the “fee for service system”. This system provides greater incentive for doctors to do more procedures for their patients. The statute didn’t determine which procedures will most effectively cut costs!
Reforming Medicare
The best way to reform Medicare is to establish cost control measures utilizing less-expensive alternative medical care procedures. Medicare must be redesigned to move towards a system that rewards medical providers for the quality of the care that is provided, not the quantity that is provided. Medicare costs are a hot political potato. They need to be dealt with. The continuing spiraling costs of Medicare will eventually bankrupt the system. Medicare must be saved!

Elder Care Lawyers

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo 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 trusts for 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.

Caring for Senior Citizens From Long Distance

elder12-150x150When we were born, our parents cared for us. Are we up to the task of taking care of our parents when they grow old? This is especially difficult when you don’t live near your parents.

Siblings Nearby

Some people are lucky, in that a brother or sister lives near their parents. While the sibling becomes the primary caretaker, it is still important that you contribute to the taking care of elderly parents. You should contact the sibling that lives nearby and find out what you can do to help him or her. You may be able to deal with medical issues involving your parents’ principal medical providers. You also may be able to visit periodically and relieve your siblings.

Making Your Parents’ Home Safe

When you visit your parents, you should take a good look at their home. If your parents are unsteady on their feet or use a walker, you may want to go room by room and see what modifications to your parents’ home are necessary. For example, do the bathrooms have safety bars? Are there places in your parents’ home where they may slip and fall?

You should also look into the accessibility of various parts of your parents’ home. Are there problems with doors, cabinets or wall switches?

Are arrangements for Your Parents Acceptable?

Can your parents take care of themselves? Do they need help during the day? Do they need help with their bathroom and toilet needs? Do your parents need help going to the doctorelder-150x1503‘s office? Think about these issues and if your parents need help. Devise a plan to deal with each of these problems.

Can Your Parents Take Care of Themselves?

Can your parents deal with their own medical needs? Are they taking the right medications? Do they need help filling their medication prescriptions? Can they read the right dosage necessary on their prescriptions? Is their home clean? Do they need cleaning help or a health care aid?

Are they paying their bills? You should check to see that their credit card, electric, oil, mortgage or other bills are paid. You don’t want to end up having your parents in a situation where they are sitting in the dark because they forgot to pay their electric bill.

Can your parents deal with their food needs? Can they go to the grocery store and shop for themselves? Can they still cook? If they cannot meet these needs, you should look into hiring someone to assist them with the purchase of groceries and the preparation of meals.

At what point and time should your parents stop driving? Is their eyesight adequate to see what’s happening on the road? Are their hands shaking to the point that they can’t handle the steering wheel? Are they a menace to themselves and other drivers on the road?

Your parents’ mental state is also important. Do they have friends? Do they have social interaction with their peers? Is there a support system where your parents live? Growing old in America is difficult. It is your duty as a child, niece, nephew or friend of a loved one to help them.

Elder Law Attorneys

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been handling Elder Law matters for their clients for more than thirty-three years. The firm represents its clients with regard to issues involving nursing homes. We help clients do estate planning and Medicaid planning, so in the event they need to go into a nursing home, their home won’t be taken to pay the nursing home bill. We prepare special needs trusts for children and irrevocable trusts to protect homes. We draft wills and trusts for clients. In the event clients die, we help probate the wills and trusts. Feel free to call the Elder Care Attorneys at The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo for a consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Why Create An Irrevocable Trust?

make_money_online_blogging-150x150Irrevocable trusts cannot be changed. They are permanent trusts.

Asset Protection: When you place your assets in irrevocable trust, you remove ownership and control of those assets from the creator of the trust. These types of trusts are used for Medicaid planning purposes. It should be noted that there is a five year look-back period for medicaid eligibility. The assets placed in these trusts cannot be reached by creditors of the individual who made the trust. One type of irrevocable trust is called a self-settled irrevocable trust.

Life Insurance: Another type of irrevocable trust is called an irrevocable life insurance trust. If you purchase life insurance and transfer the policy into an irrevocable life insurance trust, the proceeds of the life insurance pass outside of your estate. They therefore are not taxed as part of your estate.

Tax Purposes: You can also create an “AB trust” for the benefit of your surviving spouse. This type of trust allows you to use the spouse’s exemption from estate taxes by funding the “B” trust with assets valued at or below the federal estate tax exemption rate, in the event the value of the deceased spouses estate assets is greater than the estate tax exemption at the existence of time of death. The “A” trust would be funded for the benefit of the surviving spouse. Estate taxes in this situation are deferred until after the surviving spouse dies.

Should you have questions regarding irrevocable trust contact the trust attorneys at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo by email or at 1-800-344-6431.

Nursing Home Expenses & Medicaid

nursing-homeAmerica has a healthcare crisis. President Obama is now battling with Congress to deal with long term issues involving healthcare.

An area of healthcare that is very often overlooked deals with what happens to Americans when they can’t care for themselves.

The best way to maintain a senior is to keep them in their home under circumstances that they are comfortable with. Seniors live longer when they can stay in their home. If they need help beyond what relatives and friends can provide, home healthcare aides can assist them. As individuals age, sometimes their needs exceed those what can be provided for them in their home.

The needs of seniors are often met by assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Assisted living facilities are generally speaking private pay living arrangements. Seniors who do not have problematic medical needs and have the financial ability to sometimes choose to live in these facilities. The cost of assisted living facilities can be anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000 per month in the metropolitan New York area.

Seniors who have greater medical needs often go to rehabilitation facilities or nursing homes. Nursing homes can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000 per month depending on the level of service the senior needs. How does a middle class person go to a nursing home without all of his assets utilized to pay for his or her care?

There is a program that under certain circumstances pay for long term rehabilitation and/or nursing home stays. This program is called Medicaid. The rules and circumstances involving Medicaid are complex and detailed. The most important rule for the public to understand is that there is a 5 year look back concerning the transfer of assets.

If you have assets and you wish to protect them for future generations, it is important that you see an attorney that handles estate work. Planning can be done to insure that if you do end up in a nursing home, all of your assets including your home, stocks, bonds, pensions, 401(k) and savings won’t be utilized to pay for long term nursing care. You cannot wait until you are very elderly and sick to use this type of estate planning. It must be done a minimum of 5 years prior to the need for nursing home or rehabilitation care.

Should you have questions, contact the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo. We can provide you with further information concerning Medicaid and estate planning. Contact us at 1-800-344-6431 or email us at schlissel.law@att.net.

Picture courtesy of levinperconti.

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