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Running Out of Money in Retirement

retirement planning for seniorsRetirement 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.

Investment Scams

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.

assistance in elder care planningElliot 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.

Spousal Refusal And Medicaid Planning

elder care attorney medicaidIn 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.

elder care planning and medicaid

Retirement Planning for Single Americans

Who prepares better for retirement, married couples or single individuals? The answer is married couples. More than 85% of married couples have saving plans related to their retirement. This compares with only 67% of single individuals who have established retirement savings programs.

Retirement Planning

Americans who have worked during the course of their lives are entitled to receive Social Security benefits. Social Security is an entitlement program. Another entitlement program working Americans have the benefit of is medicare. Medicare is a program that pays for a variety of medical treatments for senior citizens. It pays for hospital stays, doctors visits and prescription drugs. Medicare is not designed to pay for nursing home care. If a senior is placed in a nursing home for rehabilitation purposes, Medicare will cover up to 100 days of the expenses of the nursing home facility. However, if a senior needs to go into a nursing home because he or she just can’t take care themselves, Medicare is not designed to pay this expense. Seniors can buy catastrophic health care insurance to cover this type of expense.

Retirement Savings Plan

There are various types of retirement savings programs. Some employers have pension plans for their employees. Another type of savings program through employment is called a 401K plan. This allows the wage earner to save without paying current income taxes for a portion of his or her income. Individual retirement accounts are yet another type of retirement savings program that provides tax benefits.

How Much Is Necessary To Save For Retirement

The amount of money an individual or family needs to put aside for retirement varies with the lifestyle and cost of living of the people involved. Most financial planners suggest that retired Americans will require between 75% and 80% of the income they had during their working lives for their retirement. This is a figure that is hard for most Americans to meet. Most families and singles reduce their expenditures and live simpler lives in retirement, thereby preserving their limited assets.

Elder Care Lawyer

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.

Borrowing Against Retirement Accounts

When Americans face financial stress they turn to their retirement accounts for liquid assets.  Pensions, 401K plans and 403B plans are where Americans are turning to for quick infusions of cash.

In this past year borrowing from retirement accounts hit new highs.  It is estimated that more than 15% of all individuals who have money in retirement accounts have borrowed from these accounts.  Are Americans borrowing to the point that they won’t have sufficient funds when they retire?  According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, more than a quarter of all retirement plans have outstanding loans against them.

The Effect of Borrowing From Retirement Accounts

Retirement accounts are designed to maximize compounded returns on your investments.  Financial advisers believes most people do not have the discipline to pay back the loans against their retirement accounts and are therefore discounting the funds available when they retire.  If you lose your job or change your employment, you will be unable to pay back the outstanding loan on your retirement account.  If you borrow money against your retirement account and pay a portion of it back and thereafter are fired or moved to a new job, the unpaid portion will be considered a taxable distribution and taxed at income tax rates. You can also be stuck paying a 10% penalty if you default on paying back the loan against your retirement account.

New York Estate Planning Lawyer

Everyone will eventually die.  The issue we face is we don’t know when this will take place.  From my point of view, the later the better! When you pass on you want to simplify the issues your loved ones will face on your estate.  The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo can help you achieve this goal.  We draft wills. We probate wills. We litigate contested will issues.  We can advise you regarding issues concerning estate taxes.

We draft revocable living trusts and irrevocable trusts.  We also draft special needs trusts for special needs children.  We can advise you concerning medicaid planning techniques and other medicaid issues. We litigate nursing home abuse cases.

We are estate planning, probate and elder care attorneys.  Call us for a free consultation regarding wills, trusts and estate matters

How will Raising the Medicare Age to 67 Affect You?

medicare-150x150With the exception of the government, everyone will pay more money for medical insurance and medical benefits if the medicare age is raised to 67. A number of years ago, the Social Security retirement age for individuals born in 1960 or later was raised to 67. At the time they raised the social security age, they left the medicare eligibility age at 65.

47 Million Americans Receiving Medicare Benefits

There are more than 47 million Americans receiving medicare benefits today. These benefits impact on seniors, as well as disabled individuals. Most experts believe the current medicare system is simply unsustainable given it’s current structure.

If medicare benefits are raised to age 67, seniors who are 65 and 66 will be paying for two more years for their health insurance. If they stay at work their employers will pay more for their health insurance. There are estimates that raising the medicare age to 67 by the year 2014 will cost employers over 14 billion dollars a year. Even young people buying medical insurance will pay higher premiums because some of their premiums will be subsidizing the older members on their medical plans.

President Obama’s Health Care Plan

Many of the assumptions about medicare assume President Obama’s health care plan will go into effect and not be modified by Congress or struck down by the courts. The costs of raising medicare eligibility to 467 may be high, but it is necessary! Americans are living longer. The program is now based on young Americans supporting older Americans that are receiving benefits. As the graying portion of our population increases, there will be too many seniors for the next generations to support. Raising medicare benefits to age 67 is a step in the right direction.

New York Will Contests Lawyers

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo has been assisting senior Americans regarding wills and trusts issuesfor more than thirty years. We draft wills and trusts. We probate wills. We litigate will contests. We draft special needs trusts for special needs children.

Elliot S. Schlissel is a member of The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He handles elder care planning related to Medicare, Medicaid and nursing home issues. Call us for a free consultation.

Easing Into Retirement

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When Is The Right Time to Retire?

It’s hard to say when it’s right time to retire; however, it is easy to say it is the wrong time to retire. You shouldn’t retire unless you have sufficient funds to carry you through your golden years. In the past, most people retired in their sixties. With declining savings and living costs going up, many Americans will have to wait till they’re in their seventies.

Retirement Suggestions

Instead of quitting your job, you may be able to negotiate reducing your working days or working hours. This will allow you to live without drawing on your savings. Downscale your life style. If you want to retire, you need to try to live more modestly. If your home is large, you can sell it and buy a smaller home or rent an apartment. You can move from an expensive state, such as those located in the Northeast, to cheaper, less expensive states in the South and Southwest.

You need to prioritize your needs. Instead of eating out once or twice a week, it is much less expensive to cook your meals and eat at home.

Forced Retirement

Losing your job or being downsized may force you into retirement. Employers may no longer want experienced employees in their fifties and sixties. This tends to raise the cost of their group health care and other group benefit packages. What do you do if you’re downsized and no one wants to hire you?You need to see a job counselor. You need to train yourself to work in another industry. Unfortunately, you also need to downsize your expectations as to what you’ll be earning.

Wills, Trusts and Estates Lawyers

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo has been assisting senior Americans regarding wills and trusts issues for more than thirty years. We draft wills and trusts. We probate wills. We litigate will contests. We draft special needs trusts for special needs children.

Elliot S. Schlissel is a member of The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He handles elder care planning related to Medicare, Medicaid and nursing home issues. Call us for a free consultation.

Fewer Family Practice Doctors

doc-150x150Fewer doctors in the United States are going into family practice. Solo medical practitioners involved in family practices are becoming scarcer. The American Academy of Family Physicians, in 1986, represented forty-four percent of the practicing doctors. As of 2008, only eighteen percent of practicing physicians are in family practice and that number continues to grow smaller.

In 2007, twenty-eight percent of the doctors in private practice described themselves as being self-employed. In 1970, almost sixty percent of all doctors were self-employed.

New Doctors Don’t Want Family Practices

Many of the doctors graduating medical school have no interest in small family practices. They seek better life styles, which involve shorter working days and weekends off. They want to avoid patient emergencies.

New Doctors Have to Deal With Debt Obligations

Many doctors going into medical practice today borrowed large sums to help pay for their medical school expenses. These young doctors are looking for steady pay checks that have no risk attached to them.

Will Patients Suffer?

There are benefits for patients who use larger medical practices. These larger practices can provide more preventive medical services. They have the financial ability to use technology to enhance their practice, which gives them greater capabilities.

Loss of the Personal Touch

Generations of Americans have had personal, confidential relationships with their physicians. Physicians were trusted individuals. Patients felt they had a personal relationship with them. Newer, larger medical groups may lack this personal touch. Doctors who are part of larger medical groups have the ability to pool their resources to provide more sophisticated, higher levels of medical care.

There are pluses and minuses involved in a demise of the local family sole practitioner. Although there is a loss of the personal relationship, the patient may end up with more sophisticated medical care!

New York Lawyers

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have more than 70 years of combined legal experience. We draft wills and trusts. We probate wills. We litigate will contests. We draft revocable living trusts and irrevocable trusts for our clients. Elliot S. Schlissel is a member of The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

We represent individuals with regard to issues concerning medicaidmedicaid planning techniques and developing special needs trusts for special needs children. We also deal with issues involving nursing home abuse. Feel free to call for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Retirement: What if You Haven’t Saved any Money?

retire-150x1503Retirement is supposed to be a time of relaxation and enjoyment for Americans. The current economic situation in the United States may require a re-thinking of retirement issues. A recent study has shown that one in four individuals approaching retirement have saved nothing for their retirement years! The Employee Benefit Research Institute recently revealed that nearly 50% of all individuals who are close to retirement, age 56 through 62, will run out of money if they are retired for twenty years or more.

Planning for Retirement

Planning for retirement is a complicated process. You never know how long you’re going to live! It is difficult to anticipate future medical expenses.

Retirement Facts

In the year 2011, the average individual receiving social security benefits will take in about $1,200 a month. Studies show you’ll need approximately eighty-percent of your pre- retirement income to maintain the same level of life style you maintained in your pre- retirement days. If you are nearing retirement, it is strongly suggested that you obtain literature and/or professional advice concerning retirement. Some retirement organizations offer community seminars. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has an enormous amount of information concerning what you can expect your expenses to be during the course of your retirement.

Are You In Debt

One of the first things that is recommended to individuals approaching retirement is to eliminate debt. The best way to do that is to review your expenses and take affirmative action to reduce these expenses. Examples of reducing expenses would be eating out in restaurants less often. You may have to change your life style and live a simpler, less expensive life.

Can You Downsize Your Home Expenses?

You may be able to sell your home and move into a smaller home. In some situations, you may be forced to sell your home and live in an apartment.

Don’t Retire!

Who says sixty-five years of age is the magic number to retire! People are living much longer today. Working into your early seventies may be the solution to your retirement issues. Another alternative is to simply not retire. I’m sixty-one years of age and I have no intentions of retiring anytime in the near future. I simply wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I retired. I anticipate I would be bored to tears!

Estate Planning Attorneys

Our law office has been handling estate planning matters for our clients for more than thirty years. We draft wills and trusts for our clients. We assist our clients in estate administration and probating wills. We deal with elder care matters involving nursing homes, nursing home abuse, medicaid, medicaid planning and medicaid planning techniques. We also assist our clients in developing special needs trusts for special needs children. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Medicaid and Legal Malpractice

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Governor Cuomo has set up a medicaid re-design team. On the team, there are a number of hospital administrators. These administrators have used this opportunity to press for capping malpractice payment for hospitals. Governor Cuomo has decided to go along with the hospital administrators’ request concerning capping malpractice payments in medical malpractice cases.

Malpractice Awards

Hospitals and physicians have complained about decisions in medical malpractice cases. They claim the awards have been too high. They also claim that they must now practice defensive medicine and perform unnecessary tests to protect themselves.

There has been a proposed cap for “non-economic damages.” This cap would be $250,000 for pain and suffering for each medical provider guilty of malpractice. In 2011, $250,000 is a grossly insufficient amount to pay to individuals who will have a diminished quality of life because of hospital or physician negligence.  Some of these individuals will be left blind, paraplegics, and completely unable to care for themselves.

blog2-150x150Reducing In-hospital Errors

The best way to deal with medical malpractice is not to penalize the injured parties by limiting their recovery. The more perfect solution is to reduce the number of errors and bad decisions made by medical providers.

CONCLUSION

A medical malpractice cap should not be part of the budget being submitted by Governor Cuomo. The better solution would be for medical providers to be more careful regarding the decisions they make concerning patients. Our law office represents individuals who have been in car & truck accidents. We aggressively litigate slip and fall and wrongful death cases. We deal with issues concerning no-fault insurance. We also litigate dog bite cases. Feel free to call us for a free consultation.

Dealing With Nursing Home Abuse of Senior Citizens

nursing-150x1501When you place a loved one in a nursing home, it is your hope that they are going to be cared for.  The nursing home is responsible for meeting their needs for food, shelter and medical care.  There has been a significant number of cases in recent years where nursing homes have not provided the high-level of care that is their obligation.  In some situations, the seniors have been physically abused.  Other cases involve the theft of money and valuables from seniors.

Common Signs of Elder Abuse

There are many types of elder abuse of seniors in nursing homes.  They can be verbally abused, physically abused and sexually abused.  They can be neglected to the point that it has a negative effect on their mental and physical health.

Seniors who rely on wheelchairs, crutches or walkers can be abused if these items are not made available.  They can then become captives in their rooms, subject to false imprisonment.  There have been instances that our office has been involved with where seniors valuables seem to develop feet and walk away on their own.  Usually another resident or staff member of the nursing home is involved in the theft of the senior’s possessions.

What to Look for Regarding Nursing Home Abuse

To start with, you should always have access to a loved one at a nursing home.  There is no reason why a staff member should prevent you from spending time with a loved one.

The following are signs of physical abuse: sudden weight loss, dehydration, bed sores, marks from restraints, broken bones and other injuries from falls as well as over- medication.  These are indications of sexual abuse: bleeding or bruises in the genital area or rectum, torn or bloodied garments or the contraction of sexually transmitted diseases.

Verbal abuse can involve seniors regressing.  This is when the senior enters an infant-like state, such as sucking their thumb or mumbling.  Seniors can show an excessive fear or apprehension around other people.  Visible depression or anger can also be related to verbal abuse.

What do you do if you believe a senior has been abused? The first thing you must do is try to obtain documentation or evidence of what actually happened.  If you find abuse has taken place, it is strongly suggested that you remove the individual from the facility.  You should thereafter notify the administrators of the facility and agencies regarding what transpired.  You should also hire an attorney and sue the facility.

There are several types of lawsuits that can be brought against nursing homes.  Lawsuits can be brought to deal with financial abuse, verbal abuse, false imprisonment, physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect.  Nursing homes must provide reasonable care to their residents.  Nursing homes are held to a very high standard of care.  The Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) of 1987 requires that nursing homes maintain a specific high level of care if they are receiving reimbursement from either Medicare or Medicaid.

nursing-home-150x1501Nursing Home Abuse Statute

The federal statute regulating nursing homes is called the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 (NHRA).  This statute has specific regulation requiring all nursing facilities in the United States that receive either Medicaid or Medicare to maintain facilities that are safe, clean and well-managed for the nursing home residents.  Federal regulations require that all nursing homes residents have a right to be free from verbal, physical, sexual or mental abuse.  The rules stated in the NHRA are contained in a pamphlet called the “Residents’ Rights“.  An overview on the National Citizens Coalition for Nursing Home Reforms website is www.NCCNHR.org.  This Federal statute allows the recovery of “compensatory damages”.  These damages are calculated at 25% of the daily per-patient statutory rate of payment which has been established for the facility.

Elder Care Lawyers

We sue nursing homes.  Our office sues nursing homes that fail to provide the required high-level of care to their residents.  We will deal with issues involving nursing home abuse.  We also assist our clients in contested wills and estate proceedings as well as the drafting of wills and trusts. We assist our clients if they have special needs children with drafting a special needs trusts and supplementary needs trust. Should you, a friend or loved one have a need for an elder care attorney, call us at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561- 6645 or 718-350-2802.

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