Category Archives: Insurance

Purchasing A New Life Insurance Policy – Two important questions

By Senior Law Clerk, Steve Wright

Shopping for a new life insurance policy can be daunting with all of the options available. Not only do different rules apply to each policy, but the premiums that you will have to pay will vary depending on a multitude of factors. Choosing the wrong policy could have negative financial consequences, so knowing what you need out of a life insurance policy can mean the difference between purchasing the correct policy for you and your family or shelling out large amounts of cash for premiums on a policy that may expire or provide inadequate benefits for those you leave behind.

With that in mind, there are some important things to consider and keep in mind before you purchase a life insurance policy?

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 11.33.21 AMThe first thing you need to know before you purchase a policy is how much coverage you actually need. This will allow you to ensure that when you talk to an insurance agent, you will be able to have the agent show you the correct range of products that will suit your need. Knowing the amount of coverage you require will depend on what stage of life you are in when you purchase the policy. For example, if you are retired with no kids left at home that are under 18 or that depend on your income for support, then the amount of coverage that you will need should be less then a person that is still working age with minor children. However, do not overlook the need to support your surviving spouse which may cost more with age.

Second, you should know how long you want your policy to be in force. Are you seeking a whole life policy that will be in force for your entire life? On the other hand, do you only need more coverage for a limited period of time, such as when you have mortgage payments and small children who might need that support if something happens to you?

Knowing these two important questions will allow you to find not only the policy that fits your needs, but also a premium that is affordable so that your policy does not lapse causing you to loose valuable cash assets. Of course, you should approach the life insurance question as part of a comprehensive estate plan. An experienced elder law attorney can help you answer these questions in the context of your overall life plan.

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DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.
The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement. If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.

September Designated Life Insurance Awareness Month

By Roy Whited

Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 2.08.08 PMTaken in part from a news release from the Ohio Department of Insurance on September 3, 2013.

Governor Kasich and Lieutenant Governor Taylor encourage Ohioans to consider life insurance to protect family and loved ones. In this news release Governor Kasich and Lieutenant Governor and Insurance Director Mary Taylor are reminding Ohioans about the importance of taking steps to financially protect their loved ones if an unfortunate life event were to occur. They have designated September life insurance month in Ohio through a resolution. The release points out the importance of life insurance life-stage considerations. Including, young singles, young families, established families, seniors, single parents, military and raising grandchildren.

For Seniors, the release says. “Now is a good time to re-evaluate your life insurance to determine whether you still need as much coverage when you had a younger family and larger mortgage principle. If you are covered through your job and are planning to retire soon, inquire about converting it to an individual policy.”

For those raising grandchildren: It is generally not a good idea to leave a life insurance benefit directly to a minor child. Make sure the policy names a contingent beneficiary or a trustee who will act as a beneficiary on behalf of the child. Otherwise the life insurance benefit may not be accessible to the child until the issue is processed through court. You may want to set up a family trust with your selected trustee in charge.

The advice to seniors to re-evaluate their life insurance needs and the advise to those raising grandchildren is certainly good advice. However, why not take it one step further and have the insurance owned by a trust that can protect the insurance benefits and the cash value of the insurance from being lost to a long term nursing home stay.

Most people that I talk to are not aware that their cash value and death benefits can be lost to a nursing home spend down. Call Cooper, Adel & Associates today to schedule a free one hour consultation to learn how to use a trust to protect these benefits from being lost. 1-800-798-5297.

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DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person’s situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.

The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement.
If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.

 

Navigating the Life Insurance Offers

 

By Tonya Smith

 

Each month, utilities companies pack their envelopes with “Valuable Offers” and I always throw these away without giving any thought to what these offers are.  Today was different; I took the time to glance at each of these offers and discovered the following:  

 

Why would anyone pass this offer up? Is there a catch? After the initial $1.00 purchase, it appears the monthly rate is $3.49 for Adults. Still doesn’t seem like an unreasonable offer does it? Wanting to know more, I googgled the company. They have been in business since 1951. Globe Life is rated A.M Best Company and awarded Globe Life an A+ based on their latest analysis of financial strength, management skills and integrity. I went to the website they provided with the mailing, clicking on the “more information” and “sample policy” tabs, I was eventually directed to Contact Customer Service where I could submit my name, address and contact information. I could have just signed up for another mailing list but I halted!

Fortunately, here at the Financial offices of Cooper and Adel Financial Agency, we have a team of experts that can help you navigate these offers and explain in detail exactly what these offers may or may not provide for you. A high percentage of time, these offers will not supply you with the necessary coverage and insurance you want to leave your family. Please feel free to contact our offices to discuss your needs and any new policies you are contemplating. And rest assured, we will not sell your name to a mailing list company, nor flood your mailbox with useless information. 

Check Your Insurance Coverage and Other Things

 

By Roy Whited

 

In a recent press release the Ohio Lieutenant Governor and the Department of Insurance Director ,Mary Taylor, are encouraging Ohioans to check insurance coverage and policies related to winter weather.  Taylor reminded Ohioans the winterizing homes and cars will likely save time and money.

 

Taylor stated “It is important for all of us to check our vehicles and property for winter.”  She encourages everyone to review their insurance policies.  To better understand coverage options and the claims process, contact the Ohio Department of Insurance, Consumer Services Division.  

 

Director Taylor suggests Ohioans review insurance policies and communicate with their insurance agents.  Ohio Department of Insurance representatives are available to answer questions and explain the claims process by calling toll free 1-800-686-1526.  For more detailed list of tips check out www.insurance.ohio.gov 

 

Now, while you are in the mood to check on things, why not take time to check on what plans you have made to protect and preserve your assets.

  • Check your health care Powers of Attorney to make sure they are HIPAA friendly.
  • Check your business or general Power of Attorney to make sure it is adequate.
  • Check with other family members or close friends to make sure someone knows if you have a Living Will.
  • Check to see if your home and other assets can be protected from the cost related to a long term stay in a nursing home, assisted living facility or home health care.

Call our office today to schedule a time for a review. 1-800-798-5297.

NOVEMBER IS LONG TERM CARE AWARENESS MONTH!

By Roy Whited

Start the conversation with your spouse, parents or family today!

November is long-term care awareness month.  If you haven’t started the conversation with your spouse or your family about the importance of proactive planning and how it can protect your assets and their family’s well being, November can be the perfect time.

Transferring this risk to an insurance carrier and protecting your assets from the devastating cost of long term care can make good economic sense.  For more information about what choices are available for you as a consumer you can visit the website of the State of Insurance Department or you can just call our office at 1-800-798-5297 to schedule a free consultation.

For those of you who can’t afford the cost of long term care insurance or can’t qualify for the insurance you should learn about what other planning options are available to help protect your money and your home.  Call 1-800-798-5297 for a free consultation with one of the Elder Law Attorneys of the Cooper & Adel Law firm.

 

What is the risk?  What are the odds?

  • Odds of having a serious car accident. 3 in 900, less than 1%
  • Odds of having as residential fire. 7 in 900, less than 1%
  • Odds of being admitted to a critical care unit. 21 in 900, less than 3%
  • Odds of needing long-term care. 630 in 900, approximately 70%

Odds are calculated using statistics from public sources that are deemed to be reliable.  For more information on the sources you can call our office 1-800-798-5297.

(Taken in part from Westland Financial Inc.)

 

A free coffee for your thoughts about senior care services

By Kathy Cooper

I don’t know about you, but when I plan to buy something new, like a TV or a blender, the very first thing I do is check the reviews on Amazon.com.  If a reviewer is either very positive or very critical of the product, I take their review into account.  If there are too many negative reviews, then I will probably not buy that product.  Further, a lot of positive reviews are often more important to me than saving a few dollars.  I also try to endorse products on Amazon.com that I like and you can be sure that I give my $.02 if I don’t.

Now you have the opportunity, according to Elderlaw Answers, to tell about your experiences and give your review about healthcare service providers … and get a free Starbucks coffee as part of the bargain.  You have to have some hands-on experience and you have to sign up on the site, but it’s free.  Here’s the link:  http://www.caring.com/review_submissions/giftcard?utm_source=aaron

Will this make a difference in the overall scheme of healthcare providers and what they do day to day?  It looks like this website is just getting started, but I hope so.  I hope this is only the beginning of senior websites that give you the opportunity to make a difference with your reviews.  If you know others, please add them in our comments.

After all, these reviews can help us all get our ducks in a row!

 

Life Insurance… Do you have enough coverage??? Time for an Audit.

By Megail Gaumer

When it comes down to it, who really knows whether or not you have the right insurance? Unless you yourself are an insurance agent the truth is probably very few of us.

How much coverage do you need?  Depending on your life style and health when you first purchased your policy, do you have enough coverage now?  Do you have too much?

At the stage in your life, would the premium you are paying be better put to use elsewhere?  Perhaps long-term care insurance, possibly borrowing from your life insurance policy to pay for your long-term care policy while allowing you to keep the death benefit offered by your life insurance too.

The latest life expectancy tables (2006) may tell you that you could purchase more life insurance for less premium, or lower your premium but keep the same amount of coverage.

Is your policy a “self-eating watermelon”?  Will your rate of return on your policy eventually not be enough to pay your premium?

How sound is the company you’re insured through?  The financial stability of your insurance company should be looked at every few years.

An insurance audit will reveal potential problems as outlined above, If you would like to speak with someone about reviewing your current policies please contact us at 1-800-798-5297.

Planning Alternatives for Long-Term Care and Veterans Benefits

By Attorney Mitch Adel

In a recent story in the Columbus Dispatch it was reported that while most believed that one of the causes of budget problems in Ohio was a result of the state paying nursing homes under the Medicaid programs, it was actually shown that the cost of the state pays for nursing home care has not increased since 2004.  While the actual cost of a nursing home has increased since that time, the State acknowledged paying less for that service as an increasing number of people are seeking alternatives for their long term care, like assisted living or at home care.  After discussing the issue with some of the clients of the Cooper law firm, they said they preferred planning for those alternatives to nursing homes, but understood the need for those services and reasons for protecting their assets.

One of the most preferred alternatives to nursing homes with our clients is caring for their family members in their own homes.  While, the state of Ohio does have programs for at home care, unfortunately the amount of care they provide is very modest, in most cases those programs include a maximum of 20 hours a week.  Fortunately for a good percentage of our clients that are Veterans or widows of veterans we have found that the the VA Aid and Attendance Pension benefit is a much better fit.  Married veterans that qualify can receive $1,949 a month to be used to pay for medical expenses including bringing caregivers into the home.  (A single veteran is eligible for $1,644 a month and the widow of a veteran is eligible for $1,056 a month)

One of the best fits for this benefit and at home care that we frequently use involves parents hiring their children to care for them.  Families can obviously hire outside professionals to care for their loved ones at home, but, parents can also pay their children to care for them at home with monies received from the VA.  I urge that if you do use this technique as your medical expense in the qualification of benefits you follow the appropriate formalities.  Failure to do so might result in the VA demanding an overpayment.  I have unfortunately had to represent families in dealing with the VA where the family could not prove the actual arrangement and as a result owed a back payment to the VA of thousands of dollars.

A few easy steps to ensure you are not involved in those VA demands is to make sure that you have a legally binding contract of care, even if signed between family members and making sure that you can prove that payments under such agreement have actually been made.  Looking at these steps individually:

  • Personal Care Agreement- The risk of not having a legally binding contract of care agreement is magnified in the event that the person receiving the care at home eventually needs other state benefits including Medicaid.  If there was no agreement in place that could be proven to the state, the monthly payment amounts would be viewed as gifts or transfers in return for no value and could preclude qualification for state Medicaid benefits.
  • Payments under a Personal Care Agreement- Being able to prove payments were made means that the person receiving the care, must be prepared to be able to show the VA cancelled checks to the caregiver and alternatively the caregiver must be prepared to show that they received the income and that they are filing this income with their annual income taxes.

If you are interested in alternative planning options to nursing homes or veterans benefits, please get in to see one of our qualified staff members as soon as possible.

Can’t keep up with Long Term Care Insurance Premiums?

By Robin Crouch

Long term care insurance helps provide for the cost of care for individuals that are no longer able to perform basic daily activities such as dressing, bathing, eating, toileting, walking, or getting in and out of bed.

Coverage costs can be expensive and the rates increase with age.  A 55 year old couple buying three years of $150/day coverage that adjusts with inflation could pay $2800 per year today but could pay as much as $4150 per year by the age of 85, a thirty year investment of approximately $103,500 that would provide benefits of $219,000.  You are purchasing a pool of money to be used at a later date that you may never need.  But considering the potential costs of long-term care, it may be money well spent.

I know a woman in her 90s who purchased long term care insurance twenty-five years ago as part of her estate plan.  She  was very secure with the knowledge that she would be able to pay her own way, and gloated about it to her friends all the time.  As part of her estate plan, with a local attorney who is not an Elder Law Attorney, she began gifting $10,000 per year to each of her five children, outright.  Did I mention twenty-five years?

I spoke to her recently and she said that her premiums had increased so much that she could no longer afford the long-term care policy and quit paying it, she no longer has the means pay for an extended nursing home stay, and the five children still want theirs.  She has become very bitter over the entire matter, I didn’t have the heart to suggest that she should have consulted an Elder Law Specialist.

If you already own a long-term policy you may want to review your options.  Statistics show that only 8% of those with three years of coverage exhaust their benefits. switching from an unlimited policy to a three-year benefit saves as much as 39%,  spouses can save as much as 40% when both purchase coverage.  Adding a nonforfeiture clause could ensure continuing long-term coverage even when you stop paying the premiums.

If you already have a policy and are worried about keeping up with the payments, there are other options available to you. Give us a call or consult with an elder law specialist in your area.

If you think Long Term Care is expensive in Ohio…

by Attorney Thom L. Cooper

The monthly average cost a long term care stay in Ohio is $6,023 per month according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.  That works out to $72,276 per year.  However if you want to see where we might be headed, let’s look at the cost of some of our trend setting states nearby.  According to a recent Genworth Financial Survey.  A semi-private room will set you back $100,923 in New Jersey,   $110,980 in New York, and $126,108 in Connecticut.  Want a private room, add about 10 percent.  And…if you think that is high,  Alaska, may be a nice place to visit but don’t have a medical emergency there and go into a nursing home since a semi-private room there will deplete your savings at the rate of $218,453 per year!

  • How much is your home worth?
  • How long to go through it with a long term care stay?
  • Who can afford this?

And…to make it worse.  If you go into a nursing home, or receive in home medical benefits,  in Ohio and the State helps pay the bill they will put a liens on your home for these costs.  It is no wonder that people are desperately worried about this problem.

There are things that can be done to protect your home…but you must act now since there are time limits which must run to fully protect your home.   But….these time limits don’t start until you act!!

For help…

Contact us, or contact someone else….

…but please act now.

Your home and assets are at stake.

For a copy of the Genworth study see:

http://www.genworth.com/content/products/long_term_care/long_term_care/cost_of_care.html



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