Issue One of the Domestic Estate Planning Series by Melissa Reynard
Ok, so some of you may be wondering how on earth frosting a bunch of cupcakes is anything at all like Estate Planning. And some of you would be right, there are some differences, but there are a lot of similarities as well.
Estate Planning, like Baking, involves multiple ingredients, no person’s “recipe” is the same, and it’s often wise to refer to your cookbook…..er……I mean Elder Law Specialist when attempting anything complicated or for that matter easy. After all, have you ever put that wonderful looking cake batter in the oven, only to have it fall as soon as it comes out? Do you lament the wide cracks that appear in your bread? These issues are small when faced with the perils of not planning your estate and throwing “ingredients” every which way, hoping for the best.
So let’s talk about ingredients. When most people think of estate planning, they think of a will, maybe a trust, and not a whole lot else. Sure, there are wills, and trusts, but you should also plan for other things, like Healthcare decisions and Powers of Attorney. How could a catastrophic illness like a stroke play into your plan? Your bank accounts, IRA’s, Insurance, and other policies likewise all have a place in your estate planning.
Each person is going to need different things from their estate planning as well. There is no one size fits all to these types of things. Some may have property and farmland they want to consider while other people live in an apartment but have invested heavily their whole lives. Incomes are different, assets are different; and as you well know, that recipe for the brownies you got at that party, tastes nothing like your last batch of brownies you made from another recipe.
So who’s to help you with your estate planning? An Elder Law Specialist. Just like a baker has their trusty cookbook, an Elder Law Specialist specializes in just that, estate planning! They can help you develop a will or trust, advise on important documents, and give ideas for your financial accounts. The offices of Cooper, Adel and Associates offer seminars to give you a better idea on what we can do for you, and while it may not be as fun as a cooking class, it’s definitely just as informative.
Onion Dill Bread
1 Cup Cottage Cheese
1/4 Cup Water
1 TBSP Butter
2 1/2- 2 3/4 cups flour, divided
1 Envelope or TBSP Active Dry Yeast
2 TBSP Sugar
3 TBSP Dried Onion Flakes
3 TSP Dill (more if fresh)
1 TSP Salt
1/4 TSP Baking Soda
1 Egg, Beaten
Mix cottage cheese and water in a small saucepan. Add butter, and heat on medium until mixture reaches 125*. In separate bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of flour, yeast, sugar, dill, onion, salt and baking soda and mix. Add in the warmed cottage cheese mixture and egg and mix well. Add 1 cup of the remaining flour.
Work the dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic and add the remaining flour if needed. Cover and let rest for 15 min. Shape into a ball and place on an oiled baking tray and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until the dough has doubled. Uncover and bake for 45 minutes in a 350* oven. If you prefer a normal shaped loaf, this mixture can be prepared in a bread pan as well. Simply let rise in the bread pan and bake at same temperature.
By Kathy Cooper
We have a few long time bikers on our staff and one of them made a point last week of letting us know that we drivers need to be on the lookout for our motorcyclists. May is Motorcycle Awareness Month.
Here is a picture I took last year near the A.D. Farrow Company Harley-Davidson Store in Sunbury, Ohio with a group of bikers “blasting down the highway”.
You may wonder what this has to do with elder law. I loved this quote from a blog entitled Motorcycle Mania:
“Why are more and more seniors cranking up Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild," strapping on leathers, and climbing onto hogs on steroids before blasting down highways and byways? Because they can!” Senior Living Magazine – Motorcycle Mania
The connection is this: If you are a senior you need a plan in place, just in case. If you are a senior biker, you really need a plan in place. It's dangerous! Without a plan, you are placing yourself and your family at risk. Think about this. If something happens …
You may have heard this before: “What do you call a biker who doesn't wear a helmet? An organ donor.” Pre-planning is much like that helmet: it protects you … just in case something happens. While you're tuning up your bike for your next Poker Run, call for a free consultation to make sure you have your ducks in a row before you head out for a ride. In keeping with the spirit of Motorcycle Awareness Month, we drivers will do our best to be on the lookout for you!
Ohio Department of Insurance Program to Hold “Welcome to Medicare” Educational Events Statewide
COLUMBUS: The Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIP), the state's official source for free and unbiased Medicare information and counseling, will hole “Welcome to Medicare” events in 15 counties from April 11th to July 25 to help new and soon-to-be beneficiaries understand the basics of Medicare, Lieutenant Governor and Department of Insurance Director Mary Taylor announced.
“Our staff is visiting every region of the state to personally help Ohioans new to Medicare understand how their new health insurance will work,” Taylor said of OSHIP, a program of the Ohio Department of Insurance. “Transitioning into Medicare can sometimes be a complicated change and we want to help put Ohioans at ease by addressing any questions or concerns they may have.”
At the “Welcome to Medicare” events, people can also learn the benefits Medicare provides and important deadlines they have to meet. Information will also be shared about Medicare Advantage plans, prescription drug coverage and supplemental health insurance coverage.
For those interested in a computer-generated Part-D comparison report, please bring your prescription drug information to include name, dosage, frequency and preferred pharmacy to the event. There will also be information about financial assistance programs which help pay for Medicare's Part B premium ($99.90 per month in 2012) and out-of-pocket expenses associate with prescription drug costs.
Here is a complete list of “Welcome to Medicare” events, which start at 6 p.m. Unless otherwise noted:
For more information about these events and Medicare, call OSHIIP at 1-800-686-1578. And be sure to visit www.insurance.ohio.gov or follow the Department on twitter @ OHInsurance and on Facebook www.facebook.com/OhioDepartmentofinsurance for more information.
Remember, while Medicare covers a lot of health care expenses it does not cover much of the cost related to long term nursing home stays. In fact it only covers skilled care for a limited number of days and pays nothing for custodial care. The average cost of a nursing home in Ohio is over $6,000 a month and can wipe out the life savings of many seniors. Why not contact the professionals at Cooper,Adel, and Associated, A Legal Profession to learn now planning today can protect your assets tomorrow. Call 1-800-798-5297 to schedule a free 1 hour consultation.
By Steve Wright
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a disease that affects the nervous system, and has grim results for those who contract the disease. While the disease has been around since the 1800's, there is still much unknown about the disease even today in a world with much more scientific advancements in research and medicine. The experts do not know what causes the disease for certain, but some signs point to genetics and other environmental factors.
However, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recognizes ALS as a presumptive condition for service connected claims. This means that if you were a veteran and you develop ALS, the VA assumes that it was caused as a result of your service, even if you never served in a combat zone. This means the VA will likely provide compensation for you, and more importantly for a surviving spouse who has lost her veteran husband as a result of his death resulting from ALS. As mentioned above, know one knows for sure what causes ALS, however, it has been shown that the veteran community is twice as likely to develop ALS than the average American. It is for this reason that the VA presumes the development of this disease is service connected.
If you know a veteran or a surviving spouse of a veteran who has developed ALS or died as a result of ALS, urge them to seek professional help immediately so that they can learn about the potential benefits the VA offers to compensate veterans and family of veterans who have contracted this horrible disease.
Also, if you know someone, or you yourself have already made a claim with the VA and have been denied, you may still have an opportunity to appeal the adverse decision. A VA accredited attorney can help advise you of your options as well as help you pursue your claim should you choose to do so. Cooper, Adel & Associates employees several attorneys who are VA accredited and are interested in helping you pursue a claim with the VA.
By Attorney Keith Stevens
If you've been to the website of a particular major nursing home chain in Ohio and Michigan, you may have seen this pronouncement:
You may have to look closely at what this says. I read it as a not-so-veiled threat to not do asset planning for Medicaid. It's true, some transfers are illegal.
But don't be fooled – Medicaid planning is not illegal if it is done properly. It's that “properly” requirement that some people get caught up on or in trouble for. The Ohio Supreme Court recently recognized the validity of Medicaid planning, but said that it should be left up to attorneys who specialize in the field.
“Medicaid planning, which consists of arranging assets and income to meet Medicaid eligibility requirements, is outside the scope of the non-attorney assistance permitted by federal law. State regulation of Medicaid planning is therefore not preempted by federal law. In many cases, Medicaid planning involves estate work and legal expertise. Accordingly, the board further concludes that the establishment of a Medicaid planning strategy for another by a non-attorney constitutes the unauthorized practice of law.”
Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law of the Supreme Court of Ohio, Advisory Opinion UPL 11-01, issued October 7, 2011
There's still a world of legal possibilities out there to help preserve your wealth for your children, your spouse, or even yourself. At Cooper, Adel & Associates we help people legally protect assets against a spend-down or estate recovery. If you or a loved one may be heading into a nursing home, contact our offices at 1-800-798-5297 to find out how we can help preserve assets.
By Michelle Mason
The PASSPORT program started in 1987 to prevent unnecessary nursing home placement. PASSPORT is provided by the State of Ohio through the Council on Aging.
Since 1974, the Council on Aging has been helping older adults, as mandated by the State of Ohio. They have a variety of programs available to help. One of these programs is PASSPORT. PASSPORT stands for Pre-Admission Screening System Providing Options and Resources Today, which is a program that offers in-home care services that are an alternative to nursing home care. It helps older adults remain safe and independent in their homes with quality services. Most older adults would rather live in their own homes, to be with family and friends, for as long as they can. This program can delay or sometimes can prevent nursing home placement.
Services Provided by PASSPORT:
To qualify for PASSPORT, you must:
If you have a loved one that needs skilled or intermediate in-home care, PASSPORT may be an option to provide these services. See us for a free consultation at one of our four office locations throughout Ohio.
Cooper, Adel & Associates, Legal Professional Association 1-800-798-5297
By Attorney Keith Stevens
One of the most basic things that we do with our clients is to help them structure their estates to prevent the need for a probate proceeding after death. But probate courts have other functions than just overseeing the distribution of a decedent's assets. Probate courts also handle adoption, mental competency proceedings, and the appointment of guardians for those who cannot care for themselves.
Where the probate of an estate is burdened with time and cost, a guardianship proceeding leaves a ward open to exploitation by an unscrupulous guardian. One story that has been making the rounds lately concerns Josephine Smoron, a Connecticut woman whose court-appointed conservator has plundered her estate, according to a memorandum from the state's Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel. In the memo, the state's ethics office alleges that attorney John Nugent used his position as Ms. Smoron's conservator to create new trusts to hold Ms. Smoron's property with himself as trustee and three churches—rather than Ms. Smoron's son—as the beneficiaries against her stated wishes. As Ms. Smoron was dying, her conservator was busy selling her property and tying up the proceeds in the two trusts.
All the while, the state probate courts turned a blind eye to Nugent's actions. Three years after Ms. Smoron's death, her son is still struggling through probate, civil, and disciplinary proceedings against Nugent.
Any attorney who has practiced in the probate or elder law field has come across instances where a ward has been assigned to a predatory guardian. Ohio recently tightened the law to prevent predatory guardians, but it is not fool proof. However, pre-planning your estate and representation documents can prevent both the need for guardianship in case of incapacity and the chance that a stranger could be appointed. Contact an Ohio elder law attorney at Cooper, Adel & Associates today for more information on how to protect yourself if you are even in this vulnerable position.
By Meredith Gard
It takes a lot to get me to exercise. New Years resolutions, thoughts of swimsuit season, or even concerns about how I will look in pictures at my wedding are all easily pushed aside by the possibility of an extra hour of sleep each morning. But recently, I headed back to the gym.
I was prompted by this story in the New York Times. I always assumed I was doing everything right to make sure I’d stay sharp well into my golden years. I read, learn new things, like how to knit and sew, and even attempt the Times Sunday crossword once in a while. The article quickly disabused me of that notion. It explains that exercise may work in unique ways to keep our brains healthy, and allow us to really retain and integrate new information we learn.
So that is how I found myself in the gym on a rainy Saturday afternoon. If 20 minutes of walking a day will keep my brain healthy and young, I might as well give it a shot. And if it doesn’t? At least I’ll have a chance at all the other benefits of exercise, like increased cardiovascular health and reduced stress.
By Janet Fickle
Wouldn't it be great if one answer would take care of all of your questions concerning your estate planning!
I already have a will. Is that all I need?
What is an estate plan?
Should everyone have one?
What are the legal documents that I need?
How do I avoid probate costs?
Mom is already in a nursing home. Is it too late to protect her assets?
We are still young, is it too early to think about estate planning and nursing home protection?
Do I qualify for any veteran's benefits?
What should I do to protect my child who has disabilities?
Should I apply for Medicaid on my own?
Why do I need a living trust?
These questions obviously don't have the same answers, but you can have your questions answered by Cooper, Adel & Associates. So don't delay, call 1-800-798-5297 to schedule an appointment for a free consultation.
* Certified by the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF). NELF is approved by the Ohio Commission on Certification of Attorneys as Specialists. In addition, NELF is the only Elder Law Certification Program approved by the American Bar Association. The laws governing legal advertising in the state of Ohio require the following statement in any publication of this kind: "THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT”. This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. IRS Circular 230 Notice: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.