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Pay for your funeral now?


By Attorney Elizabeth Durnell


As an Ohio Medicaid Attorney, I have discovered that the one thing that every one of my clients should have is a burial contract.


If done properly, the burial contract will be exempt from a nursing home spend down.


Some people hesitate to pre-pay because they have had a bad experience with one funeral home and the quality of their services.  Others have seen that funeral homes go out of business and then the family is stuck paying a second time for the same burial.  


In addition to the spend down exemption, another benefit of some burial contracts is that they can be used at any funeral home in the country, which will help to avoid these possible pitfalls.


If you are interested in understanding more about how a burial contract works in conjunction with Elder Law planning, please contact Cooper, Adel, and Associates for a free consultation.

How to spend your Christmas money


By Melissa Reynard


The average American spends $935 over the holidays each year.  Combine that figure with an average credit card debt of $8562 and you call tell Americans love their shopping.  And who doesn’t?  The holidays are a season of giving and there’s nothing better than seeing the expression on your loved ones faces as your grandson opens his new video game or your daughter oohs and aahs over her new chainsaw.   And we think nothing of spending this money for their happiness.


Out of that figure of $935, $452 is just for family gifts alone.  But there’s another great gift out there that you can get for your family.  And while its not one that you would normally think of, or even share with your family right away, it could be a stupendous benefit and helper.  That gift is estate planning.


With estate planning you can be sure to help your family even after you’re gone.  With an Elder Law Attorney, you can prepare Powers of Attorney, Trusts, Healthcare Directives and other important tools that make up estate planning.  Having these documents prepared is putting you one step closer to making things easier for your family in the eventuality that something happens to you.   


Give your family a different kind of gift this year.  Give them peace of mind.


Something to leave you with: despite the average American spending $935, they only plan to spend $646.  Is your planning accurate?  



American Consumer Credit Council

The Best Eggless Pineapple Rum Pound Cake


By Dan Vu


Around this time many of my clients will ask me what I am doing for the Holidays and what I enjoy doing the most. Curiously, I have come to find that most of my answers revolve around food! So I thought I share my favorite desert recipe. Close to Christmas, and when I beg enough, my wife will whip up the best pineapple rum pound cake. Being allergic to eggs, this recipe is also eggless but no less great!


Ingredients for cake: 1 cup sugar; ½ cup butter or margarine, ½ cup low-fat sour cream, 2 ¾ cups flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda, 1 (3.4-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix, 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 (10 ounce) can crushed pineaple, ¾ cup of pineapple juice (leftover from the crushed pineapple can), ¼ cup vegetable oil.  


Ingredients for topping: ½ (4-ounce) container whipped topping, 2/3 pints heavy cream, ½  (5 ounce can crushed pineapple), 1/4 cup pineapple juice (leftover from the crushed pineapple can), 1/2 package vanilla instant pudding, 1/4 cup dark rum, and 1 (3 ¾ ounce) package flaked coconut. 


  1. To prepare cake: preheat 350F. Lightly butter a 12-cup Budnt pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, butter, and sour cream. With mixer, beat until cream. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla pudding, cornstarch, vanilla, crushed pineapple, pineapple juice, and oil. Beat for 3 mins until smooth.
  3. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40-45 mins. Cool for 20 mins before removing.
  4. To prepare topping: In a large bowl, beat with mixer the whipped topping and heavy cream until thick. On low speed, beat in pineapple juice, pudding, and rum and continue beating until well blended. Carefully fold in crushed pineapple  and coconut and spread on cake when completely cooked.


This recipe is from a book my wife and I use a lot, “Bakin’ Without Eggs” by Rosemarie Emro. From all of us at Cooper, Adel, and Associates, enjoy and have a Happy Holidays! 



By: Shelley Rose


As we all know, money, whether you have a lot or a little can become a very touchy subject ESPECIALLY when you are a celebrity.  With celebrity comes fame and fortune along with many relatives they have probably never met.


The children of celebrities enjoy reaping the benefits of their rich and famous parents, but do the same rules apply to the parents of celebrity kids?


Leighton Meester, the “Gossip Girl” star is suing her mom for abusing the money that Leighton sends to help pay for her brother's medical expenses.  Meester claims that her mother has been using $7,500 a month for cosmetic procedures instead.  She claims her mother refuses to work and justifies her actions by saying that she “sacrificed her happiness” to build her daughter's acting and singing career.


Another child star Macaulay Culkin who earned more than $17 million from Home Alone movie series was caught in a legal battle as his parents fought for control of his fortune.  The money was finally handed over to a family accountant until Culkin turned 18 (this money would have could have been set up in a Trust fund).


Parents have also used their celebrity children as subjects for tell-all movies or novels.  Nancy Aniston, mother of Jennifer Aniston of the long running sit-com “Friends”, wrote a memoir in which she exposed intimate details about her daughter's life.  The memoir led to a nine-year estrangement between the two.


All of the above situations have occurred while these family members were still alive.  Imagine the problems that occur when a parent dies and they do not have their “ducks in a row”.  Siblings fight and argue over the assets and which often cause estrangement and problems within the family.  


Cooper, Adel and Associates can keep the peace between you and your family members.  Call us to come in for a free consultation at 1-800-798-5297 so that you and your loved ones are protected.

Our Aging Population

By Bob Kueppers

The oldest members of the Baby Boom generation are just hitting 65. That means a much larger percentage that ever before of the US population are soon-to-be seniors. "All Assisted Living homes" has a great infograph illustrating this growing demographic. 

A Note on Survivorship Deeds

By Attorney Ted Brown

In the course of my work in Estate and Trust Administration, I often encounter the misconception that real estate owned jointly among spouses contains a right of survivorship. As a result, I see property end up in probate and the estate burdened with time-consuming and costly hassles that could have been avoided.

A right of survivorship is not conferred automatically to joint owners or joint tenants through a general warranty deed. This right is created only by specific wording on the deed itself and is more commonly seen is what is known as a survivorship deed.

While this nuance of property law is lost on many, it is not lost on a probate judge. Spouses, or other joint owners of property, each own an undivided one-half interest in that property. When one spouse dies, that half interest does not automatically pass to the other spouse unless a right of survivorship is granted within the deed. This means that in order for the surviving spouse to get clear title to the entire property, the deceased spouse’s half must go through probate. This can take months and add thousands in unnecessary expense.

The hassle of probate can easily be avoided by placing the property into a trust or with a properly drafted survivorship deed. It is important to seek the counsel of an Elder Law Attorney to explore these options.


Unique Plans to Avoid Paying for Long Term Care

By Kathy Cooper

Over the years, we’ve heard a number of unique plans to avoid paying for long term care.  I thought you might want to hear about them:

“I’ll never go to a nursing home.  I just plan to wake up dead one day.”

“If I find out I have Alzheimer’s, my thought is to rob 7-Elevens until I’m caught and go to jail.  They have to take care of you there.”

“I’m going to give my kids cash gifts, a little at a time.  How’s the government to know?”

“I have a bunch of silver and gold in my safety deposit box that they’ll never find out about, so my plan is golden!”

Although these are entertaining ideas, they are naive at best. You may have read estimates that 70% of all seniors over 65 will require some type of long term care and over 30% will end up in a nursing home at some point in their lives.  These are large numbers that are likely to include you and me – and, believe me, the Government is onto your plan to squirrel away money.

The best idea to avoid losing it all to pay for your long term care is to plan early, before your are faced with a crisis.  An experienced Ohio Elder Law Attorney can help you and your family identify options to protect and preserve your wealth in a way that complies with the law of the state so that you won’t have to go directly to jail to get your bill paid!


Ohio Ethics Advisory Opinion on Medicaid Representation

By Attorney Nathan Simpson

Recently, the Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law of The Supreme Court of Ohio issued an Advisory Opinion entitled “Medicaid Assistance and Planning by Non-attorneys.” In it, the Court analyzes whether Medicaid planning and application activities constitute the practice of law.  The Court concluded that non-attorneys may assist in preparing and filing Medicaid applications.  However, only Attorneys may engage in Medicaid planning activity requiring specialized legal training, skill and experience constituted the practice of law.

The Court went on to state that :

“Medicaid planning in many, if not most, instances involves estate planning according to the prevailing legal literature. Individuals in need of long-term care often use estate tools such as trusts, gifts, and asset transfers to meet Medicaid income and resource-eligibility thresholds. Such estate planning requires specialized legal training, skill, and experience because it incorporates analysis, interpretation, and the preparation of legal documents.”

Through this opinion The Ohio Supreme Court has recognized the necessity of finding an Ohio Elder Law Attorney to assist in the Medicaid Planning process.  If you or a loved one need Medicaid planning help, contact the Elder Law Attorneys at Cooper, Adel & Associates.

The full text of the opinion may be found here:


RETIREMENT: A Complex Puzzle of Personal and Financial Goals

By Ray Kathawa, Annuity Consultant, M&O Marketing

Retirement is a complex puzzle of both personal and financial goals, each of which impact each other. When contemplating retirement, and especially when retirement is imminent, we have to make a lot of decisions.  One of the most important of these considerations is what you will do with your time.

While this sounds obvious and perhaps overly-simplified, in fact it is a key factor in a successful retirement. An integral part of your retirement plan, whether formal or not, is what you want to do every day; how and where will you spend your time ; Many people actually create a written plan for how they will spend their time in retirement. While this is certainly not necessary, it is a good idea.

Related to how you will spend your time is how you will create your retirement paycheck. This is the area of retirement planning that gets the most attention, and for most of us, is of the greatest concern.

Retirement is not all about how much money you save. …but ensuring that you have enough money for a retirement lasting as long as you do. This becomes an even more prevalent concern in an unpredictable economic environment.

Our challenge is how to create income from our retirement  savings in such a way as to ensure that our money lasts as long as we do.


Getting the Flu

By Angela Hall

Getting the flu shot – that seems simple enough. However every year, especially after I have battled the most recent strain going around, I am again reminded. It is so easy to let things go and think I will do it tomorrow. But once the aches and pains of the flu rear their ugly head I wish I could go back and get that simple shot.

Failing to get your affairs in order with a smart estate plan can certainly have more  devastating effects than a week of feeling miserable because of the flu.

Putting together a smart estate plan that can allow you to plan for the future goes a long way towards preventing last minute or crisis planning when it may be too late. The firm of Cooper, Adel and Associates can help you develop a plan that makes it much easier for those who depend on you. Don’t put it off until tomorrow. Tomorrow may be too late.


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