Florida Elder Law Blog - A blog by Elder Law Associates, South Florida's premier elder law attorneys, who handle elder law, medicaid planning, guardianships and much, much more.
We've found an interesting and education article on the changes for 2011 to Medicare and how it may affect your Medicare Planning. To read the entire article, titled A New Year Brings New Improvements to Medicare in 2011, click here
To discuss how these changes to Medicare may affect your specific situation, please consult an experienced Florida Elder Law Attorney
, one who specializes in Florida Medicare Planning
Labels: Florida Elder Care, florida elder law, Florida Elder Law Attorney, Florida Medicare Planning
Officials with the Better Business Bureau of Northeast California are warning older adults about a new twist in a telephone scam that preys on grandparents who think they are helping their grandchildren in an emergency.
The fraud, first seen in 2008, involves a grandparent getting a call from a young person claiming to be a grandson or granddaughter who got into legal trouble in a foreign country and needs emergency cash. To stress the urgency, calls are usually made in the middle of the night, and the scammer insists that funds be sent by wire or overnight delivery. In the past, wary would-be victims could easily rattle the scammer by asking personal questions only certain people could answer, such as the name of a childhood pet, their nickname, or the college they attended. Today, however, with the popularity of social networking sites, the bureau said the scammer may already have that information, and a lot more.
The bureau said a Sacramento grandmother was contacted this week by young woman who claimed to be her granddaughter. The girl said she was in trouble in Canada and needed the victim to wire her $4,500 to get out of jail. Even after asking several questions, the grandmother said she was absolutely convinced the girl was her granddaughter. The BBB said the scammer was looking at a Facebook page the real granddaughter had posted, and simply reading off dozens of facts about the family, addresses, and where she went to college. The information was easily accessible because the granddaughter's Facebook privacy settings weren't high enough, allowing her account to be viewed by just about anyone.
Best to talk to a Florida Elder Law Attorney
before making any legal decisions.
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Congress has passed and President Obama has signed into law the deal extending the Bush tax cuts that he struck with Congressional Republicans. The legislation restores the estate tax for two years at a 35 percent tax rate, with estates up to $5 million exempt from paying any tax ($10 million for couples). If Congress does not change the law in the interim, in 2013 the estate tax will revert to what it was scheduled to be in 2011 -- a 55 percent rate and a $1 million exemption. The $801 billion tax-cut bill makes several other significant changes to wealth transfer taxes:
The new $5 million estate tax exemption and 35 percent rate are retroactive to January 1, 2010. The heirs of those dying in 2010 will have a choice between applying the new rules or electing to be covered under the rules that have applied in 2010 -- no estate tax but only a limited step-up in the cost basis of inherited assets. This will benefit the heirs of tens of thousands who died in 2010 with relatively modest estates and who would have been subject to capital gains tax on inherited assets above a certain threshold.
The law makes the estate tax exemption "portable" between spouses. This means that if the first spouse to die does not use all of his or her $5 million exemption, the estate of the surviving spouse could use it.
The law unifies the estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax exemptions at $5 million. (For 2010 there is no generation-skipping tax, while the gift tax exemption has been $1 million for a number of years.) A 35 percent tax rate will apply to gifts or transfers over the $5 million threshold. (There is no change in the $13,000 annual exclusion amount for gifts.) These high exemption levels mean that "[t]he rich will have a two-year window in 2011 and 2012 to protect huge amounts of their estates from taxation for generations," wrote estates attorney Kevin Staker on his Estate Tax News Blog.
But that window is open even wider than was previously assumed because of an additional loophole for the wealthy in the new law. Although taxpayers had until December 31, 2010 to transfer funds outright to grandchildren and avoid the generation-skipping tax, there's the risk that the grandkids will squander the sudden influx of cash. As Forbes blogger Janet Novak explains in a recent post, "the money doesn't (as most planners had believed) have to be distributed outright to the grandkids to qualify for the 0% rate. Instead, according to the fine print in the tax deal, it can be put in a trust for them, [noted estate planning lawyer Jonathan] Blattmachr says. That means, he explains, that money can be taken from an existing multigenerational trust, declared subject to the 2010 GST tax, and deposited in a new trust for grandkids' benefit, with the GST tax now pre-paid at a 0% rate." Novak says Blattmachr has been telling his estate planning attorney peers, "Cancel your ski trip or trip to Hawaii. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
The generous estate tax provisions were the main sticking point for progressive Democrats. A vote in the House on an amendment to increase the estate tax, including lowering the exemption to $3.5 million, was defeated by a vote of 233 to 194. After some minor changes to the bill were made, it passed the House by a 277 to 148 margin, after having been approved overwhelmingly by the Senate 81 to 19.
The site Politico quotes one senior House Republican aide as saying, "I'm trying to remember something that we passed under Bush that was this good."
The new tax law presents previously unavailable planning opportunities, especially for the well-off. For details, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (561) 750-3850.
To discuss how this act may affect you, please consult a qualified Florida Elder Law Attorney
Labels: florida elder law, Florida Elder Law Attorney, Florida Estate Planning
The month of February and Valentines Day brings a celebration of love and stirs couples to rekindle feelings of romance and devotion. Not so different from young couples are aging seniors, celebrating memories of sweethearts and romance in days gone by. Sit a while with a senior couple and they will soon be telling you their romance story or listen to a widow or widower as they sing their favorite love song from their youth.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s can rob senior minds of many of these treasured memories, changing their personality and life style. Because of these and other illnesses, many seniors end up in nursing homes or care facilities where only their basic physical needs are cared for by the facility staff. To these seniors, Valentines Day becomes no different from every other day. They often find it difficult to relive memories of the past. In one care facility a sign placed lovingly over a patient’s bed reads, “I Am Somebody’s Sweetheart,” as if to say I once dreamed, lived and loved, please treat me kindly.
When asked how she relates to those she cares for, nurse assistant Karen W. replies that most of the time it's those patients who are causing a disturbance or may be in danger of harming themselves who are the ones that get her attention. Even then she can only take care of the immediate problem. Very seldom has she time to personally get to know well all the elderly people she cares for.
Although this is true with many facilities, the need for more personalized care is, in some cases, being recognized. Assisted living facilities with specialized memory care programs -- some using art, music and dance or physical activities -- are finding great success with increasing the quality of life for those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s. Many care facilities across the nation are adding these programs to better serve their residents.
If you cannot find a facility in your area that provides this special attention, home care may be a better option.
Consider this real experience. When Nora would visit her father in the nursing home she would find him sitting, slumped over and disinterested in his surroundings. By the time she and her young children finished their visit, he was alert and talking to them. Feeling he would do better in her home environment, Nora enlisted the services of a Geriatric Care Manager to evaluate her father and determine what would be needed for his care at home so that he could get the social stimulation that he needed.
A Geriatric Care Manager can be a valuable asset to family members when it becomes necessary to look at alternatives for their loved one's long term care. They work with all members of the family in educating about resources and making decisions. Some services provided are.
- Make an assessment about the type of care need
- Develop a care plan for care both current and future care
- Work with physicians in getting medical support
- Find home care services that work with the families needs
- Provide assistance with legal and financial issues
Appropriate home care services are also often necessary when a change in environment is called for. Home care services vary, depending on what is needed, and may change as caregiving requirements change in regards to the physical or mental health of the elderly person.
Types of Home Care are:
- Home health care companies: provide nurses, physical therapists, social workers and aides that assist with basic health care such as changing bandages, taking vital signs and helping with medication as well as a host of other skilled needs.
- Non-medical home providers: help with bathing, dressing, meals, ambulating, chores, errands, housekeeping and much, much more.
Home care personnel are skilled in working with the spouse and extended family members of their ailing loved one to provide needed services and support in the home. They add consistency in the care and are available in time of crisis or need to add additional services.
With help from her Geriatric Care Manager, Nora brought her father to her home for his care. The care manager worked with her father’s doctor, prescribing a physical therapist and nurse's aid to come to the home. A non-medical home care company was employed to help with daily bathing and dressing.
Another resource available to families, which is not used as often as it should be, is hospice. Hospice care is provided in the home or in a hospice facility, hospital or nursing home. When illness is terminal, hospice service is provided by a team which includes doctors, nurses, grief counselors, aides and social workers as needed. These services can be provided at no out-of-pocket cost by Medicare.
In her internet article Naomi Naierman, President and CEO of the American Hospice Foundation states:
“As a Medicare beneficiary, you are entitled to the Medicare Hospice Benefit without additional premiums. If you are enrolled in a managed care organization (MCO) you have access to this benefit, even if the MCO does not cover hospice services.
The Medicare Hospice Benefit covers the following hospice services in full:
- Skilled nursing services
- Volunteer Services
- Physician visits
- Skilled therapy
- Home health aide visits
- Medical social services
- Spiritual counseling
- Nutrition counseling
- Bereavement support for the family”
There is a growing market for care providers throughout the nation to fill the need of senior care services. Assisted living, home care and hospice care, geriatric care managers and geriatric clinics are all just part of these services.
"Somebody’s Sweetheart" may be in need of your loving care someday and help is available to reduce your burden and ease the journey.
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