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    Legal Issues for People Living with Dementia and Their Caregivers Webinar

    Saturday, May 5th, 2018

    Advance Directives for Dementia

    Friday, May 4th, 2018

    I have met with several families over the past few weeks who have been taking care of loved ones with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia for many, many years. Their loved ones have reached the point where they have pretty much no quality life. They are merely existing – being spoon fed, being shifted in bed so they don’t get bed sores, and having their diaper changed. We have discussed the idea of stopping spoon feeding and there is a lot of discomfort because the issue was never discussed.

    Take a look at this article from the New York Time the other day. It links to a dementia specific health care advanced directive that specifically deals with this issue. I am going to use these in the planning we do for families.

    Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers

    Sunday, October 11th, 2015

    Urge Congress to act on the bill to help our 40 million family caregivers.

    In 2013, roughly 40 million family caregivers in the United States provided unpaid care valued at about $470 billion to adults who needed help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation, managing medications and transportation. Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in Congress to support family caregivers.

    The bill — called the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act (S 1719/HR 3099) — requires the development of a strategy identifying specific actions government, communities, providers, employers and others can take to recognize and support family caregivers. Enactment will help people live at home, where numerous surveys show they want to be, preventing more costly care and saving taxpayer dollars.

    Please call your representatives at 844-453-9952 and your senators at 844-449-9466 (both toll-free) and urge them to cosponsor the bipartisan RAISE Family Caregivers Act.

    Lace up for the LBD 5K so we can take Lewy down!

    Sunday, October 11th, 2015

    With your help, the Lewy Body Dementia Association is working to make the LBD 5K a high-profile annual event on the forefront of our efforts to raise awareness. It’s a noncompetitive run/walk open to serious runners and casual walkers of all ages. With so many ways to participate, you don’t even have to take a step to make a difference. For more information visit: www.lbd5k.org

    Interesting Elder Law Articles

    Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

    Why Falls Should Be Part Of The Doctor-Patient And National Conversation For Older Persons
    Who Will Care For Us — The Aging, Childless and Single Population?
    Honoring Aging Parents’ Independence: Busting The Myth
    Making Dementia Friendly Communities The New Normal
    Inheritance 101: How to Leave Your Home to Your Kids
    3 Ways to End the Dementia Care Blame Game
    In Case You Missed it: WHCOA Livestream Videos Now Available
    Videos of the entire livestream from the 2015 White House Conference on Aging are now available on our website. Click here to view the videos.

    Organizing Your Aging Parents

    Monday, July 27th, 2015

    Here’s a great article I found in “Family Home Guide”

    There comes a time in all of our lives when the roles reverse. Suddenly, we are no longer the child and the parenting skills we’ve so carefully honed with our own kids now need to be turned toward our aging parents. It can be one of the most emotionally trying times of your life, especially if you don’t know how your parents feel about certain issues. Unfortunately, too many people wait until it is too late to sit down and have a discussion to learn their needs and wishes. Don’t wait for an emergency just because you feel uncomfortable discussing topics like finances, wills, and funerals. Nobody ever wants to watch their parents age, but if you have everything buttoned up ahead of time, it can ease some of the stress.

    Alicia on “caring for an older parent”

    “My Dad died 15 years ago and my Mom is almost 90 now. I’m the baby of the family by many years, so I’m seeing my mom age well before my friends are experiencing it. I’ve learned that it’s never easy, but having everything at our fingertips is vital. My Mom, who has dementia, just broke her hip a few months ago. It’s stressful when something like that happens and you’re worrying about their care and recovery. My sisters and I put together her living will and power of attorney documents years ago, before the dementia set in. We’ve also compiled all of her medical and insurance information and all three of us have it at the ready. I can’t imagine not having it all together. It would just make things that much worse. Now, when emergencies arise, we can focus on her care and comfort instead of scurrying around for paperwork.”

    Even if you do nothing else, complete the first three tasks and keep the documents and information in one spot (Life.Doc or Medical.Doc binders are available at www.getbuttonedup.com):

    1. Legal:

    In addition to a standard will, have a lawyer draw up a durable power of attorney, which allows you to make financial decisions on behalf of your parents. Additionally, each parent needs a health care directive, also known as a living will, that spells our their individual wishes for medical care.

    2. Medical:

    Everybody should have a family history, but in addition to that information, keep a detailed list of all of the medications your parent is taking. In addition to the reason and the drug’s name, be sure to include dosage amounts. Additionally, keep a list of doctor’s names and contact numbers, since many elderly patients are under the care of several doctors and specialists at once.

    3. Insurance:

    In addition to your parent’s Medicare policy number and 800 information number, be sure to keep any information on supplemental or secondary insurance, as well as long term heath coverage, if they have it.

    4. Finances:

    It’s always advisable to discuss finances with your parents to learn more about their situation. Will they require financial assistance from you or will you need to know how they want their estate distributed? While a will can tell you how it will be divided, if you have a record of all of their accounts and policies, account numbers, and contact information, it can save you a lot of time and frustration later.

    5. Coordinate Care:

    Will your parents live at home, require live-in assistance, or opt for assisted living? Either way, aging parents require a lot of help. Whether it’s picking up their groceries or taking them to doctor’s appointments, their needs can be overwhelming for one person alone. Create a spreadsheet with various tasks and divide the work among various family members or friends.

    Wife not eligible for Georgia Medicaid if home is transferred

    Sunday, April 19th, 2015

    Question: My husband has dementia and needs nursing home care. Can he get Medicaid benefits if I deed our home to our daughter? It’s worth about $200,000. I need to continue living there. I get $850 in Social Security each month, he gets $2,200.

    Answer: Your home is an “exempt” asset under Georgia Medicaid rules. But, if you deed it to your daughter, Medicaid will consider it a “transfer” and impose a 34 month period of ineligibility.
    If the only thing the two of you own is your home, and your husband qualifies medically, he is eligible for Medicaid. Because your income is less than the Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance of $2,980, the law will “divert” some of his income to you. He will be allowed to keep $50 as his “Personal Needs Allowance”. The rest of his income must be paid to the nursing home; Medicaid will pay the balance of the nursing home bill.
    It appears you don’t need legal help to qualify for Medicaid. The nursing home can help you with the application. But, you should talk with an experienced Elder Law Attorney to review your estate planning documents to be sure they take into account your husband’s dementia. You don’t want to leave your husband all your money if you die before him, since that would disqualify him from Medicaid. Also, he should not be named as your “Agent” to make medical and financial decisions.

    To learn more, please attend one of our Senior Survival workshops at the Broadway Diner in Fayetteville on the 3rd Tuesday of each month or the Loft at Due South on the 3rd Thursday of each month. Call Erica for details on this month’s topic, times, and to register.

    Bob Goldberg, has practiced law for 24 years, specializing in Estate planning and Elder Law since 1999. His firm has assisted over 2,500 clients with wills, trusts, Medicaid and VA benefits planning, asset preservation, and probate/trust administration.

    Robert M. Goldberg & Associates

    Who needs estate planning?

    Thursday, May 8th, 2014

    You should have a plan if you want to make sure you stay in control of your financial and healthcare decision making in the event of your disability. You should also take the time to plan if you want to make sure your wealth goes to who you want, when you want, the way you want. If you have children who are minors (under the age of 18), parents who are aging, or are married or have a life partner, or anyone else depending upon you,  it makes sense to make plans in the event something happens to you. Finally, if you or your spouse have a chronic condition which may require nursing home care you may want to do a special kind of planning called Medicaid Planning.

    One misunderstanding about estate planning is it only needed if you are very wealthy or if you are old. This is not true. Even young people have responsibilities, can become disabled, or die. Even if you do not have family, or are just starting out, you still need to have “advanced directives” – a Durable Financial Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, HIPAA Release and Living Will in place. Even a person who has not accumulated a lot of wealth will want to leave what they have to specific persons.

    So, you can see having a plan for if you were to become disabled or for when you die is truly important for everyone over the age of 18!

    What is estate planning?

    Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

    Estate planning should be a life long process of taking steps to provide for you and the people you love.  You never know when disability will strike. When most people think of estate planning they think about transferring what they own at their death. Another equally important part of planning is thinking about making transfers during your life. Lifetime gifting can have important asset protection advantages and allows you see the impact of your giving on your loved ones.

    A good plan begins with understanding your family, what you own and how you own it and thinking about your goals.

    After A Divorce, Make Sure to Reevaluate Your Estate Plan

    Thursday, December 12th, 2013

    Your ex or soon-to-be ex-spouse may still have authority over your medical and financial affairs after your divorce. This should send shock-waves through most people knowing their ex-spouse may still have so much control over them after they part company in a divorce. This is why it is important to update your beneficiary designations and other estate planning documents to prevent your soon-to-be ex-spouse from inheriting money or remaining in positions of authority.

    Estate planning is the creation of documentation to maintain and effectively control your financial and health care security. Using legal documents such as wills, trusts, powers of appointment, and powers of attorney , including the durable financial power of attorney , the durable medical power of attorney, and a living will, estate planning helps you protect your assets and ensure your loved ones are cared for following your death or incapacity.

    Ordinarily, wills, trusts, healthcare directives, etc. are typically the last thing on your mind if you are going through a divorce . There are enough legalities to sort through and plan for while handling a divorce, which can cause estate planning to feel like an added burden during an already difficult time.

    Still, you may be surprised to learn that your most important legal and financial documents are not automatically made null and void during or after a divorce ; that is, divorce may not nullify the beneficiaries named on your accounts /documents or those to whom you have given authority roles.

    If you do not update your estate plan documents and you become incapacitated during or after the divorce proceedings, your soon-to-be ex-spouse may still have authority over your medical and financial affairs. In the event of a serious health care crisis or future disability, it is critical to have someone you trust in a position of responsibility.

    Your healthcare directives (also referred to as a living will and healthcare power of attorney ) name the person who can make medical decisions on your behalf in an emergency. If you do not amend this document, your ex-spouse (or soon-to-be) may bear the responsibility of making life and death decisions for you and managing your future healthcare needs. Also, most people would wince at the idea of their ex-spouse (or soon-to-be) having the ability to pay bills, access accounts and sell assets on their behalf.

    Or, if you should pass away during or after the divorce proceedings without updating key beneficiary designations, your soon-to-be ex-spouse may still stand to inherit from your estate. Most insurance policies , bank accounts , retirement accounts and investment account include the designation of a beneficiary. This is the person who will receive some or all of the money from that policy or account upon your death.

    To summarize, when experiencing a divorce , you should reevaluate your estate plan. Key provisions in your will, trust, powers of attorney , retirement accounts, life insurance policies, etc., must be updated to ensure your soon-to-be ex-spouse is no longer named as a beneficiary or in a position of authority over your personal affairs. You may also need to select a new personal representative (that is, an executor), power of attorney and health care surrogate whom you trust to oversee your finances and uphold your medical desires if the unthinkable happens.

    About the Author:

    The Managing Attorney of  Robert M. Goldberg  Associates, Bob Goldberg is a licensed attorney and counselor at law in the State of Georgia, as well as a member of the Georiga Bar Association, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and Wealth Counsel.

    Robert M. Goldberg & Associates is a unique law firm with offices in Atlanta, Griffin and Peachtree City, Georiga who understands your particular needs and situation, and will generate value for you; services include comprehensive estate planning, elder law and probate services.

    This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.