Articles Posted in Elder Law & Medicaid Planning

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By Nathan Palmer

A power of attorney is a document which provides authority for an individual to act on behalf of another. Most commonly, discussions of powers of attorney relate to either a financial power of a attorney or a power of attorney for health care. These powers of attorney should be included in every individual’s estate plan as early as possible to help avoid the necessity for court intervention in the event that an individual becomes mentally incompetent.

  • FINANCIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY
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Idaho’s Medicaid program provides benefits for those in need of long-term care. Elderly and disabled individuals will not be immediately eligible for Idaho Medicaid’s long-term care benefits unless the value of their “Countable Resources” is $2,000 or less. Individuals seeking eligibility for Idaho Medicaid’s long-term care benefits must provide complete transparency to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare – which does an excellent job of administering Idaho’s Medicaid program. Applicants must provide comprehensive financial documentation to the Department to allow the Department to make a determination regarding the applicant’s eligibility for long-term care benefits.

The term “Countable Resources” is defined by numerous federal and state statutes and regulations. Generally speaking, countable resources are all assets an individual or spouse may liquidate to obtain cash. Most often an applicant’s countable resources include cash, certificates of deposit, stocks, mutual funds, land, and other personal property. At this point you might be asking the obvious question: what assets are not considered countable resources?

An applicant’s residence is not considered a countable resource in most circumstances. Additionally, an applicant may keep up to $2,000 in cash as well as a few personal belongings. An applicant’s spouse might be able to keep substantially more than the applicant. Please seek guidance from a competent Idaho Medicaid planning attorney to learn more.

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Those of us with loves ones suffering from Alzheimer’s understand the amount of effort required to provide our loved ones with proper care. Alzheimer’s is ruthless and often causes significant behavioral changes to the point where individuals who suffer from the disease require professional assistance – often in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility.

Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild; however, during its later stages individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment.

Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Those with Alzheimer’s live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from four to twenty years, depending on age and other health conditions.

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By Nathan R. Palmer

Deciphering between the benefits provided by Medicare and Medicaid can be difficult. It is important to know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid when you or a loved one is seeking coverage of a stay in a long-term care facility (i.e., Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing Facility).

Medicare is a federal health insurance program available to individuals 65 years of age and older as well as individuals with certain disabilities or medical conditions who are younger than 65 years of age. Medicare does not always cover all medical expenses incurred by covered individuals; rather, individuals are required to pay a deductible as well as certain expenses not covered by Medicare.

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By Nathan R. Palmer

Medicaid was signed into law in 1965 for the purpose of providing certain benefits, including medical benefits, for individuals in financial need. While the Medicaid program was enacted by the federal government, each state is responsible for administering the program for its citizens. Generally speaking, eligibility for Medicaid benefits depends on an individual’s income and assets.

Idaho Medicaid benefits include assistance for the aged, blind, and disabled (sometimes referred to as AABD benefits). AABD benefits are generally available for individuals over age 65 and/or those who are blind and/or disabled. Providing coverage for an elderly individual’s stay in a long-term care facility is one benefit available through the AABD program.

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By Patrick N. George

The baby boomers are getting older, the population of the United States is aging, and with these two facts colliding, it is becoming more and more difficult to find quality care for our elderly loved ones.  It used to be that children could care for their parents, but with the aging population, this often means caring for grandparents and parents. Furthermore, the natural caregivers are frequently having to be employed to meet their own needs. In short, this is becoming a difficult problem both for society and individual families.

Fortunately, many elderly people remain independent and capable of taking care of themselves with a minimal amount of help from family or home care assistance. However, it cannot be escaped that as a person grows older oftentimes complete assistance is needed to care for the elderly and ease the burden on family member. It would be wonderful if the elderly received round the clock care by competent professional in a facility that genuinely cared about them. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

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By Nathan R. Palmer

Special needs trusts (a.k.a. “Supplemental Needs Trusts”) are important estate planning tools for individuals with loved ones with special needs. A properly drafted special needs trust can help preserve assets, including family assets and assets belonging to a special needs individual, for the entirety of the individual’s lifetime. Special needs trusts are most often utilized by:

  • Parents with special needs children; and
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By Nathan R. Palmer

The use of a Miller Trust can help otherwise Medicaid eligible individuals qualify for Idaho Medicaid’s long-term care benefits when their monthly income exceeds $2,199. Individuals will generally not qualify for Idaho Medicaid’s long-term care benefits if their monthly income exceeds $2,199. Long-term care benefits are typically sought by older individuals in need of assistance with their daily activities, including personal hygiene, food preparation, and mobility. Many older/retired individuals have retirement accounts, annuities, or pensions that provide cumulative monthly income in excess of $2,199. So how can a Miller Trust help?

A Miller Trust is only effective if it is properly established and managed. Here is an overview of the process: