According to a recent Facebook live report by Kaiser Health News (KHN), every year more than 34 million unpaid caregivers — mostly family members — provide essential aid to adults age 50 and older. They help with tasks such as bathing or dressing and are increasingly performing complex medical tasks such as managing medications, dressing wounds and operating medical equipment.
It’s important to understand the types of emotional and practical challenges family caregivers face as they undertake these responsibilities. How do they cope with changing relationships, financial burdens and the distress that serious illness can provoke? And how do they balance their own needs with the needs of the person they’re caring for? More importantly, where do they find support?
In this presentation by KHN, “Navigating Aging” columnist Judith Graham speaks one-on-one with Dr. Arthur Kleinman, a distinguished professor of psychiatry and anthropology at Harvard University. He is the author of “The Soul of Care: The Moral Education of a Husband and Doctor,” a new book about caring for his wife from the time she was diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.
Graham then leads a discussion among a panel of caregivers, including the director of caregiving projects at AARP’s Public Policy Institute and a psychologist and principal at Health Management Associates out of Philadelphia.
We encourage you to take the time to listen to this enlightening presentation, because family caregivers are the backbone of our nation’s system of long-term care for older adults and will become more common place in the next 5-10 years.
Here at Tacoma Elder Care we want you to know there’s help available to you if you are managing someone’s health or are concerned you may have to in the future. We are proud to announce we will be partnering with Sound Options in 2020.
Sound Options’ integrated care management team delivers comprehensive home care, counseling, and geriatric care management services, and can provide you with all the resources you’ll need.
Today 40% of Adults aged 65+ need assistance with daily living activities, and that statistic will grow to over 70% in the near future.
Start to plan now, so that you will be prepared in the event of an illness. Begin by attending one of our FREE Workshops where you’ll learn about the 5-6 most important documents needs to have if you are over the age of 50 and learn from experts about how to build a healthcare management plan.
You can register for one of our Workshops HERE.
Let’s say your mother has a trust that includes stocks that were your father’s. Possibly the stocks started as an employee purchase and were touched only two or three times over the years. Your mother receives a quarterly dividend from the stock, typically half in cash and half to the stock growth. So, what would the tax consequences be if this stock is left upon her death to be split among her three surviving children? Would it be better to start cashing the stock before she passes and put it in a trust account for her needs?
These are common questions we often hear from adult children who are concerned they will not have enough money for their aging parent(s) needs, tax consequences, and more. If you are having similar concerns, it’s probably time for you and your mother to meet with an estate planning attorney who can review her existing estate planning documents — her will, power of attorney, health care directive, etc. — and if she doesn’t have these, we can create the documents for her. Having those essential documents is always the first place to start.
If your mother is not competent and if you are taking care of her affairs, you may want to speak to an estate planning attorney sooner than later. As there may be steps that can be taken, or certain assets that would be better to be used first to pay expenses, which ultimately would benefit the family and/or save taxes. And if additional advisers are necessary, such as an accountant or financial planner, we can make recommendations and make sure they are included in the process.
Here at Tacoma Elder Care, elder law attorney Bob Michaels offers FREE workshops you can attend with your parent(s) to begin the process of getting these documents squared away. His consultations for estate planning are free, and he offers reasonable package rates depending on your needs.
When deciding whether or not to sell stock, it is important to consider not only the potential estate tax consequences of continuing to hold the stock, but also the income tax consequences of a sale.
Keep in mind allocation of estate tax is governed by the decedent’s last will and testament, which can provide that tax is allocated pro rata so each person pays the share of tax his or her share of the estate generates, or it can be paid out of the residuary of the estate itself. Without a will or a trust, each person would have to pay his or her pro rata share of the tax generated.
This is a perfect example why meeting with an estate planning attorney while your parent(s) are still alive and healthy is so important. Every situation, every family is different. Without the assistance from someone who can assess your particular scenario, you could end up in a crisis that could have easily been avoided. If you wait, it could be too late.
Contact Bob Michaels at Tacoma Elder Care today! Or attend one of his FREE Workshops by registering HERE.
Let’s say your father owns two homes and now must go into a nursing care facility, where it’s anticipated he will have to stay. Let’s say the one home was his primary residence, but the second home he built for his disabled daughter. Unfortunately, the financial burden of his care has now fallen to you and you’re trying to apply for Medicaid, but based on this second home, he’s been denied. What can you do?
There are some ways you can protect the homes and receive the Medicaid he needs, but chances are you will need an elder law attorney.
For example, let’s assume the daughter is under the age of 65 and meets the Social Security definition of disability, meaning she is either receiving SSI or SSD or is eligible for such benefits. With the aid of an attorney, your father can transfer the second home to her without incurring a Medicaid penalty for the transfer.
The transfer of the house should not adversely affect any means-tested benefits such as SSI or Medicaid that the disabled daughter might receive if that house is used as her principal place of residence. The primary home could also be transferred to the disabled daughter in a trust or it could be sold, and the proceeds would be transferred to the trust, without incurring a Medicaid penalty.
The primary home could also be sold to pay the nursing home privately, with a portion of the proceeds transferred into a trust for the benefit of the disabled daughter.
However, to get these transfers done properly, your dad needs the help of an elder care attorney. Bob Michaels of Tacoma Elder Care can help. Contact Bob today by calling his office at 253-627-1091 to set up a free consultation. Or attend one of his FREE Workshops.
What happens if you believe someone (say a sibling) used undue influence on an aging parent to get them to amend their trust? Let’s say the trust originally split everything evenly between you and your sibling, but now your parent is experiencing dementia and your sibling has hired an attorney and coerced your parent to change the trust so that everything now goes only to them.
You can certainly challenge the new estate plan. The question is whether it is easier to do it now or after your parent’s death. To do it now, you would probably need to seek a conservatorship over your parent. This would likely be very expensive, but it would help you preserve the evidence of your parent’s weakened cognitive ability and your sibling’s influence over them. The other approach is to wait until after your parent passes away and then challenge the trust through your parent’s estate by asking to be appointed as their personal representative. While the trust is not a probate asset, as personal representative you would have standing to question the recent change. You may also have standing as a beneficiary of the original trust. This also is likely to be an expensive and could include litigation. However, one potential advantage of pursuing the case after your parent’s death is that it would be easier to find a lawyer who would take the case on a contingency basis, assuming there is enough at stake to make it worth the lawyer’s effort.
Saying that there has been "undue influence" is often used as a reason to contest a will or estate plan, but what does it mean?
Undue influence occurs when someone exerts pressure on an individual, causing that individual to act contrary to his or her wishes and to the benefit of the influencer or the influencer's friends. The pressure can take the form of deception, harassment, threats, or isolation. Often the influencer separates the individual from their loved ones in order to coerce. The elderly and infirm are usually more susceptible to undue influence.
If you are in a similar situation, or know someone who is, Robert L. Michaels of Smith Alling in Tacoma can help. Bob is a shareholder at Smith Alling, P.S. and focuses his practice on elder law, estate planning, business and real estate matters. He has practiced law in the State of Washington since 1984 and has earned a solid reputation in the community for ethical and professional legal services. Bob’s friendly and engaging personality assists clients in working through complex and difficult matters. Contact Bob today for a free consultation.
According to a recent article from CNBC one of the great dilemmas facing most retirees is paying for the costs of long-term care. As the CNBC article, written by reporter Sarah O’Brien, points out, part of what makes this such a troubling issue for today’s seniors is that no one can say for certain who will have to pay for long-term care, or how much, or for how long. Planning ahead is the key. You don’t have to be a victim of ill health, bad planning, or economic setback, because with a well-crafted plan you and your loved ones should be able to navigate the road to retirement with your dignity and your well-earned resources.
The Burden of Paying for Long-Term Care Will Affect the Majority of Retirees
“There’s an expense lurking down the road for many retirees that is largely unpredictable but likely: long-term care,” says the CNBC article. “Someone turning 65 today faces a nearly 70 percent chance of needing LTC services during their remaining years.” But as premiums on long-term care insurance policies continue to rise, financial advisors are looking at other strategies to help their clients prepare for a day when they can no longer live independently. As one planner told CNBC, “We’re a country that excels at prolonging and extending life. The result is that the costs of care later in life, and the duration of the care, are lasting longer and longer.”
On average, once they start needing long-term care, women tend to need these services longer than men – 3.7 years for mom compared with just over 2 years for dad. But no matter how long the bills keep coming, the monthly costs can be “eye-popping,” according to CNBC. The nationwide median cost for care at an assisted-living facility is $4,000 per month, compared with $4,200 for a home health aide. If a senior needs care in a skilled nursing facility, the median cost for a shared room nationwide is $7,400 per month, or nearly $90,000 per year. Here in the Pacific Northwest, those costs are usually much higher, depending on the quality of the facility. That’s why one planner, in a remarkable example of understatement, told CNBC’s O’Brien, “Without planning, long-term-care costs can be a big financial hit.”
The Burden of Paying for Long-Term Care Can Occur at Varying Stages of Life
According to statistics from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, fewer than 5 percent of LTC claims are initiated at age 70 or younger. About one-quarter of all claims begin when a senior is in their 70s, and by the time we enter our 80s the likelihood really climbs. Another one-quarter of all claims for long-term care start when a policyholder is between 81 and 85, and an even higher number when the individual is 86 or older – the age when about 45 percent of LTC claims are initiated. To financial advisers, that means their clients face an uncertain and unpredictable timeline for long-term care. Advisers are faced with the challenge of gauging “the probability of a particular client needing care eventually — genetics and lifestyle can factor in — and evaluating available resources to recommend an option,” says CNBC.
For most retirees, the choice comes down to two broad-brush alternatives: either they purchase some form of insurance, or else they self-insure, planning to rely on their own assets to fund long-term care costs. “Other options,” says CNBC, “include leaning on family members or spending down (or shielding) assets to qualify for Medicaid-sponsored nursing-home.” Advisers quoted in the article suggest that people in their 60s today who have roughly $3 million to $5 million in liquid assets are the best candidates to self-insure since income from those assets should cover LTC costs when and if required. As for buying coverage, the solution that CNBC calls “the most straightforward” – a traditional long-term care insurance policy – is too pricey for many middle-income retirees, “contributing to a 60 percent drop in sales since 2012.” As the article adds, “With claims exceeding expectations, many [LTC] insurers also have fled the space” and stopped selling policies altogether.
A Hybrid Life Insurance and LTC Policy May Be Right for You
Another option some advisors recommend is a relatively new hybrid policy that combines life insurance with LTC coverage. “While the particulars of each policy vary,” says the CNBC report, “the idea is that you can tap the death benefit during your lifetime if you need it to pay for long-term care,” although “doing so reduces the amount that your heirs would inherit.” The chief drawback, however, is up-front cost. “You typically need a pot of money to fund it. Some insurers ask for an upfront lump sum, while others allow you to spread the premium payments over a set number of years.” Even though some advisers quoted by CNBC expressed skepticism about the sustainability of the so-called hybrid model, these policies do seem to be gaining in popularity with consumers, with sales up 5 percent in 2018 compared with 2017.
For Today and Tomorrow, Planning is the Essential
Here at Tacoma Elder Care we partner with some great folks in the Puget Sound area who can help you navigate some of these financial concerns. Such as Banker’s Life in University Place, WA. We encourage you to begin the planning process by attending one of our FREE workshops, where you’ll learn about the documents you’ll need to have in place as the cornerstone of your Plan. After that we can help you navigate what else you will need, depending on your personal situation and resources.
Remember, having no plan, is a plan – a bad one!
Contact Bob Michaels of Smith Alling in Tacoma, WA, today for a FREE consultation, or attend one of Tacoma Elder Care’s FREE Workshops where you can learn more about how to get Your Plan under way!
As 2019 comes to a close, we would like to extend our thanks to all of you who have attended one of our workshops, become a client, or supported us as one of our partners.
Tacoma Elder Care is a resource founded and supported by Robert L. Michaels, better known as Bob. Bob is a shareholder at Smith Alling, P.S. on Dock Street in downtown Tacoma, and focuses his practice on elder law, estate planning, business and real estate matters. He has practiced law in the State of Washington since 1984 and has earned a solid reputation in the community for ethical and professional legal services.
Bob and his partners gather once or more a month throughout the year to offer FREE Workshops to the community regarding the importance of building a PLAN for the future. Since the first place everyone needs to begin is to obtain the basic documents that will determine how their Plan will be executed, Bob provides guidance and education about these documents and their importance.
Bob assists clients in preparing contingency-plan documents, such as wills, trusts, durable powers of attorney, health care directives and other documents to determine the management and disposition of their affairs in the event of disability or death.
Plans for 2020!
Why not make this the year you finally get serious about retirement planning! Here at Tacoma Elder Care our goal is to help you build a comprehensive plan for your future. When your financial, legal, housing, medical and family strategies all work together, you are far more likely to enjoy a secure retirement in which your assets are protected, you can avoid becoming a burden to those you love, and you can rest assured no matter what life brings – you’ll be ready for it.
In 2020 we will be adding more Workshops and working with some of the best folks in the Puget Sound area to help you prepare for the future you deserve.
Remember, Bob is always available for a free consultation, and all our Workshops are free. Join our mailing list by clicking HERE, so you can stay informed.
Thank you again for a wonderful year.
Best wishes for a wonderful holiday and a joyful New Year.
Sincerely, Bob Michaels
Tacoma Elder Care