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Gainesville Florida Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sam Boone Honored at AFELA Meeting

Sam Boone was honored recently at the AFELA (Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys) Annual Meeting and UnProgram for completing a highly successful year as president of the organization. Among the goals achieved under Sam’s watch was a redesign of the AFELA website, making it much more user friendly and valuable to attorneys, the media and the public in general. Also, at the same meeting, Sam delivered a well-received presentation on QSNT (Qualified Special Needs Trusts).


Friday, December 6, 2013

Duties of a Trustee

One of the most important decisions in creating a trust is choosing a trustee. The person creating the trust must choose a trustee that will understand what their duties are, the intent of the person behind the funding and exercise spending power for expenses that fall within the parameters set forth by the terms of the trust.

            Over the past year, two important decisions have emerged from New York which detail the affirmative duties assumed by trustees managing a trust for an individual with special needs.

            The first case memorialized a trustee’s requirement to take reasonable interest in and action on behalf of a beneficiary with special needs. In Matter of JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A. (Marie H.), 2012 NY Slip Op 22387, the trustees left the beneficiary without adequate care, despite his significant inheritance. The court decided that a trustee has a duty “to make themselves knowledgeable about [a beneficiary’s] condition and his needs, and the availability of services that would enable them to provide for those needs.” This duty extends to determining the medical, educational and quality of life needs that can be met by utilizing trust assets. By turning a blind eye to such needs and not approving proper and necessary payments to accommodate such needs, a trustee fails to fulfill their obligations.

            The second case, Liranzo v. LI Jewish Education/Research, focuses on the obligation of a trustee to investigate the public benefits available to a beneficiary of a special needs trust and holds a trustee liable for such a breach. The court determined that it breached its duties by “failing to make the necessary inquiries.

            The lesson to take away from this is to pick your trustees wisely when establishing a trust. Most importantly ensure that your trustee understands their obligation to the beneficiary.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Differentiating between a will and a trust

Many people do not understand what the difference between a will and a trust is. I came across a great article by JDSupra that spells it out very well.          

            A will is a written document that states how your property will be distributed when you die. It must be signed and witnessed.            

            On the contrary, a trust is a written agreement designating someone (a trustee) to be responsible for managing your property. The most common is the living trust; much different from a will that comes into affect after you, as the owner of the assets, pass away. When you die with a trust in place, the assets that are in the trust transfer directly upon your death to your heirs and your family avoids the public probate process.

            Once you have grasped the concept you may be wondering: which on is best for you? It truly depends on preference as well as the size of your estate. Every family is different, and it is difficult to make generalizations about whether a will or a trust is better overall. However, in general if you have minor children, a child or grandchild with special needs, have a certain amount of assets (valued at more than $100,000), or own real estate, a trust could be the better option. 

            To read more refer to this outside source: http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/confused-about-the-difference-between-a-61665/ 


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Important CMS Changes

The Center for Medicare Advocacy has changed its policy for homebound patients. As of November 19, 2013, however, CMS will require Medicare beneficiaries to meet two sets of criteria before their home health agency even considers whether they have an ordinary inability to leave home. Medicare only covers home healthcare if, among other requirements, the beneficiary is homebound. The new policy states the patient must meet two criteria with subfield stipulations:          

            1. The patient must either:

                            - Due to illness or injury, need the aid of supportive devices such  as crutches, canes, wheelchairs, and    walkers; the use of special transportation; or the assistance of another person in order to leave their place of residence

                        - Have a condition such that leaving his or her home is medically contraindicated.

             2. The patient must meet one of these criteria and also meet both of the following:

                            -There must exist a normal inability to leave home;

                        -Leaving home must require a considerable and taxing effort.

 For more information about this new policy please reference the CMS website: http://naela.informz.net/z/cjUucD9taT0zNjIxNzY1JnA9MSZ1PTEwMjQyMTAzMjYmbGk9MTk5MjMxMDQ/index.html


Friday, November 8, 2013

Save Our Seniors Conference

I was honored to be one of the speakers Thursday at a Save Our Seniors event that focused on how we can protect or elders from abuse and neglect. There was some great advice given during the session. Here’s a link to the Gainesville Sun story on the event: http://www.gainesville.com/article/20131107/ARTICLES/131109656?p=1&tc=pg


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

National Caregivers Month

November is National Caregivers Month. I want to take this time to acknowledge the important role that family, friends and neighbors play in caring for sick, elderly and disabled friends and relatives.

           According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, a caregiver refers to “anyone who provides assistance to someone else who is, in some degree, incapacitated and needs help. This can mean taking care of your sick partner, an aging parent or a child with a disability. It is a hard job that often goes without much reciprocity. Caregivers offer a range of services, including emotional and spiritual support, assistance with financial matters, transportation and home- and health-related services.

           I encourage you to show your appreciation with a simple social media posting or organize an event to bring awareness to the growing number of caregivers in our communities across America.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Save Our Seniors Event

I will be one of the speakers at Save Our Seniors event being hosted Thursday, Nov. 7 from 9 am to noon. The topics of discussion will include abuse prevention, neglect prevention and exploitation prevention of the elderly. This event, hosted by Home Instead Senior Care, Elder Options and Westside Baptist Church, will take place at the church. The topics are vital for our seniors and their caregivers. The event is open to the public. Call 333-7700 to RSVP.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

John Hopkins Study on Caregivers

A recent study revealed a truth that contradicts the long standing belief that becoming a caregiver leads to high-stress and a shorter lifespan. The exact opposite is true. The John Hopkins results used the analysis of data previously gathered on more than 3,000 family caregivers. It suggests that those who assist a chronically ill or disabled family member enjoy an 18 percent survival advantage compared to statistically matched non-caregivers. 

            David L. Roth, Ph.D., is the director of the Johns Hopkins University Center on Aging and Health.  He says that the study has uncovered new information on the issue of whether formal or informal caregiving is associated with a higher or a lower mortality rate.

            "In many cases, caregivers report receiving benefits of enhanced self-esteem, recognition and gratitude from their care recipients. Thus, when caregiving is done willingly, at manageable levels, and with individuals who are capable of expressing gratitude, it is reasonable to expect that health benefits might accrue in those situations," added Roth.

            The research is still underway and a greater pool of caregivers should be taken into account. If you are interested in reading the article in its entirety please see the link below.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-10/jhm-jhs101513.php


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

No one plans for cancer

No one wants to think about the possibility of getting cancer. Therefore no one sets aside funds to deal with the financial strife that comes with the side effects of treatment.

            I found a very useful resource that can help you or a loved one deal with all that comes with a cancer diagnosis, especially the finances. Having the resources is critical, Cancer Care’s guide; “A Helping Hand” has a new and improved edition.

            This comprehensive handbook features the most up-to-date contact information and descriptions for hundreds of national and regional organizations offering financial help to people with cancer.

The new edition also provides valuable tips patients and caregivers can use to manage finances and easily access resources. They can take these helpful hints and use them in their specific community.

Healthcare professionals too can utilize "A Helping Hand" to understand the latest accurate information about services that can benefit their patients.

Order copies of "A Helping Hand"completely free of charge today at www.cancercare.org/publications/order.


Monday, September 30, 2013

Interning at the age of 60

Millions of baby boomers cannot afford to nor want to retire and sit restlessly at home. In an article by The Atlantic, a new program was mentioned. It was started by Encore.org and gives older workers the opportunity to stay busy by working with a nonprofit in need of their private-sector expertise for a year.

               The era of long, vacation-style retirements is over, says Marc Freedman, CEO and founder of Encore.org. "That ideal is no longer attainable for individuals, and it's not sustainable for society,” He said.

               Anyone can apply for Encore fellowships, but the majority of so far have spent their careers in the private sector, drawing on expertise in areas like marketing or performance management. Organizations affiliated with Encore.org's fellowship network vet candidates and set up interviews with employers. Nonprofit partners generally provide stipends for the work the interns do, although some are supported by former employers or by foundations. Many of the elderly interns go on to take full-time or part-time nonprofit jobs.

               Encore fellowships help workers get back into this competitive job market. It is usually more difficult for older workers to find new jobs than younger workers, and a bad economy has exacerbated the trend.

               If you or someone you know might be interested, and want to learn more about the program click on the link below.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/09/work-forever-why-interning-at-60-is-the-new-retirement-plan/279381/

 


Thursday, September 19, 2013

National Preparedness Month

We still have a few weeks left in the month of September, and that gives us time to observe, National Preparedness Month.

I came across an article from the Administration for Community Living recognizing what this month marks for those such as myself who spend their career ensuring that everyone is ready for what life throws their way.

No matter your age or health you can be affected by health crises. Whether it is a family member with a disability, an uncle who is suddenly diagnosed with cancer or the caregiver whose needs could become pushed aside – every person has to have a plan.

This article is full of valuable information that can help you be prepared for a health crisis. Please do not wait. Join me in observing National Preparedness Month.

 http://www.acl.gov/NewsRoom/Blog/2013/2013_09_03.aspx


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