Category: Elder Law Planning

New End of Life Law

Medical/Physician’s Orders for Scope of Treatment

Kentucky and Indiana (Ohio Pending)

Did you know that in the last month of life over 50% of Americans go to the emergency room and that 50% to 75% of them get admitted? However, some people might not want to spend the last month of their lives in a hospital. Hospitalization is expensive and usually not considered an ideal place to die. You can avoid these unwanted end of life experiences through proper advance care planning.

The newest tool for advance care planning is medical or physician’s orders for scope of treatment. Nationally this new tool is being referred to as a POLST, which stands for Physician’s Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment.  The National POLST Paradigm is an organization started in Oregon that helps push for the adoption of medical order documents across the country. Over 22 states have endorsed the POLST program, and 25 others are developing similar programs. Kentucky and Indiana are two such states. In Kentucky, these documents are known as MOST or Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment. In Indiana, they are known as POST or Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment. However, Ohio has not been successful in passing a POLST initiative. Ohio’s MOLST (Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) bill has passed the Ohio Senate and has been referred to committee in the House. These documents go by a few different names depending on the state, but generally, they do the same thing.

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How to Have “The Talk” with Your Aging Parents

Remember having “the talk” with your parents in middle school?  That awkward conversation you had with your mom or dad where they tried to explain the facts of life to you while you desperately searched for an excuse to end the conversation?  Well get ready to have another “talk” with your parents, only this time, you’ll be discussing their end-of-life planning, not the birds and the bees.

What does this “talk” need to cover?  Generally, this conversation needs to address the issues surrounding your parents’ twilight years, such as retirement planning, nursing home preferences, funeral arrangements, wills and trusts, powers of attorney, and possible Medicaid planning. Specifically, an estate planning and elder law attorney can identify your parents’ unique estate planning and elder law planning issues and assist with implementing their end-of-life planning strategies.  To have a successful “talk” with your parents, consider using this four-part strategy:

Don’t wait for tragedy to strike

Don’t wait for tragedy to strike before having the conversation.  I often see that families put off talking about these issues until an unexpected illness or death shocks the family, at which time it may be too late to do anything.

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New POA Law Highlights the Need for Estate Planning Review

Financial elder abuse, although often overlooked, is a serious problem in our world today.  As baby boomers age and the average life expectancy rises, the number of elder abuse cases will continue to increase.  More often than not, the abuser in these types of cases is someone in a trusted role – a caretaker, a child, or even an agent appointed in a financial Power of Attorney.  While most agents acting under a Power of Attorney are honest, some have abused their power.  To prevent and punish this kind of misconduct, the Ohio legislature passed the Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA) in 2012.

The UPOAA says that unless certain “hot powers” are specifically granted in a Power of Attorney document, an agent cannot do the following: (1) create a trust or make changes to an existing trust; (2) make gifts; (3) create or change rights of survivorship for certain assets; (4) change beneficiary designations; (5) allow others to serve as the agent; or (6) waive rights to be a beneficiary under certain annuities and retirement plans.

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Online Estate Planning Docs. Can Devastate-Money Can Be A Curse

Reason 2: Ignorance Is Bliss! Don’t be a fool and do your own Generic Online Estate Planning Documents

The second reason in our series on how online estate planning documents can devastate your family and leave them in financial ruin is because online documents are generic and will oftentimes make your plan more complicated and confusing for your family.  If you have ever been in a position where a family member was sick or passed away, you know how much stress the situation can cause your family.  Unfortunately, some people have good intentions of making things easier for their family by using online estate planning documents, but oftentimes that decision just makes matters worse for everyone.  Online document users find it unnecessary to meet with a lawyer because they think that their situation isn’t complicated and that their online Will, Power of Attorney, and health care documents will suffice.  However, online documents are overly generic and usually do not serve the needs of even the most basic family situations.  In Reason 2 of this blog series, I will analyze how generic online documents can make matters worse for your family. More specifically, Part I of Reason 2 will address how customization issues can cause confusion and chaos for your loved ones.

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Back to Basics: Ohio and Kentucky Medicaid

With a record number of people above retirement age in the United States, many children are now facing the challenge of deciding long-term care and medical options for their parents. A large part of the process is dealing with Medicare and Medicaid. However, most people do not truly understand what Medicaid is or how the program works. This article reviews the basics of Medicaid and how it may affect your planning process.

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Elder Law Attorney

When many people retire, they assume that their finances are in order and that they will live out their retirement comfortably in their homes. Unfortunately, as retirees age, the chances of suffering long-term illness or a serious injury tends to increase. Sadly, and much too often, families are not prepared for the changes that can occur when an older family member suffers an injury or illness that may require that person to spend the rest of his or her days in an assisted living facility or nursing home. An elder law, estate planning, and Medicaid planning attorney can help mitigate some of these problems and give families peace of mind by utilizing different tools and strategies to help families plan ahead for these situations.

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Medicaid Planning

Many people wonder how to protect their assets lawfully, while still remaining eligible for benefits like long-term care. The whole notion of transferring assets, in anticipation of a nursing home or assisted living facility, is so that the cost of long-term care (sometimes running upwards of $80,000 annually) can be covered by Medicaid.

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Senior Citizen Issues

Bill Hesch is a Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky elder law attorney who focuses on the complicated legal, tax, and financial planning issues confronting senior citizens. Elder Law, or special needs law, is unique in that it is defined by the needs of the client rather than a particular field of law or other legal distinction.

An elder law attorney will normally address issues including:

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