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Richardson Elder Law And Estate Planning Blog

The dangers of letting someone else pick your financial adviser

In 2018, a man named Gaylen Rust and his family defrauded investors out of over $200 million. Many of them were elderly people. He was a seemingly upstanding man in his community and his clients highly recommended him. His “profitable” silver trading pool turned out to be a Ponzi scheme.

These word-of-mouth recommendations for financial advisers are not only unreliable, they could leave you vulnerable. Con artists use your willingness to trust family and friends to their advantage.

Skyrocketing nursing home costs? How to keep your home

It is an unfortunate reality that many seniors need to sell the family home to pay for assisted living services or to qualify for Medicaid. There could be a way to save your family home while ensuring that the right person inherits it.

Putting your home in a trust designed for Medicaid purposes could be the answer. However, you should carefully consider the benefits and drawbacks before pursuing this option.

What could happen if your parents’ estate goes to probate?

You may have heard of the head-spinning process known as probate, but you may not know what the process actually looks like, or why it is difficult in the first place.

In Texas, probate, or the settling of someone’s estate by a court-appointed executor, can be simplified if the estate falls under a certain tax bracket. For others the process can involve extensive court proceedings that can last for years.

How do you know if you need a power of attorney?

You may be one of the many people wondering if you need a power of attorney. The easy answer to this question is that everyone should have a power of attorney, no matter their age or health. That may cause you to ask a host of other questions, however, such as why you need one, and what should be in the document. 

How does my parent’s long-term care insurance work?

When it comes time to prepare for your parent’s long-term care, making sense of all their options and what they can afford can be stressful. If they have a long-term care insurance plan, it adds extra complication. How do you make sense of a policy you didn’t buy?

Here are four things to keep in mind as you work through your parent’s plan:

Cause for concern when your elderly parent’s behavior seems off

The decision to put your mom in a nursing home was likely a hard one. It was difficult to come to terms with the fact that the woman who raised you can no longer care for herself. It was even more challenging to entrust a total stranger with her care. In addition, the cost of her residence at such a facility represents a considerable financial burden. But you want what’s best for your loved one’s health and wellbeing, so you made those tough choices.

Shortly after moving into assisted living, however, you notice a marked difference in your mom’s behavior. She’s much quieter and far less engaged. You’re concerned that her mental aptitude is rapidly diminishing. Now imagine discovering that, in fact, your mom has been drugged with antipsychotic medication that renders her virtually catatonic.

Points to Discuss with Your Aging Parent

Your parent is getting on in age, but you don't have a clear idea if there is a plan in place for their care. It is a difficult topic to broach; no one wants to talk about death and the financial realities that come with aging. Instead of having a proactive conversation early in a parent's aging process most families have a reactive discussion under high levels of stress and emotions while their parent is experiencing an adverse health event. The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) has reported that 85 percent of time long-term care decisions are made during a medical crisis. The message is clear, be proactive and start discussing the important financial questions with your parent.

Prepare Yourself

Your parent will be feel more comfortable and at ease if you have processed your feelings before talking to them. Conduct research so that you are knowledgeable enough to present a clear and concise set of options for your parent. Having options allows your parent and family to make decisions and feel in control of the process. You are seeking progress, not perfection. It may not all become settled in one conversation, but the price of silence about your parent's plan may be very costly to you.

The following is an urgent message that could impact you or a loved one.

On September 18, 2018, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) amended the rules regarding eligibility for VA pension. These new rules have drastically changed VA pension planning. VA pension is a monthly cash benefit available to wartime Veterans or surviving spouses of wartime Veterans who have limited income and assets and are in need of care.

Some of the rules that will go into effect on October 18, 2018 are:

Helpful Ways to Pay for Assisted Living Costs

Assisted living rent can vary from $2,000 to $5,000 monthly. Depending on what type of care your loved one needs, assisted living can be the most affordable solution when compared to a nursing home ($5,000 to $10,000 or more per month) or long-term in-home care. If closely monitored medical supervision is not necessary for your aging senior, assisted living might be the best financial choice.

Medicaid

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  • Richard P. Johnson is Board certified Texas Board of Legal Specialization Estate Planning And Probate
  • Wealth Counsel
  • The College of the State Bar Of Texas Professionalism Through Education
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