Life Becomes More Complicated, a column authored by Attorney Mikael Hooker, is a wealth of information. He covers everything from living wills to nursing home costs. We are happy to provide copies of his articles here.

 

When clients or the children contact me and say, “we are concerned about asset protection” I often ask “protection from what or from whom?” The answer is generally “the state” or “the nursing home.” In other words, they are trying to protect their savings from catastrophic health care costs.

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In 2012 Massachusetts legislature revamped the laws and procedures for Probate Administration of Wills and Estates. Probate means passing the assets from a deceased person to his or her heirs and/or beneficiaries by way of a Will or intestacy. Intestacy means a person dying without a Will.

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Estate planning: You need three basic documents: Will, Power of Attorney (POA) and Health Care Proxy (HCP).The POA is often more important than the Will. It gives power over your finances in the event you are disabled.

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What happens when an elder reaches the point where he or she can no longer live independently and be safe at home? Must he/she move in with a son or daughter or vice versa? What if that is not feasible? What options exist to provide in-home support so the elder can “age in place”?

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Who pays for in-home care when an elder has no long term care insurance and insufficient assets to pay out of pocket? Medicare only covers skilled care and is not the answer. While some benefits exist under the VA Aid and Attendance program, the program is helpful to a point, but certainly not the cavalry to the rescue.

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