Recent Articles

Follow Us

As many readers of this blog know, our office concentrates much of our practice on long term care planning as well as estate planning, including planning for younger families.  I have always found that our older clients seem to be more aware of FDIC insurance that protects their bank accounts than do our younger clients.  Or maybe it’s just that they talk about it or ask questions about it more often. Having more experience - by virtue of being older - with periods of financial crisis when bank failures are more common, I guess it is only natural that our older clients are more attuned to it.  Yet, during periods of crisis such as the current high inflation rates or the mortgage meltdown back in 2008, it is understandable that the general public focuses more on it.  So let’s jump right in. When a bank collapses like SVB or Signature Bank, what happens to the money its customers have on deposit there?  Do they lose it?  The short answer is “no” or “probably not” and that in large part has to do with government backed insurance offered by the FDIC. Not all banks are FDIC insured banks and not all accounts in an FDIC insured bank are covered by

In my post last week, I wrote about a trend we are seeing with our Medicaid applications - with every approval we get there almost always is something incorrect about the decision.  Last week I told you that some of the mistakes can be easily corrected.  Others, however, require that we file an appeal,  known as a fair hearing. The fair hearing is the first level in the Medicaid appeal process.  The appeal is scheduled to be heard in the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) before an administrative law judge.  Strict timelines apply, however, to the right of appeal.  A notice of appeal must be submitted to the OAL within 20 days of Medicaid’s decision. We have had to file such an appeal in a number of our cases when our requested start date for Medicaid has not be granted.  In other words, our application was approved but for a date later than what we asked for and typically there is no explanation as to why. This happens because rarely do we file the application before our requested start date.  First of all, the mountain of documents required and the level of detail necessary causes the paperwork associated with each application to reach into the thousands of pages.  It can sometimes take

In this week’s blog post I return to the topic of Medicaid.  As I often tell people these days, Medicaid application are more challenging than they have ever been.  But even after we get our cases approved, rarely is there an instance in which the approval is a perfect one. There almost always is something about the approval that is wrong or needs to be modified. For example, the cost share calculation may be incorrect.  Remember that the long term care Medicaid programs are designed with a cost share.  The recipient must give part of his or her income towards the cost of care, with the State picking up the rest.  In the case of a single applicant, there are limited amounts that can be kept from income to cover health insurance premiums and personal needs such as the cost of a cell phone or small personal items. In the case of a married couple where only one spouse is receiving Medicaid benefits, there is a calculation to determine the amount of the Medicaid spouse’s income, if any, that the healthy spouse can keep.  This is known as a spousal allowance.  The healthy spouse’s income and certain housing expenses are factored into the calculation.  It is a somewhat convoluted calculation

The subject of my last two posts has been a proposed piece of legislation introduced by 2 New Jersey legislators in response to a couple of cases reported upon in the media in which seniors were moved into long term care facilities and their asset taken from them by individuals with connections to those facilities, using a power of attorney. The new law would prevent such a person from being appointed agent under power of attorney. The proposed legislation, however, goes further to address some other areas of concern regarding facility admissions agreements.  The law would direct the Department of Health to develop a standard resident admissions agreement to be used by all long term care facilities.  Furthermore, the law would prevent facilities from requiring residents to sign anything other than this standard form as a condition of admission. I have written here about clauses in facility agreements requiring a resident to agree to mandatory arbitration in the event of disputes.  The proposed law would prevent such clauses from being included as part of the standard agreement facilities would be required to use.  A facility would not be able to make signing one a condition of admission.   The proposed statute addresses another area of concern - companies

In my post last week, I wrote about a type of financial fraud targeting the elderly that caught the attention of two New Jersey legislators.  In two cases that were reported upon by the media, a man working with a nursing home convinced 2 seniors to sign powers of attorney appointing himself as their agent.  He then allegedly cleaned out their bank accounts and their homes and placed each of them in a nursing home. There are all types of financial fraud and scams targeting the elderly, a problem that will only worsen as the population continues to age. A bill recently introduced in Trenton is an attempt to protect against the type of fraud outlined above. The law would prevent  An owner, administrator, director, officer or employee of a long term care facility or  A person affiliated with an owner, administrator, director, officer or employee of a long term care facility or Anyone who benefits financially from a long term care facility  from managing the affairs of a resident of a long term care facility or an individual who is in the admissions process to enter a facility, except by way of a court order appointing that person as guardian.  That application also must be made on

There was a movie released a couple of years ago with Rosamund Pike called “I Care A Lot”.  The main character finds elderly people without close family who are living alone.  With the assistance of a doctor who examines and certifies that the senior is  incompetent and in need of assistance, she petitions the court to obtain guardianship over the person and property.  Once appointed, she moves the senior to a nursing home or assisted living facility and steals their money. While the plot of the movie was not based on a specific case, this type of fraud happens more than people realize and it will continue to happen as the population ages.  A couple of similar abuses in New Jersey caught the attention of New Jersey legislators. In those cases a man working with a nursing home convinced 2 seniors to appoint him as their agent under power of attorney.  The allegations are that he then cleaned out their homes and bank accounts.  The seniors were placed in the nursing home as long term care residents and were billed higher than normal rates for their care, with the agent under the power of attorney and the nursing home receiving these funds. The cases received some media attention.  This prompted