Free Legal Guides
We have created a number of Legal Guides for our clients and website guests to provide a better understanding of important and oftentimes complex legal subjects. The Legal Guides are offered free of charge, and address a variety of topics.
Please complete the information requested below to order a Legal Guide.
THE BASIC RULES OF MEDICAID ELIGIBILITY
For practical purposes, in the United States the only medical “insurance” plan available to pay for long-term care, provided at home and in an institution, is Medicaid (called “Medicaid Long Term Services and Supports” or “MLTSS” in New Jersey).
Medicare pays for only 23 percent of long-term care costs in the United States, and benefits continue for a maximum of 100 days per “benefit period.” Private medical insurance pays even less. Since few have long-term care insurance, most people pay for long-term care costs privately, out of their own savings, until they spend-down their assets and become eligible for MLTSS.
While eligibility for Medicare is based upon your work history, Medicaid is a public benefit based upon financial need. To be eligible for Medicaid, you must be “impoverished” under the program’s guidelines.
In this informative guide, Attorney Donald D. Vanarelli explains the basic rules of the Medicaid program in New Jersey, how applicants become eligible for benefits, the amount and frequency of benefits available, and the types of care Medicaid benefits can pay for.
NURSING HOMES: PLACEMENT AND RESIDENT RIGHTS
While no one ever wants to move to a nursing home, a lot of people end up there anyway. There are 15,600 nursing homes in the United States caring for approximately 1.4 million residents.
Of these residents, 85 percent are over age 65 and 42 percent are over age 85. These nursing home residents are little able to care for themselves and need all the protection provided them under law and by families and friends.
SPECIAL NEEDS TRUSTS AND SPECIAL NEEDS PLANNING
Parents of children with special needs face a number of challenges when planning their estates in order to provide their children with a secure future. Parents of special needs children must decide how their child will be cared for when the parents are no longer able to provide care, how to ensure that there is enough money to meet their child’s needs and how to leave funds so the child will not give up critical public benefits.
In this informative guide, Attorney Donald Vanarelli discusses the importance of Special Needs Trusts, how they work and what benefits they provide, and how they can be funded and managed without giving up necessary public benefits.
GENERAL QUALIFICATIONS FOR NON-SERVICE CONNECTED PENSION FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) helps U.S. Veterans and their families by providing supplemental income through the Veterans Pension and Survivors Pension benefit programs. The pensions are available to U.S. military veterans and widowed spouses of veterans. Pension benefits are needs-based and “countable” family income must fall below the yearly limit set by Congress.
Determining eligibility can be complex and challenging, especially financial eligibility. In general, the veteran must (1) have served at least 90 days of active duty, with one of those days being during a period of wartime, (2) be age 65 or older, (3) be totally and permanently disabled and (4) have limited or no income and resources.
ASSET PROTECTION FOR SENIORS
Many factors can upset even the best financial plan. Illness, incapacity, the loss of a job, or a premature death can upset even the best financial plan. Fortunately, planning steps can provide considerable protection from these uncertainties of life.
On average, nursing homes in New Jersey cost between $10,000 – $13,000 per month. As a result, paying for nursing homes can quickly impoverish most families. Learn how to protect your assets in the event you or your spouse need long-term care. Learn techniques to protect what you can leave your children and grandchildren.
THE KEY ELEMENTS OF AN ESTATE PLAN
The knowledge that we will eventually die is one of the things that distinguishes humans from other living beings. At the same time, no one likes to dwell on the prospect of his or her own demise. But if you, your parents or other loved ones postpone estate planning, you run the risk that your intended beneficiaries – those you love the most – may not receive all you would hope.
An “estate plan” is the means by which the estate is passed to the next generation. This can be accomplished through a variety of instruments. Problems often arise when people don’t coordinate all of these methods of passing on their estate.
THE PROBATE PROCESS: WHAT TO DO FOLLOWING A DEATH
The emotional trauma brought on by the death of a close family member often is accompanied by bewilderment about the financial and legal steps the survivors must take.
In this guide, we set out the steps the surviving family members should take. These responsibilities ultimately fall on whoever was appointed executor or personal representative in the deceased family member’s will. Matters can be a bit more complicated in the absence of a will, because it may not be clear who has the responsibility of carrying out these steps.
ALTERNATIVES TO MEDICAID: A LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE PRIMER
Don’t look to Medicare to cover the cost of much, if any, nursing home care. As a result of coverage limitations and other regulations, Medicare pays for only about a fifth of nursing home care in the United States.
Once Medicare coverage ends, most who need long-term care in a nursing home pay privately with their own savings for all care costs until they spend down all of their assets and become eligible for Medicaid. One of very few alternatives to Medicaid eligibility is through long-term care insurance.
ALTERNATIVES TO NURSING HOME CARE
One of the greatest fears of older Americans is that they may end up in a nursing home. This not only means a significant loss of personal autonomy, but also a tremendous financial price. Depending on location and level of care, nursing homes cost between $60,000 and $300,000 a year.
Studies show that older Americans prefer to stay in their own homes if they possibly can – not a surprise. As a result, most care is provided at home, whether by family or by hired help. This has many consequences, some of which may be quite unexpected.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARE APPOINTED AS ATTORNEY-IN-FACT UNDER A POWER OF ATTORNEY
You have just been appointed as agent under a durable power of attorney to represent the principal, and now you probably have some very important questions.
Learn what your duties and responsibilities are and how to handle the principal’s financial affairs. What kind of records should you keep? Can you be held liable for your actions as attorney-in fact? What is your role when more than one agent is appointed?
All of this, and more, in Donald D. Vanarelli’s Legal Guide on What To Do When You Are Appointed As Attorney-in-Fact.
GUARDIANSHIP OF THE ESTATE: MANAGING SOMEONE ELSE’S MONEY
Like many people, you may never have been a guardian of someone else’s property before. This Legal Guide will help you understand what you can and cannot do in your role as guardian. In that role, you are a fiduciary. A “fiduciary” means you must utilize the principal’s money only for his or her benefit.
This guide is for family and friends serving as guardian(s) of property.
GUARDIANSHIP OF THE PERSON: DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
A “guardian” is a person appointed by a court to make decisions regarding the person or property of an incapacitated adult. A person is “incapacitated” under New Jersey law if he or she is impaired by reason of mental illness or mental deficiency to the extent that he or she lacks sufficient capacity to govern him/herself and manage his/her personal and financial] affairs. A “ward” is an individual for whom a guardian is appointed or an individual under the protection of the court.
Court-appointed legal guardians make decisions for incapacitated people about personal and medical care, meals, transportation, and even where a ward lives. Guardians also control assets, manage budgets, pay debts, and make all financial and investment decisions for the wards they assist.
This Legal Guide is designed to assist guardians in the performance of their duties.
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