Hi I’m Greg McIntyre, I’m here with Hayden Soloway and today we are talking about spring training.
I thought about this because it’s coming up to spring training season for baseball but this is about spring training for life and getting your bases covered. There are four foundations of elder law that everyone out there from eighteen to one hundred and fifty years old should have covered.
So Hayden, what do you have for us?
HS: Well, we talked about covering our bases and going through the steps to accomplish our goals and I got curious about baseball in general. To me baseball is little league and weekends at the ball park but I started looking at the stats of baseball and there are some interesting things here. Most baseball fans know that Pete Rose has the all-time record for hits, four thousand two hundred and fifty six (4256), and he played three thousand five hundred and sixty two (3562) games.
GM: And regardless of what anyone things of him, he was the best player to ever play the game of baseball, ever. That’s my opinion. You’re going to disagree with me because you’ve got the stats.
HS: No, well, I’m a Cal Ripken fan, he was there every single day and he was dependable but I have become a Yankees fan because my husband is from Brooklyn and he grew up with tickets to the Yankees and the Jets.
GM: A Jets fan huh. Let me tell you why I think Pete Rose is the best player of all time. He was a switch hitter, meaning he had home run power from both sides. He was a mean dude on the baseball field. He didn’t care how big you were, how tough you thought you were, he was running over you if you got in his way. He was steaming home. He had speed, he could steal a base and was an amazing fielder. Rose made it out there whether he was hurt or not and he ran out every ball to first base, foul ball, dropped third strike from the catcher, he was running it out. He didn’t just hustle though, he was a very talented baseball player.
HS: He was an example for a little leaguer.
GM: So, how do you teach a little leaguer to play? Watch how Pete Rose played big league ball. But just like Michael Jordan, there is a lot of players out there who can jump like Michael Jordan and who athletically could be him but they don’t have the mentality, they don’t have the mental game of Michael Jordan every time they step on a court. That’s what differentiates him from the rest, and what differentiates Pete Rose from the rest.
So, we’re talking today about rounding your bases, covering your bases. There are four bases, first, second, third and home base. What we are covering is chapter two in my book, ‘Saving the Farm.’ So, what is the first base of elder law?
HS: Power of Attorney.
GM: General Durable Power of Attorney, which is different than what people think. It really says what a power of attorney is. Do you know why a power of attorney is so important?
HS: When I need things done, I want to rely on a person I trust.
GM: I agree, you want to appoint a very trusted person. It could be a family member. If you don’t trust a person should you appoint them as your Attorney In Fact?
GM: No, you should not because it gives them the keys to your financial kingdom, so you need to appoint a trusted person. It needs to be ‘General’ because it needs to cover every possible scenario. It needs to be ‘Durable’ which means it needs to have a durability clause. A durability clause means it survives incompetency, incapacity, mental disability or lapse of life?
HS: That is a special designation you’re making for that person.
GM: That’s right, I like to set it out as a separate clause within the power of attorney entitled the durability clause. I like to entitle the power of attorney, General Durable Power of Attorney, I don’t want there to be any mistake or misunderstandings as to what this document is.
If it does not have a durability clause in it when you need it, when you are incapacitated, if you are laid up in the hospital and cannot do what you need to do with your personal business, then it doesn’t work. If you don’t have a durability clause at that time it ceases to have power. There are self-interest clauses in power of attorney where a family member such as a wife or daughter that you appoint as your attorney in fact, if you have a clause in there acting against self-interest, then that person cannot perform duties to transfer property or anything that favors or benefits them at all. It can be a real problem for some planning. It can be a safe guard if you don’t trust someone. You want to know if that is in there or not.
HS: I know by just spending times with you at signings and seminars, those documents you produced have every one of those bases covered. Every possible scenario has been researched and it is exactly what it should be.
GM: Also, it needs to be recorded at the local register of deeds in the county where you live because if it’s not and you are incapacitated or incompetent, then it is not good at that time. You can go and record it at that time but usually a family is not focused on that in an emergency situation. General Durable Power of Attorney also avoids guardianship situations. Costly, nightmare, contested (potentially in a courtroom battle) with a family member or sub third party, government agency or another attorney appointed guardian over your money and property. One document, a power of attorney, prevents that. It can save a huge headache having that in place ahead of time.
So, we are going to hustle to second base. The Healthcare Power of Attorney is similar to the General Durable Power of Attorney in that you are appointing a trusted person to make decisions for you. Why would you want to designate someone to make healthcare decisions for you?
HS: I have learned from experience when I’ve gone to the hospital they always ask who they should contact in an emergency because they need to know who that is. Who is it who knows your desires and your medical history?
GM: You know, many times you see the sister from Sacramento or the brother from Boise come in, and maybe there is a son or daughter taking care of mom or dad for years making healthcare decisions, and all of a sudden that sister or brother who hasn’t been around for a long time has a totally different view of care. So, what happens? Who is the doctor, the facility or the staff supposed to listen to? Which sibling or son or daughter do they listen to? It makes it tough on them.
I’d like to use another sports analogy here, you appoint a quarterback. Someone who talks to the doctors and nurses, to the staff and administration. It could be life or death decisions or long term planning decisions. After that they come back and huddle up with the family and they talk. That one quarterback then goes back to the doctors and nurses, staff and administration so it is one consistent message. That is very important for continuity of care, the correct care.
You want your Healthcare Power of Attorney to be HIPAA compliant so you can pull medical records and transfer medical records from facility to facility. Just try doing that without something that is HIPAA compliant. You can’t do it.
Also, with both General Durable and Healthcare Powers of Attorney you also want to think who your back-ups are to come in if your primary appointed individual is unable to fulfill that duty.
So, we are rounding second and headed to third base. Third base is Living Wills.
It is horribly misnamed because it’s not really about living and it’s not about a Will, such as passing property. The actual name that I like to refer to it as, is a ‘Declaration for a desire for a natural death.’ That is where you can take the guilt-ridden decision, and say, ‘I know I have a healthcare power of attorney who is my wife or daughter, but I want to make the decision if I am terminal, incurable, brain death has occurred, or that end of life situation, it is okay to let me go. I go ahead and release from liability my healthcare agent and perhaps the facility and doctors who are following my wishes.’
I think it is still important to keep the human element between a Healthcare Power of Attorney and Living Will, which is the ability for the Healthcare Power of Attorney to step up and say, hey wait a second, I know mom or dad better than you, we are going to wait a couple of days.
So, if we’re playing cards and Hayden has the Healthcare Power of Attorney and I have the Living Will, she can trump me. It is not just a robotic cold document. A Living Will is probably one of the most important documents you ever sign for the most important decision you’ll ever make in your life. It is important to have these things in place.
Okay, we have rounded third and are heading home. Home plate is the Will. It is the fourth foundational document. So, what does a Will do?
HS: A Will designates who will receive the things you own when you pass that you have listed.
GM: It does. Now, we have bagged on Wills and trashed Wills and said they’re just insurance, and I think they are like insurance. I think it is better to set your property up to pass outside of the Will automatically. The financial industry figured this out a long time ago. On a life insurance policy, would you want to put your estate as the beneficiary?
HS: No, I’ll put my children and grandchildren.
GM: Exactly, so why wouldn’t you set up the rest of your property to pass that way? Your land, your home, protect it and pass it outside your Will. Plus, if something passes through a Will, it is subject to probate, to liens coming in. I think a Will is still important to have in place for insurance purposes, so, if there is something that doesn’t pass automatically, something you didn’t think of, setting up something that was not set up properly in the past, then the Will picks it up and gives it to the person you wanted it to go to.
Those are my feelings about Wills and the probate process. It’s more of an insurance to get things where you wanted them to go but it’s not a guarantee. It’s not a guarantee because of the looming numbers of seventy percent (70%) of everyone over sixty five years who may need some form of long term care, assisted living, in-home or nursing home care. This eats up a lot of savings. Sometimes people lose everything they own in the last few years of their life because of the costs of that care.
So, to protect your assets like your home, what would be a home run?
HS: A Ladybird Deed.
GM: That’s right, a Ladybird Deed. So, what is a Ladybird Deed or Advanced Life Estate deed or Enhanced Life Estate Deed as it’s sometimes called?
HS: A Ladybird Deed is a type of life estate deed. It takes the home and designates who it will go to when you pass away but you maintain control of it during your lifetime, and avoids the Medicaid look back period and spend down.
GM: So, you have a look back period for some benefits before Medicaid will come in and offer a healthcare benefit for say, nursing home or assisted living care. The look back is five (5) years for nursing home, three (3) years for assisted living care. A Ladybird Deed can be placed on your house right now under North Carolina policy and you can apply for benefits next month and get them, and they could not touch the house. It avoids the look back periods. That would be the home run.
That foundational package, those four bases, plus the home run would be a great package to put in place for most seniors in North Carolina. It would protect your home and save it for your loved ones. You can read all about this in my book ‘Saving the Farm, a guide to the legal maze of aging in America.’
If you have any questions you can contact my office at 704–259–7040.
I’m Greg McIntyre with a special chef’s version of lunch with a veteran today. Martin Mongiello is executive director of the United States Presidential Service Center and owner of The Inn of the Patriots. He is a 30 Year retired military vet, chef to Presidents, stars and a lucky few under the polar ice cap in a submarine and others.
So, how does a young guy say to himself, I want to do this and somehow the military is going to be a part of it?
MM: I was seventeen, I was trying to do something with my life. I did not want to wait and waste away and I was smart enough to get out of town. That was the first time I flew on an airship. We landed in Texas so I put a check mark for Texas, then I transferred and landed in San Diego for boot camp.
I was just putting one foot in front of the other. I swore up and down there was no way I would sign up for anything beyond four years. It was scary to me, but I ended up retiring in, that’s how hilarious it is. When you’re younger you don’t look back like we do now, and I think that is one of the biggest secrets of life. Listen to the old people because they are trying to tell you something, it’s always coming through in their speech, it’s a message.
GM: You feel like a lot of people are in a hurry, for instance, my seventeen year old is always in such a hurry to do everything perfectly, and get everything done and get into college early. I think we are in too much of a hurry. Learn a trade, a skill, a job, sure, but travel the world and have a great time.
MM: I was afraid to travel the world. For the first ten years, they offer you things like, go live in Japan, all expenses paid, or we’ll fly you and your household goods and you can live in Europe, and I was like, there is no way I’m leaving where I’m from and my family. How silly was that? It took ten years to get pass that. I lived out on Point Loma. That’s the nice part of San Diego, that’s some of the highest priced real estate.
GM: When people think about a military base, they don’t understand. The military bases I was on, the Naval air station North Island, the golf course there looks like something out of a pro golf tournament. You’ve got beautiful weather, the ocean, Point Loma has all the yachts.
MM: People have a lot of their weddings out there if they’re in the military.
GM: I remember the gym I was working out at on North Island, it was several hangars strung together. They would open the hangar doors, there was six basketball courts in there, weights or whatever you wanted. I always had time to do it during my day. I was looking out at several aircraft carriers parked just across the road and the city of San Diego in the back ground. It was a view and that was your day.
MM: I was surface warfare qualified and submarine warfare qualified and I had a weird opportunity where I never even knew I was interviewed by White House military office to do a job. Where I was going, Camp David, was a Seabee run command, so I was a Seabee for a couple of years without having any Seabee training.
GM: So, Seabees are people who put up construction.
MM: Airstrips and such. Camp David was always in need of endless construction. We built a few cabins while I was there and just kept up the facility. It is on top of a mountain after all.
GM: We build, we fight.
MM: Yeah. Who knew I was going to be a Seabee, I never planned on that.
GM: But food is your life, and centers around it, and that is something that people who aren’t involved in the military, especially the Navy, may not know. From second hand knowledge, my suspicions are the Navy has some of the best food. I can tell you, even going out on aircraft carriers the cooks are serious about their job. It’s one of the best run departments on the ship.
MM: Any number of entrees.
GM: They will fry up an omelet with anything you want in it, and you learn to order quick because they are servicing so many people. Hash, bacon, sausage whatever.
MM: Food has certainly gotten better in the military.
GM: I heard submarines have some of the best food.
MM: They do, we get more money so it makes it easier per day. You can get fifty-five or so more per person per day, so instead of feeding a human with seven dollars and fourteen cents, you’ve got seven dollars and seventy cents. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot to people but that is what food costs the US Government. People might say, how can you feed a person for seven dollars fourteen cents a day? When I first went in the Navy in eighty three right out of high school, we had a lot of junk food. We had third world butter and stuff that was clearly marked for donation by US Aid program. That was what we fed sailors and marines, some of the worst products, and contributed medically to terrific damage cardiovascularly. In the beginning when I first came in we used animal lard and the Navy was very proud we were switching to Crisco? We would only be ingesting Crisco from now on. What we know now is eating Crisco is also not a good thing. Crisco is kind of horrific. You get smarter and you change what you’re doing so the food has come a long way.
About that ten year mark in the Navy, when I was recruited by the White House military office, just as I started doing a lot more than managing hotels, I started managing private homes. The biggest homes you could manage would be the Presidents private home.
GM: How do you get to that point? You went in the military, you were a Seabee, how did you start cooking? Did you start cooking in the military?
MM: Yes. I was cooking in my house from around the age of four. I always loved cooking, so when I went into the military that was a huge aspiration. To pay for my private all boys catholic high school, which was very expensive, I worked in Italian restaurants and for iHop and worked these all summer long so I could save enough. In my senior year I worked full time at iHop which was hilarious. Twenty one years later when I was retiring, the CEO of iHop sent me an apron, hat and a letter to my retirement ceremony. It was hilarious to see it come full circle. That’s how I got cooking, and that lead me to hotel management school in the Navy.
GM: Why would the Navy have hotel management school?
MM: Because of barracks, housing millions of sailors on land per year. As soon as I graduated from that, I did four years at sea which is how the Navy goes, when you’ve done that you get to come on land. My first duty station on land was a huge resort in Pensacola Florida, the cradle of Naval aviation, that’s where I had a fifteen hundred room hotel that I was helping to manage. I was one of the managers and on duty general manager of the entire resort. That was a massive responsibility for a twenty or something year old. I was like twenty two, and that’s how the military works.
GM: They give you massive responsibilities at a young age.
MM: The military philosophy is, push down the most responsibility as humanly possible onto the eighteen years old back, neck and face. If it’s not something that’s unsafe, it will be pushed down onto them. Then if you want to become a chief, I was acquainted with the philosophy of, here’s how we will know if you are a good chief or not. When you go on thirty day vacation, called leave in the military, if everything runs like a clock and no-one can tell you’re gone for a month, and we don’t need to call to ask one single thing, or send an email or text, you have done your job as Chief Petty Officer. If stuff goes out of control or haywire, then you’ve not done your job.
GM: That’s because you are doing everything as the chief to keep everything running? Instead of delegating it to other people.
MM: That’s the problem, the military teaches that you will not hide any information, or skills, you will immediately remove all knowledge you bring to the workforce and give it to the eighteen year old, which is different than out in town. People hide information for job security, they won’t teach everything to some snot nose kid.
GM: I had to learn this to be a good manager. A manager does not do all the jobs. In fact, the game becomes, how quickly can I get this hot potato off my plate into someone else’s hand to accomplish that. I do not want to be the bottleneck. I want to oversee the process and make sure everything works. That’s hard as an attorney, someone who is so used to doing everything, having to find great people to hand those things off to. You make a great point, the military does not care that you are eighteen, they fully expect you to accept the training and responsibility and step up and get it done. They will show you how it’s done and if you do it wrong they will let you know.
Why do you think the private sector doesn’t operate the same way? I think there is some of what you say in the private sector but I think there is too much coddling. Kids stay home too long, then they go to college and they coddle them, then they go to more college and the same. Why don’t we put more responsibility and more faith in young people like the military does?
MM: The mass proliferation of the computer was not where we needed it, not like today. Today a child can attend college with just a laptop while living in Australia working at the American Embassy on a two year program, but still be in college in the US. You could send a kid to Zaire with the Presbyterian church on a program but the kid is in college doing his or her degree.
GM: I think we need to put more responsibility and faith in our kids, I suppose that’s what I’m getting at. The military does put that faith in you and expects you to step up. You’re tested so they know what your aptitude is and puts you in a job that coincides with that. Do you think that was a good thing to put that responsibility on your back, neck and face to start out with?
MM: I didn’t appreciate it then like I do now. I worked one hundred and twenty six hours per week because when you’re at sea, you’re either working or training, or doing your watch.
GM: We were on twelve hour shifts unless there was an emergency. When I first started, I worked on Hawkeye radar systems and I’d go out with a senior tech who knew the system like the back of his hand. We supported that airwing. That was four planes. Each was kept up twelve hours then switched out, so we kept the radar part of the aircraft up and running. That was our job. If we didn’t have it running, essentially the whole carrier group was blind. That was on the heads of some young guys. That kind of responsibility is put on you.
MM: I liked what the secretary of the Navy said with this promotion for the first female four star Admiral in United States history, he said, this is direct proof how far this country has come. Not only is she a lady but she is a black lady, and he stated this shows how far she has taken the United States because she wasn’t a token black lady, she worked her buns off for that position.
GM: The military is very diverse. Let’s get back to this, how did you learn to cook? I know you said you cooked before the military but were you a chef in the military as well?
GM: At what point when you were managing these hotels did you become a full-time chef in the military?
MM: As soon as I graduated basic cook school in San Diego, the guys came through and said they were recruiting for a new submarine. This was in the beginning at eighteen.
Boot camp, then cook school, then I flew to nuclear submarine school in Groton, Connecticut. I graduated that and went to my first boat the USS Sunfish and I was living in Charleston for four years. So, you’re under water, there is nothing to do, it’s seven days a week, eighteen hours a day, just cooking, it’s easy to rack up one hundred and twenty six hours a week. That’s really where I learned how to cook the best. In fact, Hillary Clinton used to ask me in her kitchen, where did you learn to cook all this gourmet food, and I would tell her, self-taught in a sewer pipe first lady. She would say, in a what? Inside a sewer pipe with one hundred and fourteen other men who generally used F and MF every third word, that’s where the learning center was. I never went to culinary school. That was my big dream when I retired was to go to college and I just graduated from Charlotte in 2010 summa cum laude at the arts institute with a bachelor’s degree. I used the post 911 G.I bill. I was the first duel enrolled student for the art institute in history under the post 911 G.I bill.
GM: What’s different about the post 911 G.I Bill?
MM: In the sixties and seventies they had a thing called VEAP, Veterans Education Assistance Program, and I was on VEAP. It was kind of like, you put in a dollar we’ll give you two. So, you could rack up three times the amounts.
GM: With classes while in the military I think I had to pay for a third.
MM: I did to while I was in but I didn’t have enough to get a degree. MGIB would pay ten times what you invested. The new post 911 G.I Bill has some requirements, and it’s based on percentages. I was one hundred percent qualified because I exceeded the three years in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. And for the first time it said you should be able to attend some courses online. The biggest thing is the payment for a certain amount of money for a housing allowance, so someone can go to college and still pay their rent. That has never been granted before.
GM: You talked very casually about talking to Hillary Clinton in her kitchen, can you tell me more about being a chef to Presidents. How does that happen?
MM: Only the Navy works in the White House staff mess, and only the Navy runs two restaurants underneath the Oval Office. Reservations are booked thirty to ninety days in advance at every table. The Navy also runs a take-out counter, sometimes up to a thousand gourmet lunches a day for staffers. Obama had four hundred and seventy three people on his staff, those people are all hungry. The worst thing those staffers could do would be to go out for lunch because you would have to go through security to get to your car which is super far away.
GM: So, you were recruited to work in the White House?
MM: Yes, I did state dinners and special events in the White House. I never knew the Navy did all the cooking. No other service is allowed. My Captain was explaining this to me one day. He said, we also run the Camp David resort. With you having graduated first in your class for law enforcement academy and doing all these special schools with the Marine Corp and Anti-Terrorism, and being a cook and having graduated from hotel management school, we think you’re the perfect candidate for Secretary of the Navy to nominate you for Presidential duty. I was like, alright, sir, yes sir. It was weird being invited into his state room. I had never been in that man’s state room other than to clean the baseboard and dust.
GM: But they had a job to fill and somehow because of all that training you came up.
MM: It was God’s plan.
GM: I say that, at the time I could not see why when I was doing this and that but looking back, those pieces of the puzzle fit. They make sense and make me who I am today. It sounds like all those different trainings made you the perfect candidate.
MM: You work with veterans and the law, so, as a veteran who would you rather go to for advice? The person who graduated from boot camp right? What it took for my wife Stormy just to graduate boot camp and to make it to the fleet is not something to take lightly.
GM: I say boot camp or any other school in the military or in civilian life is not meant to weed people out, it’s meant to get you through if you play ball. Do what is asked, have a decent attitude and you’ll be fine.
So, you go to the White House and then you get sent to Camp David?
MM: I was groomed and picked. I knew I was going to Camp David to work from the beginning. It took about a year and a half, so it was under H.W Bush when I was initially interviewed and selected. There were fifty six chefs that went through the interview that day and they picked three. About a year and a half later it was down to two of us who made it. This was where the United States will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to clear you and investigate both sides of your family. You can get bumped by close family members, it’s not just about you anymore.
GM: That makes sense, you might end up cooking and serving food to the President of the United States, that’s a big deal. That’s one of the most important jobs you could have.
MM: And people there know who you are and where you are.
GM: I’m sure they watch you.
MM: You must know what to do. If they test you to take a bribe in the men’s room at Lowes for eighty thousand dollars in tens to see if you will call it in on the phone within an hour and report it like you were taught by the CIA, and they will tell you, oh yeah, we were just testing you 14592. Don’t worry we will meet you and get the money, just make sure you don’t finger any of the five thousand with the purple band or take anything. But it’s the people who don’t call it in.
We had a thing at Camp David called the Sequoia Express, it was a blacked out car which would drive up and the agents would get out and everyone would start to scurry. They would go over with a magistrates order, and you could see it had a gold embossed seal, and they would say they were here to pick somebody up, and it would be like a sailor or a marine, and it’s like, you’ve got to be kidding me, that guys been in the military for twenty seven years, what did he do? You might hear weeks later that they went down to his house that night, cleared his children out of school, trucks down there, they emptied the whole house out, his wife and everything gone by the morning. They had a social services lady in there to interact for him to say goodbye to the children for an hour.
GM: So, quick question, how many Presidents did you serve under?
MM: I served four Presidents. I was hired under H.W Bush, Bill and Hilary Clinton, they did not allow a lot of people in the house ever. There were other Presidents who would come and visit the White House from different countries and you’ve got to cook for them and take care of them, and famous stars and CEO’s would sleep over at the White House at night. One night a guy that I really liked Steve Jobs was there for dinner and the White House Usher told me, oh he’s staying overnight too. That’s unbelievable man, cooking for Steve Jobs.
GM: So you met Steve Jobs?
MM: I didn’t meet him or shake his hand because you don’t bother them, that’s not your place.
GM: You’re not there to be seen.
MM: But it was still cool to be cooking for Steve Jobs and then he was hanging out staying the night. I only had one question; on the paper why does it say PIXAR, what is that? Oh, you didn’t hear, you didn’t know he was thrown out of Apple. I’m like, What, Steve Jobs, and he said, you don’t need to keep saying the man’s name. They’ll probably make a movie about what happened in ten or twenty years. Did you watch the movie?
GM: Oh sure.
MM: Just guests like that, it was unbelievable. From there I went to Japan and cooked for Prime Minister Hashimoto, I went into the deserts to cook for King Abdullah the second and his wife Queen Ranja. I worked at NATO cooking for the United States and United States Embassy.
GM: And now you employ those talents at The Inn of the Patriots in Grover, North Carolina which is right off eighty five on exit 2 (I 85, exit 2). You are also the owner of the United States Presidential Service Center in Grover North Carolina.
MM: Our bed and breakfast is called The Inn of the Patriots. There is a museum inside and a Presidential center. We have two gift shops there, the culinary school and we do consulting for resorts and private homes.
GM: Thank you for coming here, sharing and talking with me about your incredible service, it’s a real honor.
If you have any questions about Senior or Veteran’s Benefits, please contact me at 704–751–8031.
Good morning I’m Greg McIntyre the Elder Law Guy getting ready here with Hayden Soloway and our host the famous Milton Baker.
I am really excited today because I have my first ‘Press Conference’ as President of McIntyre Elder Law.
We will be shutting down the lines for the press but the information we put out on the elder law report today will be real and valuable to you.
I’m going to channel my best Donald Trump, I don’t know if that’s good or bad and there may be some backlash about it but it’s not something I’m scared of, I have Hayden here to defend me.
HS: Wow, you have a lot of confidence in me.
GM: Well, you’re going to be attacking me today, right?
HS: Yes, as well as I can.
GM: So, let’s get this show on the road. I don’t know if I can hang in there for an hour and a half like the Trumpster did a couple of days ago, what do you think Hayden?
HS: I’m ready.
GM: Today we’re going to talk about our administration, how the office is doing and I will be fielding questions about elder law from the lion press roaring to get a story, but I am prepared. I have been working hard for this. I spent two and half years researching and writing my book ‘Saving the Farm,’ A practical guide to the legal maze of aging in America, and Hayden, what is that book about?
HS: It’s about what you do. It’s about how seniors can protect their hard-earned money and property, it’s about Veterans benefits such as Aid and Attendance, you can look in the table of contents for specific topics and you will learn something.
GM: You have a saying about this book that I love.
HS: It is a reference book that reads like a novel.
GM: It really does because there is a great story in there and it also serves as a reference guide to seniors for many areas they’re dealing with on a daily basis, and areas and issues that seniors families are facing not just in the legal world but in the long-term care world. Getting your legal foundations in place, what are Ladybird Deeds and the difference between them and Life Estate deeds? What is tax planning? There are all kinds of things and more in the book. I interviewed experts in their fields to make sure each chapter had as much as I could offer. One of those experts was Teepa Snow who is a world-renowned expert on Dementia and Alzheimer’s. This was one of the best interviews I have ever done and I’m so proud of it.
HS: That was the hardest interview we’ve ever arranged. You had to do the interview while she was travelling. It was remarkable we could do it at all.
GM: I am so grateful to her for that interview. Her website is teepasnow.com, a positive approach to brain change.
I’m quite nervous, this is our first official press conference for McIntyre Elder Law, so why don’t we get this going.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, thank you for being here today. I watch the news stations such as CNN and others. Some of them I like and some are telling a lot of lies about elder law and creating a lot of misconceptions that I wanted to clear up in this first press conference. Also, I am appointing Hayden Soloway as my senior ambassador as long as she accepts that position.
HS: I do.
GM: So, let’s go CNN, I know you’ve been lying about elder law.
HS/press: I have seen your book, and I really fail to see the point of an elder law attorney. If I have everything in my Will, I’m fine, aren’t I? How can you explain that? I’m serious about this.
GM: Well, I’m serious about answering your question. The reason you need an elder law attorney is the same reason that if you get a speeding ticket then you need someone who really handles traffic tickets. Someone who knows how to do that and knows that area because that is where their head, mind and research is. Just like Teepa Snow, who is an idol of mine, she has latched on like a pitbull to everything about dementia, the good the bad and the ugly, I do the same thing. When a pitbull bites, it’s jaws lock so you can’t get it to let go, you want that kind of tenacity. You want someone who is tenacious about speeding tickets if you get a speeding ticket, who can represent you the best way possible. This is the same if you were in a wreck, you would want to call someone in personal injury law and nothing else.
There are plenty of attorneys who do great with a general practice but the law is a big place as one of my law professors told me. If you can find one area that you are passionate about and learn and keep up with everything you can in that area, that niche you will be so far ahead of a general practitioner trying to figure out that area. For me, elder law became that niche.
HS: But I want you to answer my question. Elder law can’t be any different from any other area of law. In your book you talk about someone needing a power of attorney, why shouldn’t I just go and get a guardianship? I don’t understand why you recommend all these things when it’s just so simple.
GM: So, are you an attorney? No, okay. There is a lot of street lawyers out there, who give advice about things they have no real understanding of. I am a member of Elder Counsel which is a national group of elder law attorneys, I spend a lot of time studying in that area, and the reason you want to get an elder law attorney to look at issues involving seniors is because they have their focus on elder law issues. They spend their time drafting documents relating to seniors and elder law. That is the reason. I have a deep bench behind me with elder counsel, attorneys from North Carolina and across the country, that assist me and I assist them to make sure we can solve problems, unique problems that I may not have seen before. Have you ever heard the term, ‘iron sharpens iron?’
GM: Here’s what it means: You want to get someone who knows what they are doing in a specific area of law, they have the knowledge and resources to do it. You asked why is it different from any other area of law, well, I’m not a fan of wills, yes, I do them, but if we sit down, we are going to talk about alternative options for passing your property and avoiding probate, while also staying in control of your property for the rest of your life.
One of the guiding tenets of my elder law practice is, to keep a senior in control of their assets as long as possible and then open up and keep open health care and benefit options for that senior.
Let me ask you something, how many seniors, according to a 2005 US Department of Health and Human Services Report, are going to need some sort of long term care during their lives? Seventy percent (70%) of seniors according to the report are going to need some kind of long term care, in home, assisted living, or nursing home care. So, when I’m meeting with a family or seniors, I have one eye on that statistic. I have one eye on the fact that I know families who have had to spend down all their hard-earned money and property and lost the house because Medicaid had to come in and pay for that nursing home or assisted living stay. There are ways to prevent that. There are simple ways to protect your property. Ladybird Deeds are a great example of that. If you plan ahead, Life Estate Deeds can do that. There is deed and trust planning and all kinds of plans that can be made to pass your property.
Do you have payable and death beneficiaries on your checking accounts?
HS/Press: I have one on my insurance account.
GM: The financial industry is way ahead of the legal industry on this. So, you can get an insurance policy like you said, and do you pass it through your will, is the estate beneficiary on your policy? You probably pass it directly to an individual that’s how most people set up their insurance policies, or annuities, 401k’s, or IRA’s right? You’re not going to pass it through an estate because going to the courthouse and probating that money will open it up to liens.
When you probate a will, you publish in the paper for four consecutive weeks, you wait ninety days (90) from the first day of publication. Is that so people can send money to your estate? No. It’s so people, creditors, Medicaid can place a lien on that estate.
You can pass assets easily outside the will and estate. Also, there are bank accounts, it’s a little known thing called ‘Payable and Death Beneficiaries,’ or ‘Transferrable on Death Beneficiaries,’ where you can add children to your bank account but not give them any power to do anything, like a joint owner with rights of survivorship but just have them get the money should you pass away, and it doesn’t have to go through your Will. It sounds as if I’m talking myself out of writing Wills doesn’t it? I think it is important to have a Will, because that’s life and an insurance policy, a Will is a catch all to get something from where it is right now to where you want it to go.
I need to put out a disclaimer on this show because I’m not your attorney unless you hire me, and I won’t quit unless you fire me. I am an attorney in the state of North Carolina and we’re talking about elder law issues in the form of a press conference, so do we have another question?
HS/press: I have a question. I did my homework and found out I can give ten thousand dollars ($10,000), I think it’s now fourteen thousand dollars ($14,000) to my kids, and I can put my house in their name, so why do I need to protect my assets?
GM: This is a common thing in the accounting world, the ten thousand which is now fourteen thousand, I could give that amount of money to everyone in town and not report it to the IRS essentially. That works with the estate and gift tax. The estate and gift tax work together now. You can give away up to five million four hundred thousand dollars ($5,400,000) during your life, or at death when you pass through your estate. Here’s an example; The reason I would have to report something over say fourteen thousand ($14,000) is so they can record it and track it. Let’s say Mrs Churchill, when I give you a million dollars, you’re going to report that, and I’m going to give that to you during my life because you are beautiful and made a dress out of curtains, and I love that about you because you’re so resourceful. But, when I die, I can only then give you four million four hundred thousand dollars ($4,400,000). That million subtracts from it.
A lot of people get into big trouble because they might run into a long-term care incident and they are going to have to access Medicaid to pay for assisted living or nursing home care but they’re giving away all this money to grand kids or kids. Those gifts are trackable and Medicaid will go back and look for five years for nursing home Medicaid which is called ‘Long-term Medicaid,’ and three years for assisted living Medicaid called ‘Special Assistance Medicaid,’ they will go back and look at those look-back periods and ask, have you given any unauthorized gifts or unauthorized transfers under our rules, and those are unauthorized transfers under those rules. This can handicap people in getting needed healthcare benefits.
Seniors need to consult someone who knows about these things before they engage in major gifting because if it’s anything out the ordinary, and ordinary would be Christmas or Birthday gifts or tithes to the church, that could prevent you from getting the much needed healthcare benefit you need to pay for care. Medicaid might say, look, all the kids and grandkids have to give back all the money so mom or grandma can get long-term care before we will provide that benefit. The issue is, the kids might have spent that money already, then you’re in trouble.
HS/Press: I may need to go into a nursing home and I don’t have much money, and my houses are in my kid’s names. I want to know what to do about it because I can’t do things for myself anymore. In your book you say you can help veterans so what can you do for me?
GM: I do help veterans but that is a two-part question. Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefits are something we activate for veteran’s families all the time. That is for a veteran, or spouse of a veteran, or spouse of a deceased veteran. Aid and Attendance is a pension benefit but you must have a current need. It can help pay for nursing home, in-home, or assisted living care. Once activated, it’s a pension benefit that goes for the rest of your life. It’s a little-known benefit that the VA doesn’t advertise that much.
You mentioned homes earlier, I get that question all the time. At what age should I give away my house or houses, or my money or property to my kids?
If that is the state of the government, if that is the state of the environment, if that’s the state of the policies today, then something is dreadfully wrong. I do hear that question from seniors on a regular basis. It’s the wrong question. I say there is never an age when you should start to give all that away. I had a law professor talk about Wills, Trusts and Estates, and dead hand control of assets. I pictured a hand sticking up from the grave with a remote control. With Trusts, you can control those assets far beyond when you pass away.
I have seen seniors get in tough situations when they give away their assets, either from long-term care situations and can’t obtain much needed health benefits from Medicaid, or do not have kids that treat them properly and throw them out of the house because the senior no longer has control over the property. No matter the best of intentions, I have seen families break apart when money is in the picture. It’s like blood to sharks.
I am always glad to come and see a client at home or at one of our meeting places in Asheville, Charlotte or Shelby or anywhere in-between. I had another attorney who is very successful, he said, do you think your clients like to gather up all their crap and come into your office, I had never thought of it that way. Attorneys like to show off the big mahogany desk but the clients are always more impressed by what an attorney can do for them and how they care for their client. We routinely go to clients and our potential client’s homes.
I’m Greg McIntyre of McIntyre Elder Law. Call our office at 704–259–7040.
I’m Greg McIntyre and this is the Elder Law Report. We have some special guests with us today. Joining us is Rebecca Higgins, President of DAR, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and we’ll be talking to my partner in crime, Joe Seidel.
Joe and I have done tons of events together. Joe runs Bayada Home Healthcare out of Shelby North Carolina.
So, Hayden, have you something happy for us?
HS: Isn’t there something within Trusts about responsibility to take care of pets?
GM: We draft that into Powers of Attorney that says you have the power to manage somebody else’s pets. Also, people will leave money set aside in Trust to take care of pets and appoint someone as the caretaker. Sometimes you will see people set up pet trusts, and we can draft those as well.
So, Joe is a great ambassador for Bayada but let’s hear it from him, Joe, what is Bayada Home Healthcare?
JS: Bayada Home Healthcare has been in existence since 1975, and we are the largest privately owned healthcare company in the country. We operate in twenty-two states and are getting ready to move into our fifth country. We provide in-home services basically from the cradle to the grave. We provide pediatric services, adult services, geriatric services. It can be from small services such as providing someone with companionship, up to and including taking care of someone who might have a tracheostomy or who is on a ventilator. In some locations, we do hospice, and we also have services for people with intellectual disabilities. We have a huge range of options. The most important thing we do is enable people to stay in the comfort of their own home.
GM: Would you rather be in an institutional setting or in your own home? Now, there is great institutionalized facilities out there like nursing homes and assisted living facilities and they serve their purpose, and home healthcare isn’t for everyone, but you can just contact Bayada and see how you can pay for in-home care.
Joe, if people need in-home care now, and we’re talking skilled nursing level of care, or help with bathing, or help getting going in the morning, getting dressed, help with shopping, and these are your broad range of services, how can people contact you?
JS: You can call our Shelby office at 704–669–4000. We try to be a community resource, we want to talk to people and we know not everyone is going to choose our services but we have an information confirmation office which allows us to check your benefits, (with your permission of course,) and find things such, as do you have any long term care policies, does your commercial insurance pay for the services, Medicare, Medicaid, the waver programs? We do veterans benefits and also we do private pay.
There is a lot of options to pay for this. This is an emotional decision, so we like to sit down and find out what people’s needs are, how we can meet those needs, figure out how to pay for them, and work through it on an individual basis. We are happy to talk to anyone and walk them through this journey.
GM: How soon should people call?
JS: We have had people who need services that afternoon, and we go out and provide those services with care but it is always better to prepare.
GM: It’s about peace of mind and putting things in place ahead of time. We do this through estate planning, so, instead of coming to me in an emergency situation saying, I need the Medicaid benefit or veterans benefit right now, we handle that, we have departments to deal with those situations but it’s easier and more cost effective to a family to plan ahead.
JS: If the planning is done ahead of time it takes out some of the emotional impact because this is a very emotional decision. People get to that place where they are exhausted, there are millions of unpaid caregivers in the country that take care of their loved ones, and many get to that point where they just can’t do it anymore, and so if they can do it ahead of time, it can take some of that emotion out of it.
Another thing we don’t talk about much is we provide respite services. Sometimes the caregiver just needs a break, they need to get out of town.
GM: Look at life expectancy of family caregivers, it’s diminished, it’s decreased, and many times family members who are giving care die before the person they are giving care to.
JS: Yes, I don’t know how many times I have seen that in my career, and it is true. The earlier people plan, the more the emotional aspect and the stress, to some degree, is taken out of it, but we are there whether it’s pre-planning or the, we need you today situation.
GM: We called this, seminars and speeches, because we are trying to bring a level of education to you, your family and your group. That’s part of what we do, bring you quality content as a community service to say, look, know your options, know what’s out there. We do this on a regular basis, and when I say we, I mean McIntyre Elder Law firm and intelligent people like Joe Seidel of Bayada Home Healthcare. Joe and I have done a lot of seminars and speeches together. My law firm give speeches to veterans at senior centers and I’ve done a couple of hundred seminars and speeches over the last few years from Charlotte to Asheville North Carolina.
HS: We are working hard to educate people because a lot that people think they know about this stuff but you would be surprised at what you don’t know. We try and help people to make better decisions, that’s part of our focus, education.
GM: We come in and talk to you about that pre-planning and foundational seminars, we talk to you about saving your home.
JS: Education is part of our community resource. There are so many people who do not know what is available and we are happy to speak any time, any place, to any group.
GM: We provide these seminars free of charge and sometimes we provide lunch and sometimes the groups we are speaking to provide lunch for us. To get in touch with us our number is 704–259–7040 and we are all over social media.
Our Facebook page is McIntyre Elder Law, or go to our website mcelderlaw.com and sign up for our e-newsletter and that is going to inform you of all our seminars and speaking events that we have going on.
Now, we also have Rebecca Higgins with us who is president of the Daughters of the American Revolution who meet every Thursday at 11 at the Cleveland Country Club. The Daughters of the American Revolution, are there more chapters or groups in other counties?
RH: Yes, there are, and we are also worldwide now. We have chapters overseas, in England, believe it or not. We are a service organization, only for women eighteen years and older and we are all descended from a patriot. That can be someone who either fought in the American revolution or provided material support. As a matter of fact, one of my ancestors provided whiskey for the soldiers.
GM: That was very important.
RH: They thought it was.
GM: So, it’s a service organization, tell us more about the Daughters of the American Revolution? I wish I could join.
RH: Well, you can be a HoDAR which is a husband of a Daughter of the American Revolution.
GM: I’ll have to get my wife to check into that.
RH: We help find your ancestors, we have ladies who specialize in doing the genealogy who trace it back and find someone.
This is a shout out to Joe with Bayada healthcare, because no matter what your age, looking at elder care for your parents or for yourself, or to see how your children are going to help you is such an important topic. I cared for my mother-in-law for two and a half years in my home and it is one of the more difficult things I ever did. It does exhaust the caretaker and it is stressful and I wish I had known about the resources we have available to help care for my mother-in-law. It was only in the last month she lived with us that I started to get help from outside and it made a difference.
GM: Joe is a great presenter, that’s why I like to present with him, it elevates your game if you present alongside someone who is a good presenter. I want to thank you both for coming on and sharing your messages. I know the Daughters of the American Revolution is a wonderful service and a charitable organization and you can look them up at www.dar.org, and Bayada Home Healthcare at www.Bayada.com.
I’m Greg McIntyre of McIntyre Elder Law. Call our office at 704–259–7040.
I’m Greg McIntyre and today I would like to introduce Earl Mace who is a Veteran of the National Guard and United States Air Force. You were in the National Guard since you were a kid, right?
EM: Yes, I joined around 1955. I was eighteen maybe.
GM: What motivated you to join the National Guard?
EM: I lived about half a block away from where they met and when I was a kid that was our baseball field, our activity place. It was probably the largest building in Shelby for any kind of gathering. When they marched the kids in the neighborhood would go set up chairs, and when we were old enough we learned to march with them. We would go down there and march along and they let us stay as long as we wanted.
GM: How long were you in the National Guard?
EM: Two years and then I went in the Air Force.
GM: Why did you go in the Air Force?
EM: I had two brothers and a brother-in-law in the Air Force so I thought it was my obligation to follow them. There was a lot going on around here at the time, cotton mills and things like that for work but I was adventurous so why not see the world.
GM: When people ask me why I joined the Navy I would like to say the reason is I’m patriotic, I want to serve my country but it wasn’t just that. My dad was in the Navy and it worked well for him. I wanted to get out of town and see the world and have a different experience and adventure. That was what the Navy allowed me to do.
EM: My first thoughts were to join the Navy. The Air Force, the Army and the Navy recruiters were all in the same building, and I went two or three times to see the Naval recruiter but he was never there. Me and my friends always talked to the Air Force recruiter every time we went in there and he finally talked us into joining.
GM: I’ve heard nothing but great things about the Air Force, especially the bases, that they’re top-notch compared to Army, Marine or Navy.
EM: I was always at a good place. I started off with basic training at San Antonio, Texas, that’s where everybody goes when joining the Air Force. From there I went to Cape Cod, Massachusetts which was a very nice place. That was where the girls were.
GM: And that was where you wanted to be?
EM: Well, that was where they sent me, I didn’t know at the time but it turned out fairly good.
GM: So how was Cape Cod?
EM: It was great. I loved fishing and different places so it suited me fine. When I got my orders, it said I would be going to Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts and I thought, my lord, what kind of place is that. But I rode the train and Buzzards Bay happened to be the nearest train stop to the base.
GM: How was Air Force boot camp?
EM: Nothing to it. I’d been through the National Guard already so I knew how to march. The basics of the military can be hard for a lot of people but there wasn’t anything to it. The whole lot of us got yelled at of course.
GM: Did you feel you got some benefit out of boot camp?
EM: Sure, discipline and respect mostly.
GM: It gave me some leadership opportunities that I hadn’t had before and some confidence. What did you do in the Air Force when you were stationed at Cape Cod?
EM: I was always in transportation, vehicles, heavy equipment stuff like that, I was an operator. Driving a bus, or crane and wrecker operator, towing aircraft around.
GM: There is a million different things you can do in the military. Were you stationed elsewhere?
EM: Yes, I was stationed in Cape Cod about a year and then I was sent to Misawa Air Force base in northern Japan. It was on the northern tip of the main island.
GM: I’ve not been to Misawa but I did go to Yokosuka which is a Naval base. I would go and head into Tokyo whenever I could.
EM: Tokyo was about five hundred miles on the opposite end of the island. The main island is close to six hundred miles long.
GM: That’s amazing to think how much bigger the United States is to Japan. North Carolina is about five hundred miles long.
EM: There’s lots of islands.
GM: Japan was a major force against the allies in world war two, and to be that mighty of an empire considering its size is incredible. What was your impression of the Japanese when you were there? Or how did you like living there?
EM: The first year was intriguing but after that I was ready to go home. It was kind of a drag the last year. I got to see a lot of places though. I bought a motorcycle when I was there and a few of us would travel around on motorcycles and see places, met up with a few women and had some drinks. We were allowed to drink beer and smoke cigarettes in Japan. Once we knew a few words of Japanese we did okay.
GM: I was impressed with Japan. I was there in the late 90’s but I wasn’t there long enough to know the language. If I had been stationed there I imagine I would have.
So you were a boy from Shelby, North Carolina, and all of a sudden you found yourself living in Japan for a couple of years, that’s a lot different. Do you think it changed you in any way from traveling like that?
EM: Probably some.
GM: I think it gave me a different perspective on the world, how big of a place it is. I thought it was good for a boy from Shelby, North Carolina to go around the world. Tokyo was something else. Did you ever make it there?
EM: I did. There was five or six of us and we all had motorcycles. We had all heard of a motorcycle race at Mount Fuji which was right out of Tokyo. One of the guys who was a pilot had a pick-up truck, so he put the motorcycles on the truck and he and some of the guys drove that truck to Tokyo and the rest of us flew. I don’t remember making it to Mount Fuji but that was our intention when we went there. One of the guys got in a wreck in downtown Tokyo but it wasn’t busted up too bad. The police confiscated his motorcycle. We were able to find it, get it back and get it running again. Two more got wrecked and so four of us pretty much rode on the back of that pick-up truck with four motorcycles for four hundred or so miles to get back to the base. It was a bit crowded.
GM: What did you think of Tokyo?
EM: Massive. It was big, busy and interesting.
GM: I remember riding from the Naval base to Tokyo by train. I knew I was riding from one town to another but looking out the train window, you would never know you left a town.
EM: When I first got there, we went in to Tokyo and rode the train from Tokyo to the base in Misawa. I never did understand why they didn’t fly us but seeing the countryside was interesting.
GM: I remember a couple of us missed curfew at night coming back on the ship. We had been out in Tokyo in this area called Rippongi which was an area you could eat and maybe have a few beers, and we were just hanging out and we missed the train back because they closed down at a certain time, so we had to wait until morning to get back. In the morning, we got on the train and we were tired and feel asleep and I woke up as we were at the end of the train ride getting ready to go back to Tokyo. I looked around and there was the ocean and cliffs, we were way off from where we should have been somewhere on the other side of the island. I said, ‘fellas, I think we screwed up.’ So we had to ride it back but I remember how everything was very clean, the people were polite and nice, well dressed and well mannered.
EM: I don’t remember Japan being clean in the late 50’s. It was dirty and nasty. Where I was, it was mostly farm country, rice paddies. It was all dirt roads and they were maintained by the people who lived on the road, that was the way they paid their taxes, the government allowed that because they were poor. As a matter of fact, we had Japanese Nationals who worked on base and they were probably paid $20 a month which was a lot of money to them. But I remember the streets were dirty, only the main streets were maintained. Off the main street it was muddy. It was a small town and nothing compared to Tokyo.
GM: Where did you go when you left Japan?
EM: I went to Tacoma, Washington and somehow or other I was nominated to be a Generals Aid. I stayed in Washington about three months and then went to Colorado Springs in Colorado at Ent Air Force Base, which had no flight lines and no airplanes, it was the North American Air Defense Headquarters. In my squadron, we had maybe thirty-five enlisted men and twenty-three Generals. I was kind of a ‘do boy’ for a couple of Generals.
I worked for a General Bell. He was a pilot. He had to fly a certain number of hours to keep his flying status so when he would leave, sometimes for a month, I didn’t have a job so I got a job downtown cooking hamburgers. The owner had four hamburger places, one on each main road going into the city. Hamburgers at that time were fifteen cents. I was there during the Cuban crisis and General Bell was supposed to retire but he was the main person in what was called ‘the war room.’ So all the U2 planes flying over Cuba taking pictures of the missile sites came back to McCord Air Force base and they would send the film to a photo lab on base. That was something I respected about President Kennedy when he said about the missile sites, take them down or we go to war, and they took them down.
I saw the U2 in Japan at Misawa Air Force base. Colonel Powers had run out of fuel over Russia which wasn’t a hundred miles from where we were and he brought the plane down there. He said he could glide it to Hawaii but they told him no, go to Misawa. That thing could glide a long way. The second it hit the runway they covered it up so no one could see it, but I worked for the base commander Colonel Backus so I saw it.
I had some other interesting jobs in Japan. One time the Japanese Air Force were going to buy some planes from the United States, so a pilot and his crew were trying out different planes that the US had declared surplus and it was my job to look after them.
GM: So, after you got out did you miss it?
EM: Well, while I was still in Colorado I was supposed to get my discharge there after my four years was up and as I said, the General was supposed to retire also but couldn’t and he said to me, if I can’t get out you can’t either, so I guess I was an involuntary extended. I stayed well over a year while that was going on and so I decided if I’m going to stay in I’m going to get some re-enlistment money, so I re-enlisted and got several thousand dollars. When General Bell retired, he asked me where I’d like to be stationed, and I said I’d like to go back to Cape Cod so that’s what happened. I was right there during the Kennedy days. I met a lot of interesting people there, I met pretty much all the Kennedys.
GM: You met the Kennedys?
EM: Yes, including President Kennedy.
GM: Did you drive Kennedy around?
EM: No, he had the secret service but I did drive a lot of the dignitaries that would travel with him. Pierre Salinger was the press secretary and I sat and talked to him a lot of times. I met a lot of the secret service people who hung out at the Kennedy compound down on the Cape. Many of the Congressmen and Senators when Kennedy would come, lived in that area and they would come in on Air Force One and we would take them to their houses. When they came up it didn’t matter if it was a weekend or night you had to work.
GM: Did you ever meet Jackie Kennedy?
EM: Not face to face. I was at the hospital with some news people on base when Jackie had the baby that died, and I saw them take her out the back of the hospital and put her in an ambulance. They took her from there to Boston which was over sixty miles because they knew she was having problems with the baby and it wasn’t expected to live.
I don’t remember who it was I was driving around but we went to Ted Kennedys church where one of his kids was being christened and all the Kennedys were there including the President. I remember the President came out and I met him again, and then little Caroline and John John the little boy, they came out and got into a fight on the steps. If I’d had a camera. I saw her yesterday on television and I thought about that little fight.
GM: After you got out what did you do?
EM: Before I got out, General Bell had told me if I ever needed any help to call him. He was still in Colorado Springs, so after a while I called him and told him my Daddy had just had a heart attack and I would like to get out to help him. He said he would talk to some people and he called me the next day and said I needed a letterhead from the bank where my daddy did his banking, a statement he had had a heart attack and a letter from the family preacher, so I did that when I was on leave and when I went back to Cape Cod, three days later I was discharged.
GM: Do you think your time in the military was of benefit to you?
EM: It taught me to take care of myself. You don’t have mom and dad to help you out, if you don’t wash your own clothes you wear them dirty.
GM: I’ve had old timers tell me the world would be a better place if everyone served in the military.
EM: I believe that.
GM: I think it pushes people to become independent and grow up. Earl, thank you for hanging out with me, for your service and for talking about your six years active service in the Air Force.
Contact me if you have any questions. Elder Law is what we do!
GM: I’m Greg McIntyre and I’m talking with Martha Bridges today on ‘Lunch with a Veteran.’
I really appreciate you being here today. I would like to talk about your years of service to our nation. Are you from Shelby originally?
MB: No, I’m from Concord, I grew up and was raised in Concord until I went to school in Appalachia in 1970. I graduated high school in 70, and in 73 I heard about the college junior program. I was not going to go to summer school, I was not going to get a job so I decided to see if I could do it, and I could. They took us in July of 73 to Fort McClellan, Alabama and it was for four weeks basic training.
GM: You were a very progressive lady, especially in 1973. How many women were in the military at that point?
MB: I don’t know but there weren’t a lot. After the four weeks, if you wanted to, you could go back and finish your senior year, then you would go back in the army as a Second Lieutenant.
I wanted to be a teacher and had invested that much in my education so I decided not to do it. At that point in time it wasn’t for me but it was an interesting experience.
GM: So you went to college to be a teacher?
MB: I went back for my senior year and I think it was 1974, because I went on to get my Masters, but in the summer I had the National Guard come and they said, we want you to join. They were looking for women for the military, but they said I would need to go through basic training. I thought, no, I don’t want to do that again. Then the Army Reserve came and they said, your four weeks will count as your basic training, because at that time when they were trying to get women into the military, they had a program called CASP, Civilian Acquired Skills Program, and they went for two weeks basic training. Well, I’d done four, and it counted. Years later when I started to pull my paperwork together, it was daunting the amount of paperwork the Sergeant Major had to do to get my four weeks approved for my basic training. But it was approved and I went in to the Army Reserve as a Spc 4 because when you went through the College Junior Program you were a Spc 4. I was in the 1st of the 485th of the 108th Division.
GM: We’ve always had women involved in wars and military effort but not as much with regular military service. Now it’s very common, but it wasn’t common back then. Did you get any push back as a woman going into the military?
MB: Only from my father. My father didn’t really like it. He was in the Navy and was in world war two. Women didn’t have the reputation, the honorable reputation that he envisioned, and so he took it as a negative. But as far as anything else, he did not dissuade me, nor did any others. When I went in to my unit, there weren’t but a half dozen women in there. It was drill sergeant unit, and the only position women had were clerk typist, so I started out as a clerk typist.
GM: Now you could serve in combat on the front lines.
MB: Absolutely, and being a Drill Sergeant Unit, people said, why don’t you get your Drill sergeant certification? I didn’t want to do that. By the time women were doing that, I had a family and I didn’t want to take away from it. It was enough to take away one weekend a month and two weeks a year annual training.
GM: That’s the Reserves, and the Reserves can be great as an alternative to going active duty for men and women alike. What benefits did the Reserves have for you?
MB: I retired one day short of twenty-two years because I did not want to go to AT. I was tired. Now I have retirement, I’ve got Tri-care, the military healthcare and I just went on Medicare in December, and when people call and ask, ‘do you have a supplement?’ and I say, ‘I have tri-care,’ they say, ‘you’re good’.
GM: Did the military help you with your education?
MB: No. At that point in time when I enlisted, I had already had my education. Eventually they would have rules and regulations that if you would re-enlist for six years you would get a bonus, but in the Reserves you never got the educational bonus, and it was only for those who were re-enlisting for the first time.
GM: Were you ever called to active duty?
MB: Yes, we were called up, and I remember because we were out of school for Martin Luther King Holiday, and got the call from the unit that said, we’ve been activated. We were one of the first in any of the 108th Division to be activated. So, we went for three months to Fort Jackson. Being a Drill Sergeant Unit, they would take people from the IRR.
GM: I was in the IRR for four years after being active, the Individual Ready Reserves.
MB: They took them and brought them back in and the Drill Sergeants would get them back to speed again and send them to Saudi, in Dessert Storm. So we were there for three months and that was stressful for a lot of people. We had two of our people die while at Fort Jackson, and when we got back, one went awol. It was very hard on the families because being in the military you’re in another world. When you go to AT, you’re putting your civilian world aside and you’re going into the military world.
GM: So, you’re doing a job as a teacher and all of a sudden you have got to drop everything and go where they tell you to go. How did you do that?
MB: Well, I called my husband, my daughter was in 4th grade and my son was in 2nd, and we went to the county office and did all the paperwork. We did the Power of Attorney and all the paperwork needed so I could go on leave. I told my principle and they had to find someone to cover my position while I was gone.
GM: What was your rank?
MB: I went in as an E-4 and I retired as an E-7.
GM: What is that considered in the Army?
MB: Sergeant First Class.
GM: Man, twenty-two years is a long time. I was born in 1975.
MB: I was married in 1979.
GM: It would hard for me to still be in the Reserves and just pick up and go.
MB: You know, being in the Reserves is the smartest thing for anyone coming off active duty when they don’t do twenty years in active duty. That’s the smartest thing they could do in any military branch. Do your twenty years.
GM: Take your retirement, take the benefits.
MB: Absolutely. My husband hated me being gone but he never gave me the ultimatum, and right now it has really paid off. Just tri-care alone has really paid off.
GM: These are the medals you received. You received two ‘Meritorious Service Medals with Oakleaf Cluster,’ the ‘Army Commendation medal with Three Oakleaf Clusters.’
MB: I received four commendations.
GM: The ‘Army Achievement medal with Two Oakleaf Clusters,’ ‘Army Reserve Components Achievement medal,’ and the ‘National Defense Service Medal.’ Then there is the ‘Armed Forces Reserve Medal,’ the ‘NCO Professional Development Ribbon,’ and ‘Army Service Ribbon.’ Which one is your favorite?
MB: Meritorious service, because I got my first, I can’t remember the year, they had a position, an MOS 79 Delta. It was retention NCO. The first time they did this we went for Second Army they had competitions, and I won Second Army, and you had to go to Forces Command in Atlanta but they did away with it because of Desert Storm. So, the next time they did this I won Second Army again and went to Atlanta. The competition was from all over the United States. After the interview, I went upstairs and talked to my husband and said, ‘we might as well go now, I did horribly.’ The one thing I remember they asked me was, ‘where the page number of a map was?’ I didn’t know, it had been years since I’d had it. For some girl just coming out of basic she would know all of this, but this was a retention competition. But, we went back down and they announced I’d won. We got to go to the Pentagon and accept the award.
GM: That is awesome.
MB: That was my crowning achievement, to win a national competition and it was the first time so I was the first winner.
GM: After twenty-two years in the Army Reserves, with active duty time mixed in, a career as a teacher, what did you teach?
MB: I taught reading, education and then technology at Casar for thirty-three years.
GM: After all that, what advice would you give to a young lady out there who maybe hadn’t considered going in to the military? How could going in to the military help a young lady or young man?
MB: It gives you discipline, if you don’t know what you want to do in life this is a way to find out quickly. It gives you a socialization with other people, a different way of life and because the military is a different world, you view things differently. It has such heavy discipline going through basic but don’t let that discourage you. Basic is designed to weed out the weaker and designed to make you stronger. It will either make you or break you. If you are a strong person it will only make you stronger. And then after basic, you’ve got options. How many people can leave school, go into the military for twenty years and then retire, many times by forty and then start another career. After those twenty years, you get retirement, medical, you get such great benefits, and you’re a veteran.
Regular Army didn’t appreciate Reserves, we were weekend warriors and you didn’t feel appreciated. I remember when I got into the post, it made me feel like, yes, I am a veteran, I did serve, I did something. To stand up and say, I’m a veteran and salute the flag, and go places and hear the Star-Spangled Banner and salute instead of putting your hand over your heart, I’m really proud of it, I’m proud of my service.
GM: Well thank you for your service and thank you for joining me on Lunch with a Veteran.
Contact me if you have any questions. Elder Law is what we do!
Greg: Little House on the Prairie, what has it got to do with elder law? I miss good shows. Didn’t shows use to be great on television? What happened?
Hayden: That’s why those shows are still around. The TV series are different now. It used to be they were wholesome, you had Merv Griffith and Little House.
Greg: There was more respect.
Hayden: The parents were idealistic parents, they were good parents and the kids respected them. Now, all the parents are idiots and the kids know it all.
Greg: We had the Brady Bunch which was really progressive back in those days. Two households coming together. The parents were respected and treated well and the acting was smart. They seem to act like they’re stupid now. That’s the way they’re written.
Hayden: They make fun of people, and the shows you think should be the least offensive like on the Disney channel, are probably the worst offenders. I doubt parents watch these shows.
Greg: If they did they would monitor more carefully what their children watched. So, what can we learn from Little House on the Prairie?
Hayden: It was a moral show. The parents made good decisions for the most part and the ones who didn’t, there was always a consequence.
Greg: So, we are well into 2017 and I feel like I’ve been planning and getting going for the last month. I think we do a lot of things that are throwbacks, and what I mean by that is, when I’m thinking of how to offer services to clients, I’m trying to meet them where they are.
I think attorneys a lot of the time make mistakes being ivory tower attorneys, very hoity-toity, where there is the mahogany desk and walls and ‘you need to come and see me and pay tribute in my office and see all my degrees,’ kind of thing. I think we as attorneys make a mistake by doing that, we should be meeting people where they are with what they want. Doctors have this ivory tower thing going too, no offense. They’re so damn expense it’s ridiculous.
Hayden: And there’s not much of an option at all to see a doctor.
Greg: You can’t have a doctor visit your house. They don’t need to hustle or advertise. They have a corner on the market and they know it. We make a mistake by doing that and I apologize for that. I apologize for the legal industry. I don’t think it needs to be that way.
At my firm, we routinely go to see people where they are. I had someone say to me, and this was a great attorney very high up in management at a multi-million-dollar firm, he said, “Greg, you think your clients like to come and gather up all their stuff and meet you at your office? Because they don’t.” This spoke volumes to me. We go and meet clients at their homes. We have clients outside of our home base in Cleveland County, where we’ve built a hub of elder law services; Probate, Estate Planning, Medicaid Crisis Planning, and Veterans Aid and Attendance Planning, that’s what we do. That’s the nuts and bolts of our services.
In Cleveland County and beyond, we have options to meet with our clients. We will go into your home anytime you need us. We will be there to talk to you and your family, your loved ones, or you can come to one of our satellite locations where we meet with clients. We have one in Asheville, Greensborough, Charlotte, in fact we have eleven different locations available to meet with clients in Charlotte, and anywhere in between. If you don’t want to, or can’t come to our office in any of those locations then we will meet you in your house or set up a separate meeting location in your town. Cultural centers, senior centers are great places to meet.
So, how does this relate to ‘Little House?’
Hayden: Back then there were no doctor’s offices, so if you got sick the doctor came to you.
Greg: Here’s what happens when I go to someone’s home to meet with them. I bring my laptop, so I can type everything up. I don’t rely on scribbly legal pads anymore, this way everything goes in the system straight away. I bring my bag which has a Bluetooth portable printer and a separate scanner. It’s my doctors bag. It has everything I need to see clients in their homes.
We think we have advanced and come a long way since Little House on the Prairie. I think things have come around full circle.
Hayden: Yes, maybe, in technology and knowledge and the discoveries that have been made, but compassion, that hasn’t followed the pattern.
Greg: But now, I can take my doctors bag out and get back to really serving people.
I hate technology for technologies sake, but if it helps, we can plug in and have the same law office in someone’s home. Why wouldn’t you want to do that? Ego keeps lawyers in their offices.
Hayden: Well, a lot of times people identify with their specialty and yours is caring for older people and helping people prepare for those times. That is a more compassionate type of being.
Greg: Some clients cannot come and visit me at my office. It’s all about the client relationship and experience and delivering quality services to your client wherever they are on their terms. I think we have got away from that as a profession. I respect the old way of doing things. If you mix the old school with the new, you can have the best of both worlds. That is what we are here to provide.
Our region is western North Carolina, from Charlotte to Asheville, we do phone consults and we are glad to have consults in home, it doesn’t matter where, we will get it done, that’s a big push for us.
If you or a loved one is in nursing home or assisted living care right now, or has been, or is going to be in the near future, we can help you and your family. That is one of the best things we ever do. We do it well and we really love doing it because we help you and your family protect your hard-earned money and property. You may have saved your whole life with your spouse, and all of a sudden you find it dwindling down to nothing because you don’t know what to do, and social workers with the best of intentions, cannot and are forbidden from giving you legal advice.
Where do people go for answers?
Hayden: Some people don’t know the questions to ask. They think they have a will or power of attorney, health care power of attorney, or living will and they think they are all set.
Greg: If you are in that situation and you think you have a will, you could be in the worst bad situation, how about that? Call us at 704–259–7040. We serve the Carolinas and we would be happy to serve you.
It has been a pleasure doing a show on Little House on the Prairie, I remember that show so much I get nostalgic thinking about it.
Next week the show will be about a senior subject, so please watch because we provide services a different way than most professionals.
Contact me if you have any questions. Elder Law is what we do!
GM: Good morning to all. We are talking about Medicaid Crisis Planning today, Nursing Home Crisis Planning, which is a big deal, oh my gosh.
HS: It’s a really big deal if you are in that situation and all of a sudden you realize all the money is draining out at a rate of $5000 to $10,000 per month.
GM: $5000 to $10,000 per month. That’s a lot of money. We have great nursing homes in the US and in our geographic area, but it costs a lot for nursing home care, and the question is, how are you going to pay for it?
But, why should you care about nursing home care? It’s not going to happen to me or you, right?
HS: Statistically, there is a 70% chance it will.
GM: If the report of 2005 from the US Department of Health and Human services study is accurate, and there is a 70% chance that people over 65 years of age will need some type of long term care, in-home, assisted living, or nursing home care, those are huge numbers. If there was a 70% chance of rain, or snow, or something, you would prepare, you would plan by bringing an umbrella, or rain coat, or something warm, wouldn’t you?
They are only statistics, but when the odds are stacked against you, you don’t gamble, you plan ahead. It’s always better to plan ahead. We have a plan ahead department in our law office, which really helps you get your estate planning in order to protect your hard-earned money and property for the rest of your life. Hopefully, this will be the last legal planning and legal documents you will ever need, but just in case, there needs to be some tweaks. I offer a free update and consult every year with our clients.
This way, we can sit down and discuss any new thing in your life, like you’ve got a new piece of property, or you’ve come into some money, or you sold the house, or you had a Ladybird deed on your house and you sold it, what do you do?
HS: That’s a good point to bring up, because most people think selling their house is a cure all.
GM: Selling the house can create a whole new set of problems.
HS: If you are getting up there in years and decide you want to sell some property, you should talk to Greg before you do it.
GM: Talking about the pros and cons of selling your home, what kinds of problem or opportunity might that create for you? Problems really are great opportunities by the way. Even though you might have a Ladybird Deed on the house that protects the house, you could sell that home and have a couple of hundred thousand on hand, then what are you going to do with that money? How will you protect it in case a long-term care situation comes along, so you don’t lose it all?
The first question I ask when I sit down with a client is, do you have long term care insurance? And I sit down with families all the time who are spending down $5000 or $10,000 like it’s water because a husband or wife has gone into nursing home care. They saved their whole life for retirement and there’s nothing left or there soon won’t be.
HS: They didn’t see the roadblocks.
GM: They didn’t realize that, like my grandfather who I wrote about in my book ‘Saving the Farm’, he never saw that he would lose everything. He was in assisted living for 14 years. The cost of care, in reality, the average person cannot save enough money in their life, not even a couple, to pay for the last few years of their life in a long-term care facility. That machine, that system, will take back everything that they made their entire life.
That’s not right.
HS: People contribute so much in taxes already.
GM: Your taxes paid for that system. North Carolina does have a great thing in allowing Ladybird Deeds to protect your house immediately, which we can draft. It costs a fraction of the worth of the house to put a Ladybird Deed on a house. It protects the property now, and allows you to access a Medicaid benefit for a loved one to pay for assisted living or nursing home care. It’s an amazing thing, it passes it directly outside of probate to a child. It’s like turning your home into a beneficiary asset, it protects it from a Medicaid recovery.
HS: We have done one today for a fellow who lives in Washington State and his mother lives in North Carolina.
GM: That’s right, I worked with his accountant, and attorney, and him on the phone in a 4-way call. This kind of thing is routine for us. We work with other professionals all the time, and make sure everything is right with taxes, and that you step up in bases to make sure there are no capital gains for the kids.
So, in a situation where I have a crying spouse in my office, which happens regularly, the spouse can be healthy, it’s called the ‘Community Spouse’, and can live for many more years, but the unwell spouse is taking down all their retirement savings. I talk to financial planners all the time, you do not want to ride that pile of money or investment into the ground, that’s the wrong thing to do. Make an appointment to talk to your financial planner.
So, let’s say, in the next few years, my wife and my savings are all going to be gone. My money is all falling out the back of a plane right now. It’s going to care for her because she needs some assisted living care, and it’s not going to be a straight down dive into the ground, but it is going to go down quickly over the next few years.
Is that responsible piloting of your money? No, it’s not.
How can it be a smoother flight?
When you talk to your financial planner, they should not be advising you to ride your money into the ground.
At some point, if there is a sickness in the family, if something really goes awry, and the person cannot afford long term care insurance, or couldn’t qualify for it, you have got to call someone like me, an elder law attorney. You should ask, what can I do to save my savings and my house.
How much money can I save if there is a healthier community spouse, and qualify the sick spouse for Medicaid to pay for that care in a nursing home?
SB: It depends on the size of the estate.
GM: Yes, it does. With a married couple, 100% of the estate. If there is a healthy community spouse where we can have the reserve of $119,220 for the healthy spouse, and then pay the rest using a tool like a Medicaid Compliant Annuity, or a Promissary Note, or something like that. And then place a Ladybird deed on the house.
That’s nursing home emergency planning. Let us help you. Don’t just fly the plane into the ground.
HS: There are people now who are involved in the Medicaid spend down.
GM: That’s a hang your head spend down. That’s when you have waited too long, you’re spending all the money.
HS: You just hang your head and give up.
GM: But that’s not how it needs to be. It is our mission to find legal ways, within the rules, to simply help you save your hard earned money and property.
If you are interested in learning more, read my book ‘Saving the Farm’. You can get it on Amazon, or you can come by the office and get a copy. Some of the retail stores in the Shelby, North Carolina area have it also, and there is the audio version on audible.com.
Let me protect your hard earned money and property. I’m Greg McIntyre of McIntyre Elder Law. Call us on 704–259–7040 if you have a long term care crisis, or you want to just plan ahead, or learn about your options.
Contact me if you have any questions. Elder Law is what we do!
Greg: Merry Christmas and a very happy new year to everyone. We’re going to focus on new year planning and several key updates today.
First, I write newspaper articles all the time, and we had a full page article in the Star on Christmas Eve that you might want to read. It was our Christmas card. Our mantra here at McIntyre Elder Law is, ‘help seniors protect their assets and legacies’. On the card, we wrote, protect their lifestyle and preserve their legacies. So, what does that mean, protect their lifestyle and preserve their legacies?
Hayden: Well, you work all your life to have a nice lifestyle and you don’t want something to derail that, so, we work to help preserve that. If one person of a couple need to go into a nursing home, or God forbid, both need to go, we want to help them preserve their lifestyle.
Greg: I agree, especially with pre-planning. I want seniors to keep everything they have worked so hard for, and keep in control of it.
Now, I hear this question all the time, ‘at what age should I start to give away my land, my home, my property to my kids?’, and what I always say is, NEVER. That’s the wrong question to ask. If you are asking questions like that, you are asking the wrong question.
People concentrate on the wrong problem, and if you’re looking at a problem that, to you, is solved by getting your property out of your name, you’re focusing on the wrong problem. So, what is the right problem?
Hayden: As far as a home goes, a Ladybird Deed is the first thing that comes to mind.
Greg: That would be the answer. So, the right problem is, how do we keep everything we worked hard for, in our name and in our control. Also, how can we do that, and not hurt ourselves by trying to keep it and preserve it, and eventually gift it away to our loved ones, once we have passed away.
That is the right problem, how do we keep the same lifestyle, and preserve our legacy. This is essentially passing down those things which mean something to us, including land, houses, or things with monetary value, so we can send the kids to college. We also want to keep our health care options open, not cut off our healthcare that we might need in the future, which includes long term care.
We are going to do a whole show on, ‘get the right problems’, because many people will listen to a street lawyer out there who tells them to spend down mom and dad’s assets by themselves, or social services told me to, or a friend, or family member who doesn’t have a clue told me so.
Social services are great but they are not attorney’s, they cannot advise you, and they will tell you that. Unfortunately, people will listen to social workers, or street lawyers, or their neighbor. So, they need to figure out the right problem. It costs so much less to preserve things ahead of time, then go to the source, people like me, an elder law attorney, this is what I do, this is what I know.
Hayden: One way to know what the right problems are, is to get the book, ‘Saving the Farm’. This is not a formidable book. It is not like reading a legal publication, is has been written for easy reading and can help you to know what you don’t know.
Greg: You can get ‘Saving the Farm, a guide to the legal maze of aging in America’, for the new year from Victoria Stevens in Shelby, or other retail stores. You can message me @twitter lawyergreg, or email at email@example.com. If you want to get it right away, you can go to itunes for the enhanced edition. You can also go to Amazon and just buy the book right there, or get it on kindle.
If you want the audio book, you can go to audible.com. This book really can help you to know the problems and the potential solutions to those problems.
Back to the Christmas message we put out in the paper, we had a point to make, so if you haven’t heard it, here it is.
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the land
Not a creature was stirring but ole’ Uncle Sam.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that our home and retirement will always be there.
The children and grandchildren all snug in their beds,
I wonder if college debt will hang over their heads?
And mamma in her snuggy and I in my socks,
Trying to settle our brains from worrying about our stocks.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
And to my eyes, what should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.
With legal tools at the ready and a twinkle in his eye,
I knew in a moment it was The Elder Law Guy.
“Now Willy! now Trusty! now Lady Birdy! now Deedy!
On, POA! On Doc! on, on Probate and Administrate!
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the courses they flew,
With the sleigh full of Legal Docs, and Legal Claus, too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof,
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
All noises ceased, it was quiet as a mouse,
And I knew The Elder Law Guy was here to save my retirement and house.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, he filled my estate planning docs with legal prose.
He sprang to his sleigh, to his legal team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Give the Peace of Mind this Christmas, and to all a good-night!”
So, back to business, here are a few of the changes that have happened lately.
New Aid and Attendance for Veterans award amounts.
There are new award amounts for veterans ‘Aid and Attendance’.
Veterans aid and attendance awards are a pension benefit for veterans who are having health problems. So, you don’t have to be a senior, but many times you are. The spouse of a veteran can get aid and attendance, the spouse of a deceased veteran can get aid and attendance.
Hayden: And this doesn’t have to be related to war injuries?
Greg: It has nothing to do with service connected injuries.
They have just changed the monthly and annual amounts, so, I wanted to get you the updated monthly and annual amounts, and these are lifetime benefits.
Hayden: The veteran with no dependents can receive up to $1794 a month, or $21531 annual.
Married veterans can receive up to $2127 a month, or $25525 annual.
A surviving spouse with no dependents can receive $1153?? (19:33) a month, or $13836 annually.
Married veterans can receive $2846 a month, or $34153 annually.
Greg: So, if you’re a veteran married to a veteran, you can add $34153 annually. Those are great income boosters and the glass is half full approach to planning.
Hayden: And you don’t have to be disabled to get this.
Greg: That’s right. To qualify, you have to have served within a war window, so, if you served during world war two, Korea, Vietnam, or the Gulf War, and that war window is still open, it’s been open since 1992 or 1993. You do not have to have served in combat. If you are in a nursing home, you automatically qualify.
Special Needs Trusts
We have new rules for special needs trusts which is huge. Congress has just passed a special needs trust act. Before this act was signed, you had to be the parent or grandparent, or legal guardian appointed by the court, or have a court order, so, you needed to go to court and ask a judge to issue an order to set up a special needs trust. Lots of hoops to jump through and lots of time if you don’t have a parent or legal guardian to set it up.
Now, a competent person with special needs, can create a special needs trust for themselves. That’s huge, that allows you to take in personal injury settlements, be gifted or bequeath money and set up a special needs trust to receive it. That can be used for your care, or to buy a house, or a vehicle like a handicap accessible van, and not affect other benefits you might receive, like SSI which pays a monthly income component to you.
So, in one hand, a gift or settlement will be a blessing, and in the other hand it would be a curse. It sometimes takes a year or two to get approved for SSI. If you lose it, you have to start over. You could be destitute during the application process. And then what about your healthcare benefits that you need, especially if you’re special needs.
If you want to ask me anything about elder law issues please call me on my cell phone, 704–751–8031, call me anytime, my clients always can.
Other than that, remember to start to plan forward and have a very happy prosperous new year.
Contact me if you have any questions. Elder Law is what we do!
Welcome to Lunch with a Veteran, I have with me Jim Hardin, whom I have known for my entire life I think. Jim is a world war 2 fighter pilot and was a fighter pilot in the Korean war. We are going to have some soup and sandwich from the Shelby Café, and talk a little bit about military service and some other things. Thank you for joining me today Jim.
Were you originally from Shelby?
I was born and raised in Grover. As a kid, I plowed and tended to hogs and cows and everything like that. My dad was a rural mail carrier. He had all kinds of fowl, ducks, geese, I took care of all those. That’s what you did out there in the country, I didn’t enjoy it then, plowing.
What do you think it did for you? Responsibility?
Maybe I guess. My dad started carrying mail with a horse and buggy, and the first thing I recall was I was sitting in the open car he carried mail in when he could, and I remember seeing an autogyro coming overhead when I was just a little thing sitting in that seat.
What’s an autogyro, is it a helicopter?
Kind of like one but it’s pulled by a prop in front and has a rotor on top to give it lift. You don’t see them around anymore, but that was when I realized I wanted to fly. When the war came along, I was at Mars Hill College. I remember where I was on D-day, I was sitting in the brown dormitory and at lunch time they came on the radio with the news that Hawaii had been attacked.
It feels like it happened 75 years ago yesterday.
Yeah. The school at Mars Hill started a program for civilian pilot training, I was in my second year. They were conducting that program over at Asheville Hendersonville airport. It’s no longer an airport now.
What were you flying?
We were flying Cubs, you don’t go real far or real fast. I enjoyed that program and one of the requirements when you completed that program, you had to sign up for the Army, Navy or Marine Corp. When I finished, I had a friend who wanted me to go into the Navy with him, and I said, listen, I have enough trouble finding an airfield if it’s where I left it when I took off. So, he said, okay let’s go to the Marine Corp. No, I’m going into the Army Air Corp.
I signed up and went and took my physical in Asheville, and when I finished and left Mars Hill, I went home and waited for them to call me to go into the Aviation Cadet Program in San Antonio. I got a telegraph in May from the Army Air Corp, telling me to travel to San Antonio, and go to Kelly Field into the cadet program. I took a flight physical there, which was more strenuous than the first one. So, I finished my military training at Kelly Field.
You had to be an officer, right?
No, I was a private when I was at Kelly Field but when we were appointed as aviation cadets, it was the same rank and pay as a Staff Sergeant. When I finished, they sent a group of us over to Randolph Field which is on the north side of San Antonio to go through a special program that Hap Arnold, who was the head of the Army Air Corp had started. Normally you went through preflight, which was the ground part of it, then you went to primary flight training, then to basic flying training, and then to advanced flying training. That was the program you had to complete for flying training. The program Hap Arnold started was, you skipped primary and went directly to basic pilot training.
I don’t know if that was good or bad.
Well, we only had one cadet killed during training, and that was a night flight when he collided with another cadet. I graduated from pilot training from there. We did get a few hours in primary planes which were PT19’s. I didn’t get more than 3 or 4 rides in that. The rest of it was in PT 13’s. I flew PT13’s a little and PT 14’s, and as I got close to the end of my training, they brought in some AT6’s, and I got about 10 to 15 hours in AT6’s. I graduated Dec 13 1942 and was commissioned on that day as 2nd Lieutenant. I was 19 years old.
They shipped all of us new Lieutenant pilots out to various assignments, and I was assigned to Lake Charles, Louisiana, as a flying instructor. The Army Air Corp needed a lot of pilots at that time, that’s why they had these rushed programs. There was 10 of us that went to Lake Charles, Louisiana, and I was there until December or January 1943. They opened a new base in Victoria, Texas, which they had just built. The whole training unit was transferred there. This was an advanced flying school, we flew AT6’s. There was also another advanced flying school the other side of Victoria, called Foster Field, they also flew AT6’s. We were assigned as I remember, 5 trainees, each instructor would carry them all the way through their training.
When I first got there, you were taken through all phases of that training, which included formation flying, gunnery training, the T6 had one gun in the nose which fired through the propeller.
When you say, it fired through the propeller, what do you mean?
The gun was behind the propeller up near the cockpit, so it fired through the prop. That’s the way they did it in world war 2. They had to be timed just right so it didn’t hit the prop.
They had to have some kind of mechanism that knew when the prop was in front of the gun and couldn’t fire.
Yeah. Later, they got around that by putting the guns in the wings.
So, that’s what you taught them, how not to shoot their own propellers off.
We hoped the armament people had that all fixed. We didn’t worry about that. We would go down to Matagorda Island, which was just off the Texas coast in the Gulf of Mexico for our training. So, we would take our students down there for gunnery training.
I stayed there as an instructor and then they started a special training unit there at Aloe Army Airfield, I was assigned there. They started a section that just instructed instrument flying training. I went to an instrument instructors school in Bryan, Texas, and I was assigned to that unit. I was there until May 1944. They took some instructors from there and sent them out to go to combat. So, I went to Tallahassee, Florida, and was farmed out to some base in the lower part of Georgia. While I was there, we got some P40’s in, and I managed to get a few flights in P40’s because I wanted to fly fighters. Then they shipped me down to some place in Georgia and they had some P47’s.
Is that the Mustang?
No, the Mustang was the P51. When I first learned I was going to fly a P47 I walked up to that thing, it was the biggest thing I had ever seen for a fighter. It was a lot bigger than the P51. It had a radial engine which meant the engine had the cylinders around it.
Why would you want a big fighter? What’s better or worse?
Well, if you fly bombers you fly straight and level and all that, I liked to do air acrobatics and fly upside down, and you could do it in a fighter. With an AT6 you could do anything, it spins and rolls.
Could you do that in a P47?
Oh yeah, and it had a 2000 horse power engine. So, after I finished that school, I was shipped out to New Jersey to go overseas, and we left on a ship from some harbor up there across from New York City. I rode a ship over with a whole lot of pilots and others. It took us about 10 days to get over there because they went various routes on account of submarines. We were in a convoy.
We landed in Blackpool, England, and I went from there to an overseas combat training unit before we went into combat, and that was at Atcham, England. I was there flying P47’s, and I was there on D-Day, training. In the briefing room that morning, the briefer said, whatever you do, do not go near the English coast today. I had an instructor who had been in combat, and he had a flight of 4, himself and 3 students. We took off and the minute we got the wheels up in the wheel well, he headed straight for the English Channel. We were up probably 3 to 5000 feet and I never saw as many aircraft in my life. The sky was covered with airplanes. We were above most of them. When we got near the coast, we didn’t go over the English Channel but we could see the ships, it looked like you could step from one ship to another there were so many of them.
As we completed our training, they asked us if we had a special unit we wanted to go to. I always wanted to fly a P51, so I told them I wanted to go to a P51 unit. At that time, they had the 8th and 9th Air Force flying out of England. The 9th Air Force had two P51 units, and they shipped me to the 363rd fighter group, the 380th fighter squadron.
Where was that in England?
I don’t remember, it was somewhere between London and France. They had the buzz bomb then, which they called the V1.
It wasn’t a rocket, it had a pulse jet engine in it. They had 3 routes those buzz bombs were taking toward London. We were under the middle route, so we would hold our breathe when the buzz bombs came over until they got past us, and we would cheer on the anti aircraft gunners cause we didn’t want one of those landing on us. A month after I joined that unit, we moved to Cherbourg, France. That was the first base I was at and I flew my first combat from Cherbourg in a P51. We moved one time after that. We were supporting the 9th Air Force, who were supporting the ground forces. We didn’t do many escort missions. The only escort missions I flew, was escorting the twin engine bombers like the B25 and B26. They later had other twin engine bombers called A-Twin 6’s, which after the B26 was retired, the A-Twin became B26’s. Those were the only bombers I escorted. I flew 29 combat missions with the 363rd fighter group, the 380th fighter squadron.
At that time, they changed the fighter group to a reconnaissance group. They mounted cameras to take pictures of the German’s. So, I was shipped out again and I went to the 36th fighter group which was flying P47’s. I have a picture from the end of the war of a P47 that the Germans recovered and were flying. They would go up next to our bombers and direct their fighters next to the bombers. The bombers didn’t realize, they knew it was a P47 but they didn’t know it was German.Anyway,for what we were doing the P47 was better suited because they could take more punishment than the P51. The P51 had a liquid cooled engine, and the P47 had an air cooled engine. Anyway, I joined the 36th fighter group and was assigned to the 58th fighter squadron, and most of our missions were supporting the army. Part of that time we were supporting General Patton’s unit. We were dive bombing and strafing and some of our bombs were fire bombs. I flew 61 missions with the 36th fighter group, and I was at Castle Germany Air Base when the war ended. I stayed there until I could get transportation home which was about a month later.
When the British came in and took over these airfields, they threw a phosphorous grenade into the cockpit of each German plane so they couldn’t be flown.
I was flown back to Paris where I caught a C47 to fly me home. We landed in Iceland, and we landed in Greenland, and we ended up somewhere in New England. I was separated there, put on inactive duty. I went in to the reserves.
You came back for the Korean War didn’t you?
Yeah, I was inactive for 2 years but I came back in before the Korean War, on active duty and I went to the 363rd fighter group in Roslyn, New Mexico. That was the home of the B29 wing and we were assigned to the bomber unit. I was there about 2 years when the whole fighter group was transferred to Otis Field in Falmouth, Massachusetts.
You know of the UFO that landed at Roswell New Mexico in 1947, I was there at the base where this thing supposedly landed. Something landed and to this day I don’t know what it was. Whatever it was, they sent a bunch of people out and picked whatever it was up, brought it back and put it in an aircraft hangar where I was stationed. It was top secret. Nobody could go in there.
From there I went to school in Panama City, Florida to aircraft control and warning school and became an aircraft controller. That was a 10 week school. After I completed that, I was assigned to Orlando, Florida, Orlando Air base at that time. We didn’t even have a radar there, so not long after that I was transferred to Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. I was assigned to the National Airport as a GCI controller, and we would pick up aircraft coming in from overseas. If we couldn’t identify them, we would scramble interceptors to identify them. They would get the tail number and type of aircraft. We would intercept them if they were not on the right time, or the right course that they were supposed to be, otherwise we didn’t intercept.
I was up on a hill overlooking the ocean there, near Highlands, New Jersey, and was there until the Korean War started. They came out with an order that anyone who had been flying fighters before becoming a GCI controller could request to be returned to fighters, which I did.
You weren’t married yet?
I was married a year after I graduated from flying school in 1943 in Victoria, Texas. I have two sons called Jim and Bill. Jim was born in 1944, while I was on a train going to the port from Florida, and he was born in the Gastonia Hospital. Bill was born in New Jersey, and there’s a funny story about that. When we were stationed in Germany, I had my family with me, he was playing with some of the other little boys in the area, and they were telling about where they were born, and Bill told them he was born in New Jersey, and they beat him up. Betty went out to get him and he was crawling up the stairs, and he said, mama, don’t tell anyone I’m a Yankee. We always had a big joke about that.
Anyway, when the Korean War started, I asked to be returned to flying status and they assigned me back to the 36th fighter group, which was at Otis Field, Massachusetts. They had 3 squadrons and one of them was stationed in Westover Air Force Base, Massachusetts. I was transferred there, and I left from Westover Field to go to Korea. I was up there maybe a year flying F86’s.
What’s an F86?
It’s made by North American, it’s a swept wing jet fighter with the intake and radar in the nose.
That’s a cool looking aircraft, I remember you having a model of that aircraft.
It was quite a step above from an F80. Back when we were in the Army Air Corp they were P80’s. So, I was at Westover maybe a year flying the F86, and they had one F86 unit over in Korea, the 4th fighter unit, but they were sending another fighter unit, the 51st fighter group, so I went with a group of F86 pilots, and they flew our F86’s out to California, and loaded them on an aircraft carrier. They flew us out at the same time by commercial. When I was notified, they called us into a meeting, a pilot’s briefing room, and they said, all pilots who have not been to Korea, go home and pack your bag, you are leaving today. So, I went home and packed my bags and we took our parachutes and escape kits and all that kind of thing with us.
I was stationed down in San Diego, new wife, great apartment and I got to my shop and they told me I was leaving Wednesday, and it was Monday, so over the next several months I was pretty much gone, and then to a six month cruise. They don’t give you a lot of warning, your theirs.
Normally they give you more than a day at least. So, I went home and told Betty to get ready, pack your bags, get the kids ready. They stayed with her parents in Kings Mountain while I was gone. We drove all night long, got back to Kings Mountain. The next morning, she got up and drove me to Charlotte where I caught a commercial airliner to Oakland, California, across from San Francisco.
They had a Navy base and there was an escort carrier sitting there. It was loaded with F86’s. We got on the carrier and departed a day later. They took us to Japan, which was about a week to get there. We met a group of pilots at Johnson Field, and they were forming the 51st fighter group, and Colonel Harrison Thyng from Maine was in the officer’s club. A group of us officers were there and some of us knew him because he had been the commander of the 36th fighter group at Otis Air Force Base. So, we went up to talk to him, and asked if he would request us. So, we went to the 4th fighter group. Colonel Thyng was our commander while I was there at Kimpo Air base. I was at Kimpo the whole time I was in Korea. I was there for a year and I flew a hundred combat missions in F86’s.
That’s a lot of combat missions.
Well I didn’t get into a fight except one. Our opposites were MiG15’s built in Russia, and they had a couple of airfields right there on the border with China on the Yellow river. The North Koreans had a base on the south side of the river, but they kept their planes on the north side. We weren’t attacking anything on the north side because we weren’t supposed to go into China.
Most of our missions were flying top cover for F84’s, F80’s, and naval aircraft that were bombing and strafing. My crew chief was awarded the bronze star because he kept my airplane in such good shape it flew 100 missions without an abort because of mechanical failure.I did start flying F84’s at Roswell.
They have fuel tanks on the tips of the wings, is that smart?
Well, I had one come loose on the end of the wing when I was over Washington D.C. I was flying with one of the guys in our outfit. We had been down to Florida for the weekend for flying time, and we were going back and his folks lived in Washington D.C. He was doing acrobatics, and I was in the trail, I was following him, and one of the braces that held that tank level on the wing fell off, and the tank fell over. I almost lost control of the airplane when it happened.
But the MiG, I don’t care what anybody tells you, I was flying F86 80’s and F86E models, they later got F86F’s which was a greatly improved F86 but the ones I was flying could not climb as fast as the MiG15. It was about the same speed, we could go faster going down in a dive but we couldn’t climb as fast or as high as they went. Usually when we went up there, there would be flights of MiGs up above us, but they wouldn’t come down to fight. If they didn’t come down to fight we couldn’t tangle with them. Those that did come down, quite a few of our pilots shot down a lot of MiGs, but we couldn’t reach them if they stayed above us.
I got into one fight. My boss, he was the wing operations officer, we were flying with the 335th fighter squadron, and he was flying my wing, I was leading the flight. We were paralleling the Yellow river on the south side, and he called out, bogies at ten o’clock low, so I looked down and I didn’t see any enemy airplanes, I kept looking and I still didn’t see anything, and in a little bit he called them out again but I still didn’t see them, so I said, you got it, which meant the flight was turned over to him. We went down in a dive and we dove all the way down. Well, he crossed the Yellow river. That’s why I didn’t see them, I wasn’t looking there.
We went down and MiGs were taking off in pairs, and we got down into the middle of that. We couldn’t catch the MiGs, they were out of range, and our leader was shooting at one but he was out of range. I was flying his wing clearing my tail. I had 2 MiGs on me and he had 2 on him. They kept getting closer and closer, we were at full throttle because we were trying to catch the MiGs in front of us. I called them out to him and he said, roger, and just kept shooting. Finally, when they got closer enough to open fire on me and him, I called him and said, I’m breaking to the right, which meant I was going to make a sharp turn. I broke and headed out to the ocean. I didn’t see my leader anymore. I went full bore, and when those MiGs got close enough that I thought they were going to fire, I’d make a break and do a three hundred and sixty degree turn. I had a g-suit on, and I knew those MiG pilots didn’t have g-suits, so I would turn tight enough to that point where I would just start to grey out and then hold that turn, and I would make a three hundred and sixty degree turn and roll out to the ocean again. When I looked back, there was only one MiG behind me. So, I would keep going at full throttle towards the water. When he got close enough that I knew he was fixing to fire and hit me because he kept that close, he wasn’t shooting out of range, I broke with him again, and did the same trick on him. I couldn’t out climb him because he would catch me anyway, so I make a three sixty and looked behind me, and he was gone. My fuel was low because I was down at low altitude all this time. A jet burns more fuel at low altitude. As you go higher it burns less fuel. So, I was low on fuel and started to climb it back up to altitude. I was worried about my fuel all the way home, but I made it.
How did your leader do?
He got home.
Sounds like he was just interested in getting a kill?
Yeah, he was interested in getting a kill, I was interested in not getting killed.
I’m sure that was scary?
It was, that’s why I was headed for the water. I was sure he was going to get me. That was the only way I could figure I could get rid of those guys. In the turn, I knew when I started to black out, he would black out. He could have spun in or whatever. I don’t know what happened to him. At the time I didn’t care what happened to him.
It wasn’t cool they gave you an under powered aircraft but they did give you a g-suit.
We‘d been flying in g-suits for years but they didn’t have them.
Could you explain for anyone who doesn’t know, what is a g-suit?
It has a band around your stomach and your legs, so when you start to pull G’s, it inflates and keeps the blood from going down, and keeps the blood around your head, so you don’t black out.
These are the medals you were awarded for your service.
Lieutenant Colonel James M Hardin United States Airforce Awards and Decorations.
Distinguished Flying Cross
Air Medal with Thirteen Oak Leaf Clusters
Presidential Unit Citation with One Oak Leaf Cluster
Airforce Outstanding Unit Award
American Campaign Medal
European, African, Middle Eastern Campaign medal
World War Two Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal
What’s your favorite medal?
The Distinguished Flying Cross.General Stirling awarded me the DFC at the Castle.
Why did you get the distinguished flying cross?
I got that in world war 2 for dive bombing a bridge and railroad yards in Germany and I got hit by eighty eight millimeter flak. It hit my aircraft between the fuselage and the guns on the right wing and knocked part of the wing off. I was in a dive at the time so I was pulling g-forces, and the aircraft started shuddering and stalling going down. I had to release some of the back pressure and pull out more gently so it would stop stalling. I finally got it to climb and went back up and went home. When I got home, I flew over the tower to get them to see if there was any damage and they couldn’t see any so, I came around to land. I landed a little fast because I had lost part of my wing. What I didn’t realize was, when the flak hit me, it flattened the right main landing gear tire, and with the brakes and rudder I couldn’t hold it on the runway. It went off the right side of the runway and nosed up. I was looking straight down at the ground. I said to myself, oh no, this thing is going to flip over onto its back, but it twisted a little bit on the nose, then fell back down on the tail and broke it in two behind the cockpit.
You were okay?
I was fine. The crew chief brought the aircraft forms up for me to fill it out, you know, if there was anything wrong with the plane and my flying time and so forth. He brought the form to me and I put it on the wing. I was fine until he handed me a pencil and I started to fill it out. I got to shaking so bad I couldn’t fill it out. I handed it to him and said, I’ll get this later.
What other medals do you have?
National Defense Service Medal
Korean Service Medal
Airforce Longevity Award Ribbon
Armed Forces Reserve Medal
Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon
ROK (Republic of Korea) Presidential Unit Citation
United Nations Service Medal
The Republic of Korea War Service Medal
When I retired in 1964, I was stationed at Syracuse, New York, I was Air Force Advisor to the Air National Guard. I made Lieutenant Colonel.
Jim, I appreciate you coming by and everything you and your family has done for this community and for our nation, thank you.
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