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Golf & Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts

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Image result for deer brook golf shelby, nc

Deer Brook Golf Course

Greg: We’re getting ready to play in the ‘Make A Wish Foundation’, Golfers Granting Wishes tournament here at beautiful Deer Brook, a really pretty golf course, and we’re going to talk about ‘Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts’.

Why might someone need a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust?

Hayden: Imagine a jar is the Medicaid Asset Protection Trust, and inside it’s got, money, property, a car.

Greg: So, money, property, those are things you can put in an Irrevocable Trust, or any trust. Why would you want to use a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust?

Hayden: One way is when you’re trying to protect money from the Medicaid spend down.

Greg: Would this work in an emergency situation?

Hayden: It’s pre-planning.

Greg: That’s right, this is pre-planning. If you want to plan ahead, take a portion of your money and place it in a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust. You can have a private trust company or a family member, a son or daughter, manage the money that’s in this trust, or a professional fund manager like ‘Edward Jones,’ could manage this trust, and grow the money in the trust. The money can still be used to buy things for you, the dividends, the interest can still be used to provide for your health and welfare, but the important thing is, it starts the clock ticking, that 3 or 5 year clock ticking, which is what we talked about last week, the look back period.

So you want to do this ahead of time.

What would happen if we were 3 years in with the clock ticking on this Medicaid Asset Protection Trust, but you had an emergency Medicaid situation and had to start paying for nursing home care?

If you had to dip into this Medicaid Asset Protection Trust right away, because it’s not protected until 5 years (after the clock has starting ticking) for nursing home care, you would only be forced to have a spend down of 2 years of this money. Then after the 5 years it’s locked.

So, it starts that clock ticking. That’s what you want to do when you’re planning ahead. This is a great tool for people who have some retirement funds they have set up, an income they have set up, or investments they’re managing. Maybe they have money they don’t really touch that much but they want to make sure it passes on to the grandkids, or they want to protect it for themselves or their spouse, if one of them needs long term care.

Then this is a great way to ensure it’s there, and can still be used for their benefit to help take care of them, but it’s not spent down on nursing home care, if long term care insurance is not available.

A Medicaid Asset Protection Trust is an irrevocable trust which means you can’t revoke it and there is a third party trustee. They are great pre-planning tools for Medicaid planning or long term health care planning.

So if you’re interested in talking about any kind of trust, a great combination would be a revocable living trust for the money that was very liquid for you, and then other monies in a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust.

You know what, I’m not a big fan of the car in an irrevocable trust, but properties, what about properties that you want to protect?  So here’s the advantage. It does take 5 years for nursing home care, 3 years for assisted living, to protect these, but, if you wanted to sell a property, and someone is in nursing home care, and has benefits, like Medicaid benefits, you can sell that property. If you sell the house, the money is still in the trust.

If you have any questions you would like to ask about Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts, you can call McIntyre Elder Law at 704 259-7040, or you can find us on Facebook and twitter @LawyerGreg. So leave a question or a comment, I do answer any questions or comments throughout the week so get writing.

Call me if you have any questions:

Greg McIntyreGreg_Full
Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street, Shelby

704-259-7040

 

Back-Up and Look Back – Medicaid Look Back Periods – At the Conference Table 2

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Greg: Look back periods, we’re on look back periods. What is that?

It’s Friday, September 23rd, and the longest toughest week ever. I was in court until 9.00pm last night, night court dealing with guardianship issues which I can’t talk about.

People may come in here any minute so we better tell everyone about look back periods.

Did you want to say anything for Hayden’s Happy Place?

Hayden: Well I did intend to do it today. So, I love the way Greg signs his emails. And I was thinking, we had a client, a young man, he had a traffic case for you, which was unusual. Nevertheless, he said, have a nice day, so, I was telling him, you know, Greg signs all of his emails, or letters, or whatever, ‘Make it a great day,’ and I thought a lot about that, and I told him, that’s a choice we have, we don’t just have one, it doesn’t just fall out of the sky and happen to us.

Greg: You could have a crappy day, a horrible day, you choose to react to what happens to you. So react in a positive way, no matter what happens. What harm can it do.

Hayden: We can’t always control what happens to us, but we do control how we react to it, and how we think about it, and deal with it. But I was thinking, we have 52 weeks a year, and of those 52 weeks, how many do we actually remember?

We get up, we go do something outside in the yard, or do laundry, or go shopping, nothing memorable. How many weeks do you remember Greg? You probably can because there has been several that were memorable lately.

There was Chicago. That was fun. And one of the things you enjoy is working with elder counsel, and you were presenting in Chicago.

Greg: I had the privilege of presenting to a nation-wide group of elder law attorneys recently in Chicago, Illinois, and passing out my book to them. Giving it away as door prizes, and it was awesome. Anything I can do to help and learn. I learned a ton. So you think I have memorable days, and people should remember their days?

Hayden: On a day to day basis, most people could probably not remember more than 5 weekends. I think that ought to be a goal sometimes. To do something you will remember. So I’m thinking, let’s make this a great week. Look at what we have to do, and then in our free time we should plan something we will remember.
My grandchildren love to go up to Lake Lure and climb over the rocks and jump in the river. Just jump from rock to rock. You have to portage some of the way because it gets too rocky.

Greg: I don’t even know what that means, portage.

Hayden: Portage is when you carry your canoe on land around un-navigable areas.

Greg: Sounds French.

Hayden: It probably is, but Americans do it to. So that’s my happy place, making it a great week.

Greg: Let’s make it a great week. I firmly believe that you are in control of your own destiny. I take responsibility for things that happen to me, and around me, whether they’re directly related or not.

Unless you do take responsibility for those things, from making it a great day, to controlling your attitude, or controlling time, you put yourself at the mercy of that thing, and everything that goes on around you. So that’s why I say, ‘Make it a great day,’ because it’s your responsibility, it’s your choice.

So, let’s talk about look back periods.

What is a look back period? Why would you apply for Medicaid? Let’s start there. Why would a senior ever apply for Medicaid?

I talk about this in my book, ‘Saving The Farm,’ I mean we really get into it. I had clients today, who have read the book, and knew, they knew what they wanted to do. This is what I want. It’s nice, it’s being knowledgeable. But back to the look back period. So many seniors burn through their money, like flipping through this book, like water, because it costs somewhere between $60,000 – $100,000 per year for nursing home care, assisted living care, dental care, but Medicaid is not necessarily going to pay for dental care okay. So, what happens if you burn through all your money, what happens to your house, to your property?

Hayden: Medicaid puts a lien on your house, it passes through probate, they change the title, and it gets sold to the highest bidder usually.

Greg: So what happens if all the money’s been spent, and the wife is afraid because she has another 20 or 30 years to live, and her husband is in a nursing home, burning through the money? How do we put a stop to that?

Hayden: A ladybird deed can.

Greg: A Ladybird deed can work. Put a Ladybird deed on a house and it beats the look back period. There are two types of Medicaid for nursing home and assisted living care. They’re different types. ‘Special Assistance Medicaid’ is for assisted living. ‘Nursing Home Medicaid’ is Long Term Care Medicaid.

Special Assistance Medicaid for assisted living has a look back period of 3 years.

Hayden: And by look back period, you mean all the money you spend and the way you pay off your assets during the previous 3 to 5 years (however long the look back period is for).

Greg: Nursing Home Medicaid has a look back period of 5 years.

Hayden: So there are certain ways you can spend money that are acceptable, and other methods that are not, such as giving away massive amounts, or considerable amounts of money to your family.

Greg: If it’s not a regular pattern of gifting, and you give money to a family member, within that time, it will count as a penalty. The Medicaid system are going to penalize you for a certain period of time, until they will actually come in and pay for healthcare.

So, if we’re doing a benefits case, we’re going to comb through 5 years of bank statements for Nursing Home Medicaid, and 3 years for Special Assistance Medicaid. We will go through them all and look at spending.

Hayden: An attorney markets ways that no one outside of being an attorney would know. It’s things that you and the elder counsel have come up with and developed, or discovered loopholes or whatever.

Greg: They’re not loopholes, it’s just, the rules are complicated. So, we say, here’s what we did, here’s how we did it, or sometimes we’ll take a penalty period. But to get back to the look back period, Nursing Home Medicaid has a 5 year look back period. Traditionally, without real creative thought and knowing all the rules, you have to do a spend down. Also all your moves (transfers of property to kids) to protect property, would have to be outside the 5 years look back.

Hayden: Now, the IRS says you can give $14,000 dollars.

Greg: I’ve had that question before, ‘hey can I give every member of my family $14,000 dollars and it’s not reportable?’ Yes and No.

Yes, you can give up to $14,000 dollars and not report it to the IRS, because it’s a gift, it’s not reportable. But anything over that, you have to report. And how that works is, it just counts off how much you can give during your life, or in death, tax free. So that has nothing to do with look back periods.

If you start giving away $14,000 during your look back period, you are going to rack up huge penalties before Medicaid will come in and apply time relative to that dollar amount.

There’s a formula built in to the statutes, that allow you to calculate that dollar amount. We get ahead of the game. We do all these calculations, but we also do the legal work. Social workers are the experts for putting in the acts?? (16:27) and the rules, the problem comes about because their hands are tied. They cannot give you legal advice.

So look back periods are the time before you applied, that you have to get everything done in. And if you’re within that time period, what if you didn’t plan ahead? Come see me. I can save the money, and I can save the real property with the different tools and the strategies I have. So what would you sum up. What are look back periods?

Hayden: It’s a 5 or 3 year period, depending on the type of care you need, in which Medicaid is going to look at your expenditures, and if they feel you have tried to hide money or spend money, you’ll be penalized.

Greg: They are simply a set of rules about how you can spend money during that look back period. If you don’t follow those rules, then you’re penalized for that amount of money, and you have to pay it back, or, you have to wait the time commensurate with that amount of money. Say, if it was $60,000, they might penalize you for a year.

So that’s how it works.

But, we can help you fix it, or we can help you with the spend down, emergency Medicaid planning is a department we have.

So what’s coming up this week?

Hayden: Healthcare fairs around Shelby and Cleveland County, we are going to have booths there. Next Friday, I will have the whole list for you. Or you can go to the McIntyre elder law facebook page, we have a list of all those activities.

Greg: Next week we are going to talk about Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts. So, we’re going to play some monopoly and go through some pre-planning okay.

This is ‘At the Conference Table’ with Hayden and Greg, see you next week, Friday at noon.

To get a copy of ‘Saving the Farm,’ you can get it at Amazon.com or you get it through my office McIntyre Elder Law. The audio book is out, you can get it on Audible, or iTunes. Or you can get the enhanced e-book, which has all the video and audio interviews right in the book.

Call me if you have any questions:

Greg McIntyreGreg_Full
Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street, Shelby

704-259-7040

Upcoming Events: At the Conference Table with Hayden & Greg – Upcoming Events

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Welcome to ‘At the conference Table’ with me, Greg McIntyre and Hayden Soloway. This is akin to the Elder Law Report, we’re going to come at you live, every Friday at noon. So pull up a chair, we’re going to talk about up-coming events, and current topics related to elder law and we may have some guests come along now and then.

We usually do Hayden’s Corner on the elder law report. What would you talk about today on Hayden’s Happy Place?

Hayden: Well, I gave a seminar by myself yesterday.

Greg: And talked to a group in Lincoln county, and handed out copies of our book as a thank you for coming to the seminar. Tell me about the groups you went to this week. You went to Journey, you went to Axis, what’s Journey and Axis?

Hayden: Journey is a partnership for end of life issues. They concentrate on helping people make the end of life decisions, and getting people to sit down and really think through how they want things to be. At times it’s difficult to approach a person faced with these issues, and they try to make things easier.

Greg: They create a book ($20), I call it a ‘Get it together workbook,’ because it’s helps to get everything together in one place. How you want things handled as you age if something should happen. A financial planner, or caregiver, anyone who came into your house, such as a nurse, who would know exactly how you want your pillow fluffed, and how many creams and sugars you want in your coffee. Even down to that level of detail.

Hayden: Your plumber, handyman, to keep your relevant documents handy. 

Greg: Your ‘Durable’ and ‘General POA’s’, and other legal documents in there as well.  The ‘get it together’ workbook can be purchased at Hospice and I think the senior center may have some, or you can get one through our office.

We did a presentation at the country club, called, ‘So’s Your Mother’ presentation, which is on mcelderlaw.com, and went out on our e-newsletter. If you haven’t already signed up for our newsletter, you should. We blast out entire hour long seminars with question and answers, articles on elder law and other senior issues, and things that you don’t know. Know what you don’t know. You get the newsletter right in your email. Just go to mcelderlaw.com and sign up with your name and email, and you’ll start receiving those, and become part of our e-newsletter family. I put a lot of work into those newsletters, so it’s worth signing up.

Hayden: You can also see the articles on the lawyergreg facebook page.

Greg: Yes, but there is a lot more content and value in the newsletter. At the start of that video of the presentation at the country club, you gave a talk about what ‘So’s Your Mother,’ means. Share that with us, what’s ‘So’s Your Mother?’ Cause it sounds a little bit disrespectful.

Hayden: It does. Years ago, we did a lot of boating down on Lake Norman, and David, my husband, said there was a pizza restaurant. And they had all types of pizzas. It’s a hangout. There was one that had everything on it, pickles, onions, all types of meats, everything you can imagine, and they would say, ‘the onions are on it, the peppers are on it, and so’s your mother. It was just like a catch phrase, everything is on the pizza.

Greg: So why call the presentation ‘So’s Your Mother?’

Hayden: Because you take all the factors of elder law and put them all together and make a big picture.

Greg: A little bit of everything right? And we had financial guru Ed Hardy, who talked about long term care insurance and things like that, and Jamie Richards.

You know a hot topic right now are Ladybird Deeds. It’s such a great tool, an immediate protection, no matter your circumstances. Right now, people are taking advantage of that. If you are thinking that nursing home, assisted living care is on the horizon for somebody in your family, a Ladybird Deed on a family residence or primary property, can save that property from Medicare under the current policy. Which is very nice.

Hayden: And it can be done immediately, no look back period.

Greg: That’s right. We also handed out the ‘Saving the Farm’ book at a couple of seminars this week, and this book is now available on itunes and audible.com which is Amazon itunes basically. ‘Saving the Farm,’ is a reference book that reads like a novel.

Hayden: I think the name of it should have been, ‘Anyone 50 years or older should have this book, and anyone with parents 50 years or older should have this book,’ because it really is full of things, and people in their 50’s need to plan ahead. That’s how you can be the most effective and do it much cheaper than when there’s a crisis.

Greg: And the reason we say it’s like a reference book is because of the table of contents. You can see that any chapter can really drill down into subject matter. If you want to know about Ladybird Deeds and Life Estate deeds, they’re in there. There is an entire chapter on Medicaid Crisis Planning. Veteran’s Planning, and that’ll show you how patriotic I am about veteran’s affairs.

We were talking today about working the audio book into some of our seminars.

What do we have coming up?

At Elizabeth Baptist Church on October 5th at 5:30 pm, we have a Dementia Information Group, headed up by Bob Mori. He’s thinking of expanding that group to other churches. On this particular seminar they have opened it up to the general public. We will send that out on our e-newsletter as well. At that event, I will be playing the chapter from the audio book on Dementia and Alzheimer’s based around an interview I did with Teepa Snow, a world renowned expert in Alzheimer’s and Dementia. And we’re going to talk about some planning and things you need to have in place legally, to help a dementia or Alzheimer’s patient.

Hayden: She talks about dementia also. I have been listening to it since I’ve been dealing with that with my parents. She made me feel like, as least what I was dealing with, it might be unique but I wasn’t alone.

Greg: So, what she talks about is dementia being the umbrella, and beneath the umbrella is Alzheimer’s, but there’s frontal lobe dementia, there’s different types of sub-categories of dementia. Now I’m not an expert on dementia but I’m pretty good at the planning.

Hayden: I’ll say this again and again but Greg is a user friendly attorney, 6am to 9pm, 7 days a week, and I have seen that to be true.

Greg: Number 1, you care about your clients. Number 2, you go to where your clients are. I’m just going to keep it real. It blows my mind, in any profession, in businesses now, how business is just supposed to walk through the door. How clients just walk in the door and they’re supposed to be thankful that I hang a shingle, or that I practice medicine or law or that I serve hamburgers, or ice cream or whatever.

No, cater to your customers, cater to your clients, treat clients right, go above and beyond. It’s just common sense. I’ll see clients 6am to 9pm. It works around your schedule.

Hayden: And in additional to the Elizabeth Baptist Church, we are going to be at the Senior Center Health Fair which is on October 7th, 8am to 11am and that’s open to anyone. We will be at the ‘Journey’ writing your final chapter events. Keith Larson is their headline speaker and he really is a great speaker. The flyer says, ‘come hear a real life story about a families journey, and hear more about available community resources.’ They will also have really good food. We will have a display there, so come up and say hello to us. We have East Lincoln Community Center Health Fair and one in Lincoln County Senior Center. There is a free Medicare seminar, so anybody who has Medicare and is facing some difficult decisions, this is on October 20th at 10am at the Senior Center. And Hospice is having a Rib dinner fundraiser on October 21st from 3-7. There is a whole list of places you can get your tickets. Hospice, or call our office to find out. Also the Neale Senior Center is having their Auto Bazaar and Flea market, where they have old and classic cars.

If you have a specific topic you would like us to address, please shoot me a message. We will have a list of topics that we’ll address by next Friday. If you have facebook live, you can put your comments in. What I should have by next week is facebook up on my laptop and I’m take your questions live in question and answer time, all starting next Friday at noon.

Have a great week.

gregstanreduce

Make it a great day,

Greg McIntyre

Elder Law Attorney

McIntyre Elder Law

“We help seniors maintain their lifestyle and preserve their legacies.”

www.mcelderlaw.com

Phone: 704–259–7040

Fax: 866–908–1278

PO Box 165

Shelby, NC 28151–0165

Trusts Simply Explained (Trust Me)

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Hey this is Greg McIntyre, the elder law guy coming to you from the observation deck on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center in Chicago, Illinois. From here you see the whole city and beautiful Lake Michigan.

There’s a lot of wealth out there. The buildings, the families that have built here, I guarantee they have and are using trusts to control their assets well into the future. The Kennedys are a great example of a family whose trusts take care of their wealth and family. Now, you can do that and on a smaller scale than the Kennedys.

So very simply, what is a Trust?

A Trust is no different than a drinking glass. It holds your assets, directing exactly how it will be distributed. The Trust protects your assets from say a civil lawsuit. If you’re in a car wreck and you get sued, and your car insurance didn’t cover it and so they came after your personal assets, a standard Trust will protect your money against that attack. However, in a Medicaid situation where you need long term healthcare, if you have a living trust or a revocable trust, the government would still deem you in control of that money.

Wills and Trusts

The main difference between leaving things by ‘Will’ or setting up a Trust is, a Will has everything go through probate, which means they are subject to liens and things of that nature. A Trust will avoid that and the entire probate process.

Dead Hand Control

Another important thing to know is Trusts allow you to, what my law professor used to call ‘Dead Hand Control,’ or control from the grave. I picture a hand sticking up out the grave with the remote control in it, controlling everything well into the future, in perpetuity.

You can set up Trusts that provide for your grandchildren to go to college. Then distribute some of the money after college, say 25 years old, and some at 30 after they’ve reached more maturity, and maybe a final dispersal at 35.

And you can donate to charities over time. You can set up a charitable Trust to help fund a library if you wish.

Revocable or Irrevocable

The very top Trusts are either revocable or irrevocable. An Irrevocable Trust means you give up the money and appoint a trustee.

Trustees

Trusts at their base have a trustee, usually a trusted family member or a company. Trust companies will manage your assets for you. They will generally have a separate tax id number if they’re irrevocable trusts. Usually if they’re revocable trusts, you can revoke it, you can put money into it, take money out, cancel it, break the glass so to speak, and you probably want to use your same tax id number, social security number for that trust because then you won’t have to prepare a separate tax return for the trust. If it’s an Irrevocable Trust, prepare a separate tax return for it. I work with a great accountant who can help you do that.

Trust beneficiaries.

Trust Beneficiaries are the recipients of money from the Trust. They will get both the Trust income and the Trust corpus. The Trust property you put in it, (the corpus, the body of the Trust), whatever is earned from that, say your investments, that’s called the Trust income, and is be distributed to the beneficiaries upon your instructions.

Just be aware

I meet with family members all the time who say, I have a trust and we’re ready to file for Medicaid to take care of my spouse, they’re protected.

If you have what’s known as a family trust or a revocable trust, it is not protected against that Medicaid situation or long term care situation. That’s where long term care insurance and legal planning become extremely important.

To fund or not to fund that is the question.

I see a lot of trusts, and many times people are under the wrong impression. They think because they are schedule A of the trust, or their list of property on the trust says they have a house in the trust, or money, bank accounts and investments in the trust, that it’s all okay. But I have to explain, that we’re looking at your deed, it’s still in your name, your car title or your bank accounts are in your name, it’s absolutely not in the trust, they are under a false impression that they funded their trust. So, literally the glass is empty, it has nothing in it.

To put the ice in the glass, or the property in the Trust, you have to title those deeds in the name of the trust, the deed to the trust in the name of the trust. Even car titles, now I’m not a huge fan of vehicles in trust but you can do that. The bank accounts need to be in the name of the trust. It could have a separate tax id number for those bank accounts, and should if it’s an irrevocable trust that has a separate tax id, that we get from the government for you.

I hate to see a trust unfunded. I want it protecting assets, doing its job, instead of a mad scramble to fund it, or to discover too late that it is unfunded.

If you have questions about whether your trust has been funded or not, should be funded or not, then come see me. I would be glad to do a free consult if you mention this blog post.

Trust Funding Classes

I am going to start trust funding classes at our office on a regular basis on Saturday mornings. They will begin sometime in September, and we can talk about the nuts and bolts of trust funding. You can bring your trust, or if you are just interested, we can put that out in our e-newsletter.

Go to mcelderlaw.com and sign up for our e-newsletter or follow us at lawyergreg on twitter, facebook and youtube. If you get the e-newsletter and I advise that you do, I will give you the trust funding class for free.

This is Greg McIntyre, the elder law guy signing off 94 floors up in Chicago.

gregstanreduce

Make it a great day,

Greg McIntyre

Elder Law Attorney

McIntyre Elder Law

“We help seniors maintain their lifestyle and preserve their legacies.”

www.mcelderlaw.com

Phone: 704–259–7040

Fax: 866–908–1278

PO Box 165

Shelby, NC 28151–0165

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Wrong Mix of Medications Can Lead to Faulty Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

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The main symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include memory loss, confusion and changes in personality or mood. However, these symptoms can also be caused by medications, supplements and vitamins, or a dangerous mix of these—and often results in a false diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.

The list of drugs that can cause dementia-like symptoms is long and includes:

* antidepressants                                       * antihistamines

* anti-Parkinson drugs                              * anti-anxiety medications

* cardiovascular drugs                              * anticonvulsants

* corticosteroids                                        * narcotics

* sedatives                                                * statins

 

The elderly are especially at risk of developing dementia-like symptoms because their bodies are not able to process medications as well as a younger person’s does. A lower metabolism, less lean body mass, less water in the body, and decreased kidney and liver functions make it harder to clean out toxins. As a result, drugs can accumulate in the body.

 

Also, seniors are usually prescribed more drugs as they get older. Polypharmacy is the term used to describe the use of five or more medications in people over 65. This can easily happen when multiple doctors are prescribing drugs for different ailments. The more drugs they take, the greater their risk for a damaging drug reaction.

 

Using one pharmacist can help provide a gatekeeper, but it is vitally important to have a primary doctor oversee the person’s complete list of prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements. Alcohol, or even taking someone else’s medication, can add to the problem.

 

In many cases, the cognitive symptoms vanish when medication is stopped. But don’t try to do this yourself. Work with the primary doctor to determine which medications can be reduced, eliminated or replaced without adversely affecting the person’s overall well-being. Take the bottles and containers with you so the doctor can evaluate the dosages and expiration dates.

 

More than 100 other conditions, from vitamin and hormone deficiencies to rare brain disorders to depression to urinary tract infections, can mimic Alzheimer’s disease. Some are readily treatable.

 

It’s important to know the person, be aware of medications being taken, and watch for changes in behavior. If a loved one has started exhibiting dementia-like symptoms, act quickly. Insist on an evaluation of their medications and eliminate other conditions. If dementia does exist, it is critical to start treatment as soon as possible.

 

Call me if you have any questions:

Greg McIntyreGreg_Full
Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street, Shelby

 

10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

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Early diagnosis of dementia provides the best opportunities for treatment, support and planning for the future. The Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org) has released the following list of signs and symptoms that can help individuals and family members recognize the beginnings of dementia. If you are concerned about any of these, be sure to see a doctor and, if suggested, begin treatment as soon as possible.

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. Of concern: Forgetting recently learned information, important dates or events; repeatedly asking for the same information; relying on notes, devices or family members for things they used to handle on their own. Normal age-related change: Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later.

 

  1. Challenges in planning or solving problems. Of concern: Changes in the ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers, such as having trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills; difficulty concentrating and taking much longer to do things than before. Normal age-related change: Making an occasional error when balancing a checkbook.

 

  1. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work or leisure. Of concern: Finding it hard to complete daily tasks, such as driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game. Normal age-related change: Occasionally needing help to use settings on a microwave or to record a television show.

 

  1. Confusion with time or place. Of concern: Losing track of dates, seasons and passage of time; trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately; forgetting where they are or how they got there. Normal age-related change: Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later.

 

  1. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. Of concern: Vision problems that make it difficult to read, judge distance, and determine color and contrast. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not recognize their own reflection. Normal age-related change: Vision problems due to cataracts.

 

  1. New problems with words in speaking or writing. Of concern: Having trouble following or joining a conversation; stopping in the middle of a conversation with no idea how to continue, or repeating themselves; having problems finding the right word or calling things by the wrong name. Normal age-related change: Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.

 

  1. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. Of concern: Putting things in unusual places; losing things and not being able to go back over their steps to find them; accusing others of stealing from them. Normal age-related change: Misplacing items (glasses, car keys, remote control) from time to time.

 

  1. Decreased or poor judgment. Of concern: Changes in judgment or decision making, especially when dealing with money, such as giving large amounts to telemarketers; paying less attention to personal hygiene. Normal age-related change: Making a bad decision once in a while.

 

  1. Withdrawal from work or social activities. Of concern: Not wanting to participate in hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports; having trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or completing a favorite hobby; avoiding social situations because of changes they are experiencing. Normal age-related change: Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations.

 

  1. Changes in mood and personality. Of concern: Becoming confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious; becoming easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone. Normal age-related change: Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.

 

Call me if you have any questions:

Greg McIntyreGreg_Full
Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street, Shelby

 

 

 

The Living Legacy: If you’re searching for the ‘Key to Happiness’, then I have something important to share with you.

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The Living Legacy:

If you’re searching for the ‘Key to Happiness’,

then I have something important to share with you

It’s not out there in the world. It never was.

So what is happiness?

            It may appear different for everyone, depending on what’s important to you and

            your children, but happiness really is only one thing, and the one thing in life that

            everyone is looking for?

Most of us look for it out there in the world. We search and search in jobs, houses, money, people, booze, drugs, you name it, and sometimes we search our whole lives but only a few it seems, really find it.

And there’s a really good reason for this, and here it is:

What if happiness is there all along, we’re just searching in the wrong place, or in the wrong direction?

Think about this: When you meet someone and you realize, wow, this is it, what are you feeling? It’s love right? Well where are you feeling it? It’s within you. Do you ever feel love outside of you?

All your feelings are within you right, and because of that, all these feelings are choices. You choose to feel happy or sad, loving, or angry. It’s your decision whether you love someone or hate them. You base your feelings on things external to you but they’re still your feelings.

Some of you will feel empowered by this and some will be offended, angry and hurt by it. Again it’s your decision.

 

But what is a living legacy and how does it relate to your happiness?

To start with, I need to show you that love and commitment exist. That it does and can happen, even to you? I can show you what it is that gets people 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years of love and commitment.

But time is really not a factor in your legacy. A living legacy is all times. It doesn’t matter, it’s not a race, we’re not in a happiness competition with each other.

You have a living legacy whether you know it, want it, or care.

 

So let’s ask this again. What does happiness entail?

It’s just a decision to be loving and positive no matter what.

We all have our rough days but it’s precisely at those times when we should say to ourselves, “I am going to be loving and stay positive no matter what,” and then say in your mind, “I love you” to whatever situation or person (including yourself) that is causing you to choose a negative path. Then keep saying it until you feel it.

If it seems too hard in that moment, fake it until you feel it.

It’s actually not that difficult. It’s just you making a decision and committing to it. You can do that right?

 

What is the ‘Why’ of all this? Why should you care?

You should care because underneath it all, we all want to be happy more than anything. No matter what you do in life, your position, family, role, level of success, we all want this thing called happiness, so test it.

Make a decision for one day to be happy and loving no matter what goes on, or what happens during that time.

            Here is the one big thing to help with this, because we as humans have, in general

            Failed to grasp this:   

            Stop thinking in terms of wanting to be loved,

            and instead think only of being loving.

If we all did this, consistently, it would change the world, rapidly.

 

This is an example of a Living legacy.

Ted and Terry McIntyre. 50 years of marriage. What’s the Secret?

“What does it take to hold a marriage together for 50 years?”

Mom– “Love, commitment.”

Greg– “And lots of awesome kids.”

Mom– “Who can separate with 5 kids. I think the most important thing is to love the person you’re married to, otherwise you won’t be happy, and commitment. Just make it work.”

Greg– “Dad, do you have any words of wisdom?”

Dad– “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

Mom– “Cause there’ll be plenty of big stuff.”

Dad– “There’ll be a lot of that.”

 

    This is my family.

    This is what we work for. A lifetime devoted to personal betterment, yes, but also driven by devotion to family. To make a better life for ourselves and our children.

    They have.

    My father is the hardest working man I know.

    I remember hearing his alarm clock going off at 4:30am every morning and hearing him roll out of bed and get ready for the day. It was consistent. Like clockwork. His employers could always count on him. We, the family, could always count on him.

    Dad (Ted McIntyre) has been retired several years now and has remodeled my home almost single handedly. He is constantly working on other projects. He is very involved in his church and with friends. I always remember this one saying from my Dad: I used to play so much baseball and I would get down when I first started, when I made errors on a play. He’d say, ‘Everybody makes errors once in a while, but you’ve got to get ready for the next play cause the next batters up, the next balls coming.’ He taught me that. Great life lessons happen all the time, throughout life. It really got me ready because that’s very much how life is. Every once in a while we make a mistake, but we have to keep moving forward cause the next plays coming right. A truly great role model for me and my sons.

    My mother (Terry McIntyre), is equally hard working and creative. She was my mother and chauffeur when I was growing up, shuttling me endlessly to ball games and practices, and she worked full time as the pastor’s secretary at First Baptist Church in Shelby, NC. She was the queen of school projects, always there to push me forward and beyond. I have to say dad also helped a ton so I guess you would call him the king of school projects.

    They’ve been there more than words can say. I followed my Dad’s lead into the Navy. It worked well for him and for me. I followed his lead going to college. Man, was that a great decision! I have tried and sometimes failed to follow his lead as a Christian father, a God fearing man, tirelessly devoted to his wife, children and providing for them no matter what.

    I’m different from my parents, we all are, but they provided and continue to provide a great roadmap to follow for how to have a thriving marriage, family and be a decent human being.

    That’s their legacy. The legacy that you hang in there with your wife through thick and thin. You support each other. You made it look quite effortless but I know it takes a lot of work. You work hard for your family no matter what. You love your children unconditionally. You try to teach them the right things to do, what you consider the right things. You know what that is!

    These are the real legacies we leave our families.

    I have been married over 17 years now to my lovely wife, Stefanie. 50 years seems like a long way away. My mom told me yesterday that 25 years would be here before I knew it. She’s right. This life… time flies by so fast.

    I wish my parents a Very happy 50th anniversary.

    I hope that I can live up to their living legacy of being kind, hard working, Christian folks.

    Thank you very much for your wisdom, advice, perseverance through your marriage, and here’s to you both.

I know you are working on your living legacy out there too. I hope we all make it to 50 years of love and commitment and everything else, so choose to have a good life no matter what. It can only get better by doing so.

 

Bibliography and Resources

The Ultimate truth – Lester levenson

No Attachments No Aversions. The autobiography of a master – Lester Levenson

Love Yourself and let the other person have it your way – Lawrence Crane

The Divine Matrix – Gregg Braden

 

Call me if you have any questions:

Greg McIntyreGreg_Full
Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street, Shelby

 

 

Article I Promised: Lady Bird Deeds

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Today, we’re going to look at Lady Bird Deeds, including what they are, what they do, and how they differ from traditional deeds, like regular general warranty deeds or life estates deeds. We’ll also look at how they fit into your estate planning, especially when considering the option of possible Medicaid or protecting against that.

I love these deeds because they can accomplish lots quickly. Why are they called Lady Bird Deeds? They get their name from Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of President Lyndon B. Johnson, the commander-in-chief originally responsible for implementing Medicaid.

I’ll be speaking on these deeds as they exist in the legal system of North Carolina because that’s the state where I practice law. However, many other states in the US also use and accept Lady Bird Deeds in much the same way. Let’s start by talking about why they are important to you and your estate plan.

Medicaid can put a lien on your house and take it when you pass if you have to draw on the system at any point to pay for long-term care. We’ve discussed before how 70% of seniors over 65 years of age are going to require some kind of long-term care, whether it’s in-home or at a nursing facility, before we pass. In order to qualify for Medicaid, we have to spend out of our own assets or have in place long-term care insurance and some type of plan to protect our assets. Lady Bird Deeds can help with that and be used to avoid having to give up your home at your passing to pay the lien that Medicaid may place on that house.

Let us compare Lady Bird Deeds to other deeds.  There are general warranty deeds or regular fee simple deeds, which is when you pass everything to a grantee or whomever you may appoint. You may have chosen a life estate deed. These have been around for a long time and work a bit differently than a general warranty deed. Life estate deeds allow you to give away a future interest in property. You retain what’s called a life estate or a life interest in that property which allows you to sell or mortgage said life interest.

However, it is a very limited interest. At your passing, whomever you sold that life estate, that deed would automatically be jerked from that person’s possession and passed to whomever the future interest holder may perhaps be a son or daughter. This means life estate deeds are very limited. Also, life estate deeds do count as a transfer of assets and that would stick you with a penalty or prevent you from drawing Medicaid.

 You would later have to void that transfer or re-transfer the property back to yourself to be able to qualify for Medicaid. A Lady Bird Deed is really the best of both worlds. This deed allows you to reserve a life interest in a property but it qualifies or defines that life interest as one that is like a fee simple full-ownership interest. You are still allowed to mortgage, sell, or gift the property and extinguish the future interest holder. You can control it fully, but you’ve already named a future interest holder in that Lady Bird Deed, which may be the son or daughter that you want to receive it once you pass.

A Medicaid lien will not attach to the property but because you’ve retained control of it, and it is not a countable asset transfer that will give you a penalty for time to qualify for Medicaid or otherwise deny you eligibility for Medicaid. You can literally give away the home and any surrounding contiguous property, which means property that is not separated by boundaries then go and apply for Medicaid the next day.

This works very well in North Carolina right now.

States such as Georgia and South Carolina, however, do not allow Lady Bird Deeds. At this point in time, they are allowable in North Carolina and this is a very good way, especially in an emergency situation, to transfer assets. There is a possibility in the future that the policy will change but that is always a possibility.

There are other ways to shield property, such as Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts, that are more advanced. However, Lady Bird Deeds are a simple way to transfer property and still qualify for Medicaid, while not allowing a Medicaid lien to be placed against your property. So, what should you do? By doing nothing, you risk losing your home that you have worked for. Some people have worked to pay off their home for 30+ years, meaning you have put a lot of time and energy into this property.

You would be losing, essentially, the American dream. Your home is part of that dream. Protect it by getting your property deeds in order. You can do this by using Lady Bird Deeds and other strategies, which can help save your property, but only if you take action.

Remember that a Medicaid look-back period is important in a lot of pre-planning and emergency situations involving a home. The clock is ticking, so contact an elder law attorney. You can visit our website at www.mcelderlaw.com or feel free to contact my office directly at (704) 259-7040. We would be glad to consult with you regarding the best approach to use to keep your hard earned properties, savings, and assets.

Call me if you have any questions:

Greg McIntyreGreg_Full
Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street, Shelby
704-259-7040

 

Be Nostalgic about the old days: Don’t lament a lack of planning.

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nostalgia-gustavo-rondón.0.533.1149.574.960.480.cHey this is Greg McIntyre the elder law guy with McIntyre elder law. I’ve been feeling nostalgic this morning. I wrote this while at the beautiful Gardner Webb University, where I come to get a little peace and quiet every once in a while.

The reason I’m here today is I’ve been working on my book called ‘Saving the Farm, a practical guide to the legal maze of aging in America’ which should be finished in the next 2 days, but I wasn’t happy with the front and back covers for the book, so I came here to get some original photos. I went out to Lattimore North Carolina which is where my grandfather Papa Mac and Mama Mac lived on the farm. My grandfather had lived in assisted living for more than a decade.

So I was looking for wide open spaces. I had envisioned the back cover to be a farm with land and rolling hills and I got a great picture. I’ve edited it for everyone getting the newsletter, or you can see it on youtube, or our website, mcelderlaw.com, just click on the tab that says ‘elder law tv’, and you’ll see what the back cover will look like. I photographed a great barn that I’m going to use for the front cover, and applied a black and white filter to convey the mood for ‘Saving the Farm’.

I got nostalgic looking around at that old house thinking about my grandparents and remembering watching the wonderful world of Disney with my grandfather. I’d get up in the morning, smell the pancakes my grandfather made, coming down to the kitchen and eating and playing out by the barn where there were chickens, or going back to a logging operation behind the house. All kinds of memories, so I was a bit nostalgic. I went around for a few hours before I found what I wanted to photograph.

It’s a big leap between a written document and a printed book or ebook formats, so I’m working with a book designer to organize and achieve that. So look out for it, it’s going to be first on Amazon iTunes, and we’ll do a lot more to get it to everyone affiliated with our firm, or who is a client with our firm.

Now I like word origins. The origins of the word ‘Nostalgia’ comes from the Greek word ‘Nostos’, which means ‘return home’ or ‘homecoming’, and then ‘algos’, which means ‘pain’, or ‘ache’ so, return home in pain. That was different than what I thought it would be. The definition for ‘Nostalgia’ says, ‘a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place associated with happy personal connections’.

You’re sentimental when thinking about college days, the grandparents, the kids, your own childhood, or it can be: Something done or presented in order to provoke feelings of nostalgia. An evening of TV nostalgia for instance.

Also there is the German word, ‘Heimweh’, which means ‘homesickness’. In the late 18th century these merged into ‘Nostalgia’, or ‘acute homesickness’.

For me, Nostalgia is just thinking about the past in a sentimental or a good way. What I’m cautioning you not to do, is you don’t want to lament the past in a bad way. That Greek word, ‘Algos’ or ‘pain’, you want to leave that out of your nostalgic thoughts, if you can. You want them to be as enjoyable as possible. You want your kids to be nostalgic about their memories with you. What I’m getting at is this; we want to make sure we plan ahead.

Nostalgia

Don’t lament the loss of property because you didn’t plan properly, or knowing that hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent down on a nursing home stay that could have gone to sending your kids to college. You might want to set aside money for that nursing home stay in case it happens, or make sure you’re in with your insurance agent on long term care.

It takes minimal effort to plan ahead, to put in place a General Durable Power of Attorney, so that somebody else can handle your personal business for you. Healthcare Power of Attorney, so that someone can manage life and death healthcare situations. You certainly don’t want to lament that if you don’t have it in place. Seeing an elder law attorney would help you put in place a Ladybird Deed that could save the house right now under North Carolina rules. North Carolina policy could save the house even if you need Medicaid assistance for nursing home or assisted living care. Why wouldn’t you put that in place?

Planning

That’s a no brainer. It could save a house worth tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, that you worked so hard for, paid so much for and put so much blood sweat and tears into owning and acquiring. Heaven forbid that you’re incapacitated or incompetent at some time in life, where you don’t have a family member appointed to take care of your personal affairs and your cash. If you’re stuck in that situation where somebody has to pursue Guardianship over you to take over the finances, as well as healthcare decisions, that’s not good. Don’t put your family in that situation. Don’t put them in a situation where all the money is being spent down. Plan ahead for that.

We have Trust Planning that we can do for clients that can send the grandkids to college, and can make sure you have plenty of income going into your senior years, and make sure it’s protected against that spend down if you had a long term care incident or need of a stay. At least it gives you options. At least you’re not subject to the whims of the laws and the wind, whichever way it’s blowing right now in the political climate.

You think the political climate and laws change? Of course they do, and this is a perfect time to talk about it. Tax laws change, Medicaid laws will change, the look back periods change. The word on the street is they will go from 3 years for Assisted Living and 5 years for Nursing Home Medicaid, to a look back period of 5 years for Assisted Living and 7 years for Nursing Home Medicaid. And who knows how long the Ladybird protection deed will be in place? I’ve had people in the know tell me about how they wonder if that is going away soon. I’m surprised they haven’t taken it away already? So get that protection while you can. Get your foundational documents in place while you can. Look at Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts while you can. Don’t let your grandkids be nostalgic about how the old home stead now belongs to someone else, because you failed to plan to protect it and keep it in your family.

Nostalgia’s great for thinking about the right things, about the wonderful world of Disney, Disney was special back in those days. I want to say it was black and white but I know it was in color. It came on maybe at 7 o’clock on Sunday nights. Watching it with the grandparents with the smell of pancakes in the air on a Saturday morning, I can smell them right now. It was so special. Don’t let the kids and grandkids lament or be nostalgic in a way where because of a lack of planning, Johnny and Suzie didn’t get to go to college or have a chance to fulfill their potential.

I’m Greg McIntyre the elder law guy. If you need to talk to me or see me, you can follow me on twitter at lawyergreg or give our firm a call at 704-259-7040. We would be glad to set up that appointment.

So call me, I’ll be glad to talk about putting your foundations in place, putting a Ladybird Deed around the house to protect it. We’ll talk about Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts, that’s a really neat trust we draft that can help save your hard earned money and property, not just for you but for future generations.

Call me if you have any questions:

Greg McIntyreGreg_Full
Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street
Shelby, NC 28150

 

Guardianship NIGHTMARES!!!

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Hey this is Greg McIntyre with McIntyre Elder Law helping seniors protect their assets and legacies. It’s been a long week, and I wanted to wrap it up for you by getting into what I’m really hot on right now, which is Guardianships.

I’m so fired up about this and so I focused this episode on Guardianship Nightmares and how you can avoid them. You just have no idea what you are subjecting yourself and your family to, and your hard earned savings that you worked for your entire life, including your home if you do not plan ahead with some basic documents. I’m telling you right now, guardianships are not good things and are not a good place to be.

If you wind up in a guardianship, all assets are frozen. It is nearly impossible to move them or to help yourself or a family member. So let me tell you what I’m talking about.

Let’s explore what types of guardianships there are.
Guardianship of the Person
Guardianship of the Estate
General Guardianship.

‘Guardianship of the Person’ means you are able to make healthcare and other legal decisions for someone okay. But that doesn’t mean manage their money.

‘Guardianship of the Estate’ means you can just manage their money but not make those other legal and healthcare decisions for them.

If you are ‘General Guardian’ you can manage their money and you can manage their healthcare and make other legal decisions.

Now some requirements for ‘Guardianship of the Estate’ or ‘General Guardianship’ are, you have to file annual inventories, keep all receipts for everything you do, and hope you are making all the right moves with the expenditure because even though I know the majority of people are acting in good faith taking care of their family members, you can get flagged for some funky stuff, and I’ll go into that in a little while. You should always petition the clerk for anything, any way you need to spend money is just a safe bet. Petition the clerk ahead of time.

I have seen clerks petition and remove a guardian okay. I have seen them petition to remove a guardian, a family member, a trusted family member who loves either their mother or sister or brother to death, and would never do anything wrong with their money but the clerk petitioned to remove them because they paid tithe. Yes you heard me right, because even if the ward has a history of always paying tithe and is so important to them, even if they are a spiritual being and trust me, you’re still a spiritual being after you are found incompetent and in need of a guardian, but if you’re paying tithe, even a minimal amount of tithe, the clerk can make a big deal out of that, like something crazy is going on because you’re contributing to the church. This is even if that person is a really strong part of the church okay, and a really great fixture at that church, it’s unreal and sad. Again I’m fired up about this because I can’t believe this happens in our society. I cannot believe it. You shouldn’t believe it either, and you should be up in arms about it, I’m telling you, because it’s horrible the way the guardianships are run today.

I have seen birthday gifts, small birthday gifts for family members that the ward, this incompetent, this family member who loves their niece or nephew or whoever, and wants to buy a little something for them. So the guardian says okay we’ll buy a little something for this child on their birthday, and you would not believe how much this is blown out of all proportions. It is made out that the guardian who is the family member, has taken advantage of this ward by buying this birthday gift for this person. And you’re hearing me right, these are actual events I have witnessed take place, so you need to be aware of that.

You need to be aware that those are potential problems and issues. And that’s just talking about small things. When you start getting into larger conveyances or expenditures, even if you’re acting in the best interest or you feel like you are acting in the best interest of your mother, dad, sister or brother, son, or daughter that you’re guardian of, you are going to be looked upon almost as the bad guy. You will be under a really harsh eye by clerks at the clerk’s office who are really going to give you a hard time. And I don’t mean a little bit, I mean a hard time. That’s happening in my community, Cleveland County all the time. I am sure this happens across the state in North Carolina. It’s harsh, it takes no prisoners and it can tear up a family and really really call out your reputation as well.

So you want to try to avoid these Guardianship nightmares. You want to stay the heck away from them, and there are easy ways to do that.

You can avoid them by putting in place Powers of Attorney. Now I don’t like short form Powers of Attorney, but let me tell you why I equate powers of attorney with guardianship.
You can put in place ‘General Durable Powers of Attorney’, that’s the same and functions the same as ‘Guardianship of the Estate’, which means you are in charge of the money, and charged with spending it correctly. You still have a fiduciary duty to take care of mom, dad, sister, brother and act in their best interests but you are not under the eye of the state. The state isn’t questioning every move you make which is a huge problem.

For example, let’s say you were in a nursing home, I have seen the state allow a person’s house fall to rot, instead of allowing any money to fix that house up. But they will let the money be spent down every single month, that’s about $5000 to $7000 dollars a month just to the nursing home, so you might as well go write a check for everything you’ve saved your entire life and write it out to the nursing home, and the state feels justified in doing that.

It’s not right, and it’s not okay. I advocate against it every single day. However, a ‘General Durable Power of Attorney’ will help you avoid this situation. It will help keep you out of this situation, and that is what you want, and that is what you need.

Again I’m not a fan of forms because they can easily be modified. Don’t print one off online that would be my advice. Don’t let your entire retirement and assets you saved and worked for your entire life be squandered by putting the state in control of it. Take control, take control now. Put ‘General Durable Powers of Attorney’ in place ahead of time. Ours are 21 to 25 pages for long form ‘Powers of Attorney’ because they really enumerate everything you can do. Our ‘Powers of Attorney’ allow your spouse to make any business decision you can make yourself, so they could just step in. Hell, my wife can’t even modify my cell phone bill because I set it up unless she has a ‘Power of Attorney’ or something like that to do so. It’s the same with Utilities if they’re in the spouse’s name. If you’re aging then go ahead and put your spouse and others on there. Everybody, aging or not, needs to have these in place but you should put multiple people on them.

When Michael Jordan fouls out he needs somebody to come off the bench, so your ‘Attorney in Fact’, the person who is acting as you when you can’t because of a healthcare problem, even if it’s temporary, you know if that person can’t act, you do not want to put the state in place, you just don’t want that. Stay the heck away from that okay. We want to go ahead and put a second person in place, a second trusted family member like a son or daughter. You can go as deep on that bench as you want, 2 or 3 people sitting on the bench ready to come in and fill in for a husband or wife who is your primary ‘Attorney In Fact’.

Now why is that important?

If your primary is suddenly unable to fill in and you have no second, then you are at the mercy of the state. The family would either be stuck and unable to move assets or access accounts, or save their home, or the alternative would be seek guardianship but then the assets are frozen solid.

You’re stuck unless your spouse has a ‘Power of Attorney in place’ and multiple people on them. Let’s say you have early onset Alzheimer’s and you’re in your 60’s to early 70’s, and your wife or husband has a good 20 or 30 years ahead of them. All the money is being spent down, and the spouse is in my office crying because all the money is going away, and you didn’t act ahead of time to put in place the ‘General Durable Power of Attorney’.

I see this situation on a regular weekly basis at least and it’s sad, because then you are looking at a Guardianship to do anything, and the state is going to lock it down. They have no mercy, they do not care that you are going to be destitute if all this money is spent down. That’s where you need the ‘General Durable Power of Attorney’, so let’s put those in place ahead of time. It’s very important.

‘Healthcare Powers of Attorney’ will replace ‘Guardianship of the Person’. Now ‘Guardianship of the Person’ is where you are going to have a court proceeding where a family member will be appointed to make healthcare decisions for you. That isn’t so burdensome and over governed okay. That’s a little more reasonable and gives you a little more leeway to make healthcare decisions, legal decisions in the best interests of the ward.

I like to appoint a quarterback. I look at the huddle as being the family. The quarterback goes and meets up with the family and says hey look, Mom’s in this situation where she needs this healthcare procedure, there is a couple of options here for the procedure, what should we do, let’s take a consensus, let’s work this out. One person is going back to the doctor. Only one. Don’t have the sister or brother flying in from another state, that haven’t seen you for 20 years and all of a sudden they have a different idea of how to care for your mom, and the family has been doing that for the last 5 years okay.

Appoint one person because who is the healthcare facility supposed to listen to? Which son or daughter trumps the other if there are conflicting opinions about healthcare? There probably will be. It puts the doctors, the facility and the administration and staff of a healthcare facility really at a disadvantage to make life and death decisions for that member, and life saving measures, including just general healthcare.

So you can avoid a Guardianship situation or a ‘General Guardianship’ or ‘Guardianship over the Person’ by putting in place ‘Healthcare Powers of Attorney’ ahead of time. Those should be separate documents from the ‘General Durable Powers of Attorney’. We call it ‘Durable’ by the way because it’s survives incapacity, mental incompetence or mental disease, or disability. So when you really need it, it is going to be active. If it doesn’t have that clause in it, it does not survive mental incapacity, mental disability or mental incompetence. So you want to make sure you have that in place.

In closing, Guardianship nightmares exist. They happen every single day. It’s a cold hard process, it’s a process of law and unless you want your estate eaten up by attorneys fees or just spent into the ground with no choice, and a guardian with no choice of what to do, put those 2 documents in place ahead of time.

I’m Greg McIntyre the Elder Law guy with McIntyre Elder Law, helping seniors protect their assets and legacies. I’m fighting for you every single day, as hard as I can, I guarantee it, just ask my clients. If you need to reach me or talk to me, call me at 704-259-7040.
Have a great weekend.

Call me if you have any questions:

Greg McIntyreGreg_Full
Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street
Shelby, NC 28150

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