Is Your Child 18? Here Are Legal Documents Young Adult Children Should Have in Place

By | Estate Planning, Legal info

We have a client whose child was in his first year of college.   One day, the client received a call from the residence hall supervisor that their child was transported to the emergency room after a night of heavy drinking.  Our client immediately called the hospital for an update.  Unfortunately, the hospital legally could not provide any information about the child’s condition because the child was over the age of majority (18 years of age in Florida).  Of course, this was frustrating for the client as they pay the child’s tuition, claimed the child as a dependent for tax purposes, and included the child on their medical plan. Our client quickly learned that as the natural parent, once the child turns 18 years old, the parent can’t make healthcare decisions or get personal information without certain legal documents in place. Legal planning documents are not the first thing most people…

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Four Ways the Coronavirus Pandemic May Affect Long-Term Care Insurance

By | Elder Care, Estate Planning

The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on the elderly, particularly those in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. This has raised questions about how the virus has influenced the costs and provision of long-term care insurance, which covers care in facilities and sometimes at home as well. If you have a long-term care insurance policy, you may wonder how it is affected by the pandemic. If you don’t have a policy, you may wonder if the pandemic will make it more difficult to get one. An article by US News and World Report, examines issues with long-term care insurance that have arisen in the last few months, including the following: Qualifying for insurance. It is already more difficult to qualify for long-term care insurance the older you get. Because older individuals are at a higher risk for coronavirus, this can affect your long-term care application as well….

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Yes, You Can Receive Unemployment and Social Security at the Same Time

By | Elder Care, Estate Planning

The COVID-19 pandemic has sent unemployment to its highest levels since the Great Depression, and older workers have been particularly hard hit, with one in five over age 55 now out of work, according to one estimate. Many people continue to work beyond retirement age, either by choice or out of necessity, at the same time that they receive Social Security benefits. Other older workers are now being forced to take their benefits early after losing their jobs (although doing so permanently reduces the amount beneficiaries can receive). If you are already receiving Social Security, are you also eligible for full unemployment benefits? Until recently, the answer was not necessarily. Many states reduced unemployment benefits of those receiving Social Security retirement benefits by up to 50 percent, something called the “Social Security offset.” But after AARP and the National Unemployment Law Project pushed to have these laws overturned, this is…

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Seniors Affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic Have More Time to Apply for Medicare or Change Plans

By | Elder Care, Legal info, Medicare

The closure of Social Security offices has caused problems and worries for recently unemployed seniors who need to apply for Medicare after losing their employer coverage. In response, the federal government has announced that seniors affected by the crisis have additional time to enroll in Medicare or change plans. With millions of people out of work and losing their employer health insurance due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the need for Medicare coverage is critical. While it is possible for some seniors to apply for Medicare online, others need to provide more information, including individuals who did not sign up for Medicare Part B initially because they had health insurance through an employer. Seniors who are applying for Medicare Part B after losing their job need to provide proof of their employer policy along with their Medicare application to ensure they aren’t subject to substantial penalties. With Social Security offices closed,…

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Retirement Account Owners Do Not Have to Take Required Distributions in 2020 – Coronavirus Relief

By | Estate Planning

Retirement account owners, many of whose retirement balances have been pummeled by a stock market drop due to the coronavirus pandemic, do not have to take mandatory withdrawals this year. Federal law requires individuals who were age 70 1/2 before the end of 2019 to begin taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from their retirement plan in April of the year after they turned 70. (Note that those who were younger than 70 ½ at the end of 2019 can wait until they turn 72 to take RMDs.) The amount of the distribution is based on the value of the account at the end of the previous year, but the funds you withdraw are treated as taxable income in the year you take the distribution. The coronavirus pandemic caused the stock market to tumble, depleting many retirement accounts. RMDs for this year would be based on the value of the account…

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Should Seniors Who Lose Their Job During the Coronavirus Pandemic Claim Social Security Benefits Early?

By | Elder Care, Estate Planning, Legal info

In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, unemployment is skyrocketing. Seniors who lose their jobs may be tempted to claim Social Security benefits early, but should they, given the resulting reduction in future benefits? The answer depends on your situation, but you may be able to claim and not sacrifice much in terms of future benefits. While you can claim Social Security benefits as early as age 62, the better financial decision is usually to wait to take benefits as long as you are able. If you take Social Security between age 62 and your full retirement age, your benefits will be permanently reduced to account for the longer period you will be paid. Individuals who file at age 62 this year will receive 72 percent of their full benefit. On the other hand, if you delay taking retirement beyond your full retirement age, depending on when you were born,…

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Staying Connected to Family Members in a Nursing Home When Visits are Banned

By | Elder Care, Nursing Home

The spread of the coronavirus to nursing home residents has caused the federal government to direct nursing homes to restrict visitor access, and many assisted living facilities have done the same. While the move helps the residents stay healthy, it can also lead to social isolation and depression. Families are having to find new ways to stay in touch. Nursing homes have been hit especially hard by the coronavirus. The Life Care Center of Kirkland, Washington near Seattle was one of the first clusters of coronavirus in the United States and is one of the deadliest, with at least 35 deaths associated with the facility. In response, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance to all nursing homes, restricting all visitors, except for compassionate care in end-of-life situations; restricting all volunteers and nonessential personnel; and cancelling all group activities and communal dining. While these actions are necessary…

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Is This Dementia?

By | Guardianship
When a loved one experiences forgetfulness, we often become concerned about their safety and well-being.  According to the Alzheimer’s Association, common symptoms of dementia include memory loss, difficulty planning or...
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