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Elder Law Articles

Starting the New Year

Starting the New Year

It’s a week into the New Year, and all I’ve done (and maybe you too) is finish up the leftover chocolates and cookies, read a biography on George Washington and laze around. So to start the new year properly, all of us should be thinking of what has changed in our lives (if nothing else, we are not getting younger). Have we started to fulfill our New Year’s resolution? And do the older or younger generations of our family, or we ourselves need to finally take simple actions that can make a big difference if sickness, or death should come without warning.

Whether you are eighteen or eighty, married or single, it is a no brainer that having a will, power of attorney, living will and HIPAA form are a must. Obviously, the risk of needing them increases with age, but reviewing what might be achievable is the start.

For those of advanced age, versions of the documents done decades ago may not have the best terms available, as laws do change and have changed in Connecticut and nationally. If your spouse, or mom or dad are starting to need care, it is wise to find out what is available to pay for care to keep them at home, and not be forced into a nursing home. At the risk of beating a dead horse, Connecticut has very strict rules, but the upside is it does have good programs funded by the state, and having them both qualify can mean the difference between staying at home or not.

By way of example, if dad has died and mom needs homecare, it is possible to receive up to $7,370 per month toward that care. And she can keep her house if it is worth less than $1,071,000, which is most people. If dad is alive and mom needs care, there are numerous rules that can allow any couple with typical assets and income to qualify for the Connecticut Homecare Program for Elders.

Having said that, the rules are very strict and what is done to qualify must meet those rules. For example, any amount of assets can be transferred to a disabled child, at the last minute, without any penalty. An example that comes to mind is a couple where mom needed full care, and dad was able to transfer $800,000 to a disabled child and qualify mom for care. They could do that because both mom and dad have power of attorneys in place that specifically allowed this transfer of assets between spouses and to a disabled child.

In another case, one parent was on Medicaid in a nursing home and the “healthy” parent had a terminal illness and over a million dollars in assets. They did a special will with a trust inside it and when the “healthy” parent died, almost all of the assets were saved for the family by that will with the trust inside it. Only the income from one third of the assets had to be paid to the state.

In short, start the new year by getting the legal documentation in place to protect your assets if a need for long term care arises, and to pass on your assets to those you love in a way that maximizes what they get, and does not prevent them from getting home care programs if they need them. That’s it. I’ve started the new year.
Attorneys Stephen O. Allaire (Of Counsel) and Halley C. Allaire are partners in the law firm of Allaire Elder Law.
Attorneys Stephen O. Allaire (Of Counsel) and Halley C. Allaire are members of the National Academy of Elder Law. Attorneys, Inc.
Allaire Elder Law is a highly respected, and highly rated law firm with offices in Bristol, CT.
We can be contacted by phone at (860) 259-1500 or by email.

If you have a question, send a written note to us and we may use your question in a future column.




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