Here is a story of the human spirit. A 96 year old WWII veteran has been living in an assisted living facility in New Jersey for over 4 years. One by one the old time friends have passed on and the nearest child lives over 3 hours away. The new friends she has made over the years provide needed companionship, and one or more family members would visit about every two weeks. Then Covid-19 hit.
Friends naturally want to help their friends and their thoughts and advice give comfort in life. Faced with medical or legal problems, however, nonprofessional advice may be incorrect, and could result in serious unintended consequences. The following is an illustration of how well intended, but wrong advice could affect a family’s ability to stay at home, get homecare paid by the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders, and preserve an inheritance for children and grandchildren.
Assume a friend is talking with a couple that wants to do estate planning to minimize inheritance taxes, capital gains taxes, avoid probate, and pass on those hard-earned life savings to their children. The friend says the way to do that and to avoid probate is to put assets into a revocable trust. They decide to consult with an elder law attorney who evaluates their particular financial situation and based on that situation, the attorney recommends an irrevocable trust to accomplish all their purposes.
COVID-19 has created an opportunity to reinvent how we think about long-term care. Dr. James Wright, medical director of several Richmond, VA area nursing homes, has been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Based upon his personal experience over the past several months, Dr. Wright will discuss why long-term care needs to change and how we can better care for our seniors going forward..
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued an emergency declaration to healthcare providers to be able to handle more patients. Part of it relates to nursing homes and part relates to homecare. Those seniors receiving in home services do not have to see their doctor to get their home health orders renewed as was previously required. It also allows out of state health care companies to give care as long as they hold a care license in their home state. So Connecticut families near Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York may have more options for home care services. Medicare recipients who need durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, braces or hospital beds have had the rules relaxed on how often the equipment can be received, how many items can be received, how they are paid for and how the equipment is returned. A visit to the doctor is no longer absolutely required. And if the equipment breaks, is lost or wears out a new doctor’s order is not required because it assumes doctors may be flat out taking care of COVID patients.
When someone passes on, the family is often at a loss of what to do. Here is an outline and some tips to help guide the way after the funeral is done and the funeral director has obtained death certificates from the town. It is necessary to pull together two lists of all the assets. One list is assets owned solely by the deceased, without a joint owner or a beneficiary. The other list is property owned jointly with right of survivorship or that has a beneficiary named. Property automatically going to others does not go through probate, but is part of what is called the taxable estate. The word taxable raises everyone’s blood pressure, but the good news is the Connecticut inheritance tax exemption is $5.1 million in 2020, and the Federal is $11.2 million, so for all but the very wealthy, there is no inheritance tax.