Elder Law recognizes that older people have a special set of issues to be addressed through the legal system. Among these are public benefits, retirement, guardianship, insurance including long-term care insurance, estate planning for life and protection from neglect and exploitation. Some argue that Elder Law started with the passage of the Social Security Act in 1935, but without a doubt, … [Read more...] about Elder Law Defined
According to the National Institute on Aging, dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning (thinking, remembering, and reasoning) and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. Dementia is more common as people grow older. Up to half of all people age 85 or older may have some form of dementia. As Elder Lawyers, we deal with dementia … [Read more...] about Dementia – Planning Ahead
A frequent question I get from clients is “isn’t there a limit on how much I can give?” The answer is that there is no limit on how much you can give, there is a limit on how much you can give without filing a gift tax return (Form 709). Yes, in addition to the income tax we are all familiar with, there is such a thing as a gift tax. The limit on how much you can give away in any … [Read more...] about Form 709 and You – A Primer on Gift Taxation
One of the most common misconceptions married people have about joint ownership of property is that it passes automatically to the survivor on death of the one of the owners. The presumption in Texas is just the opposite. The question is usually presented to me like this: “it was in both our names, so I own it now, right?” Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. Here is a typical situation. … [Read more...] about Joint Ownership and Passage of Title on Death
Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that is best known for funding nursing home care for “impoverished” seniors. Let’s focus for a moment on the “impoverished” part. To be eligible for Medicaid, a senior can have only limited assets - but some assets are excluded from the calculation. The government will look back at 5 years’ worth of transactions in determining if the senior is truly … [Read more...] about Medicaid Top 3 Mistakes
Most people know that they need a will and that if they don’t have one, state laws of descent and distribution will control how their estate is distributed. What they often don’t consider is what laws will apply if they become incapacitated. For the purposes of this article, an incapacitated person is one who, because of a physical or mental condition, is substantially unable to manage the … [Read more...] about Who Will Handle My Finances If I Become Incapacitated?