(Not Edited For Spelling Or Punctuation) (Note: Not Legal Advice!)

Long answers are boring, short punchy answers are fun! Time for some fun…


How should I word a letter to say I withdraw specific grants of authority on a POA?

I am primary agent on my father’s POA, but need to produce a letter that says I will not act as agent with respect to obtaining financial assistance from or communicating with Medicaid. Is that wording correct? Do I have to title it as an affidavit?

The Answer Is: “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”

Do Not Do This Bad, Awful, Evil Thing

Point #1 This is total BULL. You have been given the great power to make your father’s remaining life a life worth living. You are being asked to throw away that power, to sacrifice your father’s well-being.
Your father granted you authority to make decisions on his behalf. You accepted that responsibility. You have a duty to your father to exercise the authority you have been given in your father’s best interest. Your father’s best interest. Not the interest of somebody who wants to take advantage of your father.

Point #2 Who is asking for this? Who says you “need to produce a letter”? No reputable care facility would ask for this. No one who cares about your father would ask for this. There is no GOOD reason for anyone would ask for you to give up your father’s entitlement to federal health care benefits. There are lots of BAD reasons, though.

Point #3 Middle-class America already won this fight. Back in the day (as the kids say)(or used to say)(or never said but I thought they did)… When I first started doing this stuff, 31 years ago, it was not uncommon to see demands like this in long-term care contracts. The State of Ohio even prohibited Medicaid recipients from speaking with attorneys about their benefits. All blatantly wrong. All clearly illegal. Federal law is clear: no one can require you to give up your federal health care benefits. And that means you cannot give up your father’s federal health care benefits. You do not “need” to produce any such letter. Whoever asked for the letter was probably breaking federal law.

Point #4 Medicaid simply is the way America pays for long-term care.

  • Folks spend themselves into nursing home poverty.
  • Savings exhausted, farm sold, cottage gone, destitute.
  • Apply for Medicaid.
  • Get base level of care, paid by Medicaid.

Point #5 Middle-class savers can obtain Medicaid benefits in full compliance with state and federal law without going broke. Your savings can supplement Medicaid so that you receive the highest level of care, tailored to your unique needs.

Point #6. Private Pay Rates are about 50% higher than Medicaid rates for the same services. Reality Check: Look at your last medical or hospital bill. Do you think the hospital is paying $12 per aspirin?

Conclusion: Do not betray your father. Dear old Dad trusted you to act in his best interest. Accept the great responsibility that comes with great power. Make his remaining time on this planet the best time of his life.


My husband’s step grandmother died in August. Her son (not our blood relative obviously) contacted us as the executor.?

He told us that he is distributing the proceeds of her estate and that he is sending us a check, even though we are not named as beneficiaries. My mother-in-law is livid (she has a number of mental and health issues) she cares for her disabled brother (both are beneficiaries) he is concerned she is not adequately caring for her brother. She is demanding that we not accept the check. What should we do here??

The Answer Is: Only Santa Claus Can Give Things Away for Free

You know you are not a beneficiary. If the money you are receiving was supposed to go to other people, that is a problem.

Point #1 Most folks do not leave money to grandchildren. And it is even more unusual to include step-grandchildren. As you observe, your husband is not a relative or named beneficiary. It is hard to see that he has any entitlement to a distribution.

Point #2 Your mother-in-law and her disabled brother appear to be children of the deceased step-grandmother. They are legitimate beneficiaries.

Point #3 If somebody is giving away your inheritance, you are justified in getting hot under the collar. BONUS POINTS: Extra aggravation if your disabled brother’s inheritance is being given away. Especially when you are caring for said disabled brother.

Point #4 Proper estate distribution is up to the personal representative (aka executor). Unless you acted improperly, distribution problems are on the executor-brother.

Head-scratcher: What the hell is going on here? See Point #1. This is strange.

Possibility #1: The executor-step-uncle is giving a portion of the executor-step-uncle’s own share to your husband. If so, no problem.

Possibility #2 The executor-step-uncle is making an unauthorized distribution of the estate. If so, the Probate Court could order your husband to disgorge the money. Also, executor-step-uncle is in deep doo-doo.

Conclusion: “Livid” mothers-in-law with “a number of mental and health issues” are not always wrong. Find out whether executor-step-uncle has any legal basis to make the distribution. If no legal basis can be determined by your own lawyer, do not take the money. Better safe than sorry.


Can an executrix of a will evict a sibling who is also a beneficiary and has lived in the house for 40 years?

My ex-husband has been unable to work for the past 10 years in order to take care of his 99-year-old dad. He passed late last year. His sister took her dad to a lawyer when he was about 90 to create a will. 70% her/30% him. Ex-husband has lived in the very modest home for 40 years. He has no means to start over.

She is the owner of 2 homes and made enough money to retire at 59 (probably not relevant).

The Answer Is: Yes.

Point #1 Father opened his home to son for 30 years before father needed son’s help. Perhaps that helps explain the 70/30 split. Maybe sister isn’t such a “rhymes with witch” after all…

Point #2 Nowadays it is not so unusual to have the holdover tenant child. The kid moves home for a week. Or two. Or THIRTY YEARS! How is it that the kid could not save an apartment rental deposit in thirty years of working plus ten more years of not working and living off dad’s social security and pension. Jeepers!!

Point #3 Eviction is the remedy. In my experience, the “Irish Bachelor” son or daughter has no intention of going soft into that good night of leases, mortgages, rent and maintenance. EEEK! Responsibility! Oh no! Oysters have less attachment to their shells. Frequently the other siblings let “Timmy” stay in the house after the funeral. “For a little while.” Five years later somebody wakes up to the fact that Timmy ain’t goin’ nowhere! Far from being grateful, Timmy is angry that anyone has figured it out…

Point #4 The COVID moratorium on evictions is still in effect. That means you cannot legally evict Timmy. Serve him with the eviction papers anyway. You could try reasoning with Timmy. It will not do any good. At least you can get your ducks in a row for the moment evictions are once more possible.

Point #5 If dad had put Timmy on the deed, you could never get him out. So do not put your kids on deeds.

Point #6 A parent can give a caregiver child the house without screwing up their own Medicaid. The key is that the child has to reside with the parent and provide two (2) years of care services that keep the parent out of the nursing home.

Conclusion: There are dangers and opportunities when a child moves home. Mostly dangers. Consult with your friendly, neighborhood elder law attorney to avoid the mistakes and maximize the advantages.


Applying for benefits does not mean Nursing Home Poverty or silly Spend Down. Learn how to preserve your loved one’s lifesavings, business, cottage, life insurance. Thousands of middle-class families have learned and use these techniques. Why not yours?

How The Rich Do Long-Term Care

Spoke with a smart person last week. She works for a gigantic financial services company. You know the name. The company is excellent. She is excellent. Her team’s job is to look out for about 150 families. “Wealth Management.” They are good at it. Her families do not go broke.

I was curious… “How do you deal with long term care?”

“A cornerstone of our work, of course. You cannot ignore it.” She said.

“But how do you do it?” I persisted.

I was disappointed in her reply. She talked about “asset allocation.” Used the same words and phrases I had heard from other financial professionals. Stuff I have seen fail over and over again. Very disappointing. Burst my bubble. No insight here. And she had seemed so perceptive. But it was the same old, same old. Recycled stuff. Your own financial advisor gave you the same advice. Put so much over here, so much over there. Et cetera.

“That’s all well and good,” I said, “But don’t your folks go broke?”

She laughed. “No, never.”

“Never? I find that hard to believe. Long-term care is expensive.”

“Yes, it is,” she agreed. “But fifty million dollars is quite a bit of money.”

Demonstrating my keen intelligence, I replied, “Huh?”

“Well, our minimum is fifty million of investable assets…”

And then the lightbulb moment…


How the rich do long-term care. From their (minimum) fifty million, their team of professional investors allocates a few million to long-term care issues. Problem solved. For them. Unfortunately, that is what your financial advisor is doing for you. That is why your family faces nursing home poverty.

We Are Not The Rich. Their Solutions Do Not Work For Us

Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. [U]nless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand.

—F. Scott Fitzgerald

Why aren’t your advisors looking out for you? Why all the parrot talk about asset allocation, hybrid insurance products, investment strategies? Why the outright denial and plain avoidance? Why won’t they level with you?

Maybe they do not know any better. Maybe they think that the same strategies that work for the wealthy will work for the middle class. Maybe they are doing the best that they can. Maybe they cannot help it.

Consider the possibility that your advisor learned “best practices” from a “wealth management” guru. Your advisor’s teacher excelled at preserving and growing “old money.” Your advisor was inspired by someone who hobnobs with wealthy folk day-in and day-out. The result: Your advisor may know how to deal with rich people. But what does that have to do with you?
Exactly nothing. According to Ernest Hemingway, the rich are different than you and me. “Yes, they have more money.” Planning for $50,000,000 is not like planning for $500,000. How is that not obvious?

Broken: How The Middle-Class Does Long-Term Care

You spend. And spend. And keep on spending. $12,000 each month for skilled care. $6-7500 each month for assisted living. $25 each hour for companion care at home. More if you want a certified nursing assistant or nurse. Asset allocation? Hardee-har-har.

And then you are broke. Medicaid to the rescue!

Your estate plan is meaningless. Your financial plan is out the window. Your lifetime of work and savings has evaporated. Middle class planning that fails is broken. Let us be honest.

What if we faced the fact that you are not the Great Gatsby? That you do not have a couple million to allocate to long-term care? That long-term care for middle class people like us means Medicaid? Sooner or later, Medicaid will be the solution. Four out of five people in skilled nursing facilities are on Medicaid. 80%. That is reality. Thousands of families receive at-home care through Medicaid. That is also reality.

Fix It: The Middle-Class Can Win Long-Term Care

Recognize that long-term care is a reality for the vast majority. Two-thirds of women, half of men are eventually institutionalized. Accept that Medicaid is the way America pays for long term care.

Anticipate. Plan to preserve your lifesavings. For yourself. For your spouse. For the next generation. The world needs you and your values. Dying in poverty is no way to demonstrate success.

There are 3 goals of LifePlanning™
#1 No Poverty. You will not go broke. Your choices will matter. Your family will succeed.
#2 No Handouts. You have paid into the system with every paycheck, every IRA Required Minimum Distribution, every tax payment. You are not looking for charity or a free ride. Only a bit of fairness.
#3 No Waste. Your hard-earned savings will not be wasted on probate. Will not be thrown out the window. Will not be intercepted by predators or creditors. Your legacy will be of life well-lived. And support for the next generation.

There is no problem with rich folks being rich or planning that takes account of wealth. Good for them.

There is a big problem with advisors giving the same advice to middle class workers and savers that they give to those rich folks. Do not fall into this trap. Learn how. It is super easy. Barely an inconvenience. On your schedule. In the comfort and safety of your own home. In the comfort and safety of one of our workshop rooms. In the comfort and safety of wherever you find comfort and safety.

Sending Just Money To The Next Generation – Easy. Worthless.
Sending Money With Values To The Next Generation – Difficult. Priceless.

Sixty minutes to personal control. Because you earned it. Avoid Nursing Home Poverty. Thousands of middle-class families have learned and use these techniques. Why not yours? Transmit your values along with your stuff.

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