Tag Archive for: assisted living

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Like Driving Past A Car Wreck… Glad It Did Not Happen To You (Not Edited For Spelling Or Punctuation Or Anything Else) (Warning: Not Legal Advice!)

QUESTION: Can our disabled brothers legal guardian (also a family member and remainderman) terminate disabled brothers life estate?

Disabled brother is now in nursing home and will not return to family home which he has life estate in and is also in an irrevocable trust. There are many remaindermen, (large family) and all are in agreement to sell family home including our disabled brothers guardian. Another family member/remainderman wants to buy us out and move into home, hoping that we can all just sign off of house/ trust and quitclaim the property to her. Not sure if this is “allowable” or advisable. We also have concerns about potential “Medicaid recovery” if life estate is terminated while life estate holder is still alive.

Short Answer: Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice elder law without a firm grounding in the fundamentals. Imagine sorting out this fact pattern after the family house was sold, money distributed, Medicaid denied, recriminations on all sides, nursing home lawsuit against disabled brother, allegations of fraudulent transfer against siblings, and a family feud ripe with recriminations echoing through eternity. In other words, the usual case.
Is it crazy to think it is not too late? Is it impossible for sweet reason and angelic actions to save the day? Must this family suffer?
Long Answer: There are several threads here that need to be disentangled. Let us begin with brother’s life estate.

In Michigan, “life estate” means that the person can use and live on the property for their entire lifetime. A life estate is valuable. How valuable?

Back in the day, we used to have hearings with expert witnesses and do future value projections based on life expectancy and then present value regression analyses. But in today’s modern world, Michigan makes it easy to figure out how much a life estate is worth. Get a copy of the Bridges Eligibility Manual 400, Exhibit II – Life Estate and Life Lease Factor Table (BPB 2022-07) (available online!). This Table lists ages from birth to 109 years old. For each age, there is a 5-digit life estate factor. You look up the factor that corresponds to the age of the person. Multiply the factor by the value of the real estate. Voila! That is the value of the person’s life estate.

IMPORTANT POINT: Life Estate values have nothing to do with the actual health of the Life Estate holder. Life Estate Value is all about chronological age. Birth certificate and calendar. Healthy or on hospice? Irrelevant.

A few examples. Let us suppose the family home is worth $100,000.

At age 2, the life estate factor is .99017. So, a two- year old’s life estate is worth $99,017. ($100,000 X .99017)

At age 109, the life estate factor is .04545. That means that the 109-year-old’s life estate is worth $4,545. ($100,000 X .04545)

At age 70, the life estate factor is .60522. How much is a 70-year-old person’s life estate worth? Correct! $60,522. ($100,000 X .60522)

What this means is that “if life estate is terminated while life estate holder is still alive” the life estate holder must be paid the value of the life estate as determined by the BEM 400 Life Estate Factor Table. Easy!

Let’s consider the flip side… the remaindermen.

If 70-year-old disabled brother’s life estate is worth $60,522, what are all the remaindermen’s interests worth, collectively? Correct again! $39,478. ($100,000 – $60,522) Divided by the “many remaindermen” of a “large family.” Betcha didn’t see that coming!

Disabled brother has a guardian. Does that mea we are in probate court? Yes! Does that mean that any sale of the property must be approved by probate court? Yes! Does that mean that we will have to pay an attorney to help us ask the probate court for permission to sell? No! Like plumbing and electrical work on your home, probate can be a “Do-It-Yourself” adventure. Emphasis on “adventure.” Can you steer your automobile with your feet? Sure! But that does not make it a good idea. Like do-it-yourself electrical work, plumbing, or probate. Jes’ sayin’.

Probate is required even if disabled brother also has a conservator for management of his assets.

Remember how disabled brother got the money from the sale of the family home? If disabled brother was already on Medicaid, getting the money will boot him off. Until the money is all “spent down.” Or until the money is stashed in a Medicaid payback trust. Or a charitable pooled income fund. Or somewhere else where the other family members will not benefit.

Are there worse ideas than selling the family home before disabled brother’s death? Sure! You could invade Ukraine, expecting a liberator’s welcome. You could dump trillions of dollars into the economy, expecting no inflation. Spit into the wind. Tug the mask off the ole Lone Ranger. Mess around with Jim. Bad ideas.

When disabled brother dies, his life estate is over. No compensation. No estate or Medicaid recovery. The remaindermen get the remainder. All the remainder. Yay!

But in the meantime… You want to keep the family house occupied. Vacant houses have a way of burning down. Vacant house insurance is hugely expensive. Plus you still have to pay the taxes. And utilities. Mow the grass. Plow the snow. Paint it.

Why not let sister move in now, provided she pays all expenses? Subject to a written agreement? Give her a right of first refusal (not an option) so she may purchase the place after disabled brother’s death?

There are other possibilities. Leasing/subleasing.

Etcetera. But do not accept the assertion that it must be sold pronto. The family has options.


What’s going on with this?

Somehow there is an irrevocable trust blended into the mix. It is not obvious how that trust is being used, if at all. There are several possibilities. But a review of the trust would be essential to knowing what is going on.

Question: Can my father’s caretaker accept his entire estate? Can she be sued for selling everything? He is still alive. My dad signed over his house to his caretaker before she put him into an assisted living home. She then quickly sold it. He has 2 living children. Do I have any recourse now?

Short Answer: No, you do not “have any recourse now”. Sadly, a properly executed deed has consequences which cannot be undone. Even a deed that reverses the prior transfer has real world consequences that cannot be ignored. What consequences? [WARNING: LAWYER ANSWER TO FOLLOW] It depends.

Longer Answer: Is it possible that the caregiver may be sued or prosecuted for financial abuse of the elderly? Is it possible that Father was incapacitated or mentally incompetent at the time he signed the deed? Could those be grounds to throw it out? What if Father was coerced into signing by undue influence, would those be grounds as well? Perchance. Maybe. Possibly. Mayhap. Hmmmmm, tugs at goatee…

How can you prove that Father was consistently and continually mentally incompetent? Or coerced? Were you there the whole time? When he signed? These are difficult cases. Difficult to forget about apparent injustice. Difficult to remedy the injustice. Difficult to know if there was any injustice at all. Difficult to reconcile when the “bad actor” is a family member.

Is it crazy to think that it might just possibly be helpful to have had some professional assistance in this sort of situation? Maybe possibly a few bucks and hours now to avoid big bucks and years of woe in the future? Asking for a friend…

Father, it seems, was mentally competent and had the legal ability to sign. Adults can choose. Poorly. With disastrous consequences.

You may not believe it, but some folks with signs of developing dementia are propped up by gangs of greedy grasping gargoyles intending to gorge on ill-gotten gains. Despicable devils who deny demonstrable incoherence, impulsiveness, and inconsistency. For their own putrescent purposes. How can such evil exploiters exist? Trust the evidence of your own eyes if you doubt it.

Actions have consequences.

Question #1: Can my durable POA withdraw from my IRA and sell my home if I become incapacitated?

Question #2: Can I specify what accounts he can access?

I have two stepchildren. I will probably make one of them my durable POA—but I don’t want them to be able to access certain accounts that I have… if I become incapitated-nor do I want them to sell my home. Hopefully, I would have enough in my bank account to cover medical bills.

Question #3: Can I specify in my will what accounts the POA would have access to withdraw from? I am concerned about abuses as I have heard some horror stories and I have no children of my own or close friends. Question #4: Would I be better off getting a bank to manage my affairs?

Answer #1: Powers of Attorney always depend on the authority you write into them. You can limit the ability of the Agent under the POA however you choose. Generally, to be effective, you want your Agent to be able to access your Individual Retirement Account and to deal with your home.

Answer #2: Yes, you can limit the Agent’s access to specific accounts.

Answer #3: Horror stories are real. Financial abuse of older folks is also all too common. The good news is that there are professional trustees and fiduciaries who will not steal your money. So if you do have some question about the stepchildren, do not appoint them as your trustees or executors or agents or patient advocates or any other position of responsibility.

Answer #4: You may “be better off getting a bank to manage [your] affairs.” Professional trustees vary widely in their commitment to service and delivering value. Your friendly neighborhood elder law attorney (should) have plenty of experience with a range of professional trustees and banks. Why not ask? However, do not use an attorney as your trustee. The trustee function is fundamentally different than the lawyer function, in my opinion. A focused, professional trustee will do that job with much greater efficiency and at less cost than the typical attorney. But you still need to take care that you have the right trustee, and your attorney can be very helpful in that regard.

Is Now A Bad Time For A Real Solution?

Peace of mind and financial security are waiting for everyone who practices LifePlanning™. You know that peace only begins with financial security. Do you want to get lost in the overwhelming flood of claims and promises? Or would you like straight answers?

No excuses. Get the information, insight, inspiration. It is your turn. Ignore the message? Invite poverty? Or get the freely offered information. To make wise decisions. For you. For your loved ones.

The LifePlan™ Workshop has been the first step on the path to security and peace for thousands of families. Why not your family?

Long-term care is the care you need if you can’t perform daily activities on your own for an extended period of time. There are a number of different ways that long-term care can be provided. 

Most long-term care involves assisting with basic personal needs rather than providing medical care. You are usually determined to need long-term care if you need help with two or more “activities of daily living” (such as bathing, dressing, eating, and going to the bathroom). Family members usually provide long-term care to start, but as an illness escalates paid care may become necessary. 

The following are the types of long-term care:

  • Home care from family member. The most basic form of long-term care is when a family member becomes the caregiver. It can involve simple tasks like buying groceries or more complicated ones like bathing and dressing. Sometimes family members can be paid for their work.
  • Home care aide. Home care aides provide companionship and socialization and assist with meal preparation, housecleaning, laundry, shopping, and errands. They are also called homemaker or chore aides.
  • Home health care aide. Health care aides provide personal care (bathing, grooming, etc.), assist with range-of-motion exercises, provide some medically-related care (empty colostomy bags, dress dry wounds, check blood pressure, etc.), and provide assistance with housekeeping and errands. They are often referred to as personal care assistants.
  • Adult day care. Adult day care allows family members to get a respite from caregiving. In general, there are three types of centers: those that focus on social interaction, those that focus on health care, and special Alzheimer’s care centers.  
  • Assisted living facility. Assisted living facilities are a housing option for people who can still live independently but who need some assistance. Depending on the facility, that assistance may include help with meal preparation, housekeeping, medication management, bathing, dressing, transportation and some nursing care. Residents usually live on their own, in small apartments. Despite the emphasis on independence, supportive services are available 24 hours a day in order to provide different levels of help with activities of daily living. The level of medical supervision depends on the facility.
  • Nursing home. Nursing homes are the highest level of long-term care. They provide 24-hour care to residents. Staff provide help with daily activities such as feeding, dressing, and bathing along with medical care and physical, occupational, and speech therapy.

Costs for care can vary widely, from a few hundred dollars a week to pay for coverage when family members are at work to $300,000 or more a year for around-the-clock home care or care in the most expensive nursing homes, perhaps with private aides hired on the side.

Long-term care costs, whether at home, in assisted living or in a nursing home, are paid primarily from three sources: out-of-pocket, Medicaid, and long-term care insurance. Medicare, the health insurance for people over age 65, only pays for up to 100 days of skilled nursing facility care following a hospitalization, and only for so long as the patient is deemed to need skilled care. Medicaid also has options for long term care at home – the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) and MI Choice Waiver.

Need help navigating this maze? The team at Carrier Law are happy to guide you!

Get Home Care Now – Temporary Pandemic Relief Keep Your FARM, COTTAGE, BUSINESS, LIFE SAVINGS

Can we all agree that nobody wants long-term care? Isn’t it too expensive? Who wants to go to a nursing home? Would it break your heart to institutionalize your loved one? Or exhaust life savings? How about losing your cottage, business, farm, hunting land?

And the viral pandemic has made everything worse. For the last 20, 30, 40, 50 years, you’ve shared your life with the most wonderful person on earth. Now imagine no contact. Isolation. A garbled phone call – a brief glimpse through the window.

Too bleak? Scare talk? If you know anyone actually going through it, you know the reality is much much worse.

When government changes the rules and doesn’t tell anyone, is that a secret?

But what if you or your loved one could stay at home? Getting care at home? All medical bills paid. All medical supplies, pharmacy, doctor visits (including transportation), home modifications, all expenses paid? Too good to be true? Not for thousands of your friends and neighbors. When government changes the rules and doesn’t tell anyone, is that a secret?

Last week, Michigan decided to let you keep your cottage, farm, business, life savings. And still qualify for PACE at home benefits. But only for applications during the pandemic emergency period. And they didn’t tell anybody. I had to ask. Which is why I’m here. For you.

Last week’s rule changes are temporary. When the pandemic emergency is over, these extremely favorable rules will be gone.

Sure, it sounds like baloney. I understand. Fact is, right now, Carrier Law families throughout Michigan are experiencing the truth. Comprehensive at home care. No nursing home. Not going broke. Pandemic or not.

But what if my loved one requires assisted living or skilled nursing? That’s included too. No new application. No new requirements.

Do you or your loved one qualify? Can you answer yes to these 3 questions?

  • 1. Need help with daily life? Dementia issues? Certain medical conditions? (We’ll guide you through all 7 sets of criteria.)
  • 2. Are you safe at home?
  • 3. Is your gross social security retirement less than $2349? (Special rules for singles and marrieds with pension income.)

If you’ve answered yes, it’s time to do your homework and get the benefits you have already paid for. It costs nothing to find out.

For 30 years, in my law practice and on my radio show (Sunday mornings from 7-9 on WOOD 1300; call me 888-463-2843!), on television, in print, in person, through thousands of workshops and tens of thousands of one-on-one meetings, I have advocated and obtained benefits for individuals and families like yours. Last week’s rule changes are temporary. When the pandemic emergency is over, these extremely favorable rules will be gone.

No B.S. Promise:

For almost 40 years, I’ve been practicing law; in Massachusetts and Michigan. I served as an Army Captain in the JAG Corps (and now in the American Legion). I have my Airborne Wings and a few medals. Notre Dame (BA); Boston University Law (JD); Georgetown University Law (LI.M., Tax). For 30 years, I have been making and keeping big promises to middle class families in West Michigan. And those folks refer over 40% of new Carrier Law families. That’s no B.S. And that’s a promise.

Doing work and getting results that other attorneys and law firms can’t or won’t.

It Never Costs to Call. What Could it Hurt?

Will this rule change help your family? A paralegal Discovery meeting and an Analysis meeting with me cost nothing. And may save everything. In person. By telephone. By internet. Your choice.