Tag Archive for: social security

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“There Are No Easy Answers, But There Are Simple Answers.”

“We Must Have The Courage To Do What We Know Is Morally Right.”

The Truth:
Why Your Trust Will Fail, Almost Always

1. Wrong Goals. You want to avoid probate, save taxes, make it easy for the kids. Everyone accepts the sales job. Everyone thinks these are the correct, popular, attractive goals. That’s why probate is never going away. The tax situation you leave is a mess. And the kids will be at each other’s throat.

2. Wrong Tools. Beneficiary designations, living trusts, pour-over wills, ladybird deeds. All intended to accomplish the Wrong Goals. No use when reality strikes.

3. Wrong Process. If you are using the Wrong Tools to achieve the Wrong Goals, is it any surprise that the Process is wrong too? Almost universally, so- called estate planners take the easy way out. They avoid the hard work, the follow-through that leads to success. The job is left half-done. You take the fall. And the blame.

4. Simple, But Not Easy. Ronald Reagan said, “There Are No Easy Answers, But There Are Simple Answers.” Effective planning, LifePlanning™ is not easy. But LifePlanning™ is simple.

5. Correct Goals + Correct Tools + Correct Process = Success. Is it wrong to focus on the real threats to your security and well-being? Is it foolish to use legal tools that have been proven thousands of times over the last thirty-three years? Is it worth spending a little more time and money now for lasting, lifetime success? Or do you wish to join the Probate Parade? Deceive yourself and your family? Invite Nursing Home Poverty? It is your choice, isn’t it?

Job #1: Avoid Nursing Home Poverty

People get old. Keep breathing in and out and you’ll see. It just happens. You are not as young as you used to be. Sixty is the new fifty. Yeah, but 80 is still 80. At least 90 is the new 80, right?

You cared for your parents. Folks in the neighborhood, the lady from church, nieces and nephews, other younger people could be hired to help. But today?

America is aging. We are, on average, getting older. We did not have as many kids as our parents. There are fewer young people. Fewer people to provide long- term care.

More old people. More demand for services. Fewer young people. Less supply of services.

What happens when there is increasing demand and decreasing supply?

What happened to the price of infant formula when the biggest factory shut down?

What happened to the price of oil when oil exploration leases were cancelled?

What happened to the price of gas when pipelines were shut down?

What happened to the price of eggs when avian flu hit the chicken coops?

What happened to the price of imported goods when the ports and harbors were clogged?

What happened to the price of electricity when somebody discovered that solar panels don’t work without the sun and there’s this thing called “night” that follows “day”? Or when the same somebody discovered that wind does not always blow?

What happens when supplies have already been taken by somebody else?

What if there were an unnamed virus of unknown origin that made people sick? And what if people believed that a certain type of respiratory mask would help avoid sickness? What if there were not enough “masks” to go around? What if someone looked ahead and got a supply of “masks”? If someone had planned ahead, what would the consequences be?

Every time you get behind the wheel of your automobile, you have a chance of dying in a car crash. Every single time. Americans do die in car crashes. One American dies for every 70,000,000 vehicle miles (that’s SEVENTY MILLION miles!) traveled. The average car trip is about 10 miles. So, you have a one in 7 million chance of dying each and every time you get into your car. (“Thank you” to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics for these numbers – your tax dollars at work!) Americans drive a lot. We drive so much that over the course of our lives, we have an almost 1% chance of dying in that crash. Thank goodness for air bags, crumple zones, and seat belts!

Another branch of our beloved federal government (Department of Health and Human Services) says that at age 65, you have a 70% chance of needing an average of 3 years of skilled care. A big chunk of us, 20%, will need more than five (5!) years of care. Skilled care can come from family members, friends, paid help, long-term care facilities.

Let us recap. Less than 1% chance of flaming car crash death like in the movies. Greater than 70% chance of long-term care. Which one do you care about? Which bad result do you strive mightily to avoid? Which unhappy ending do you simply accept?

Motor vehicle mayhem is bad! Somebody ought to do something! And you do. Drive safely. Buckle up. Hands on the wheel. You know the drill.

Nursing Home Poverty is bad! So let’s ignore it? Let’s pretend it happens to somebody else. Anybody else. Even though the reality is that Americans hardly ever die in car crashes and almost all need long-term care. Care that is harder to get and more expensive by the day. If you can get it at all.

How To Avoid Nursing Home Poverty

Hang Onto Your Money and Stuff While Qualifying for Benefits. You are a taxpaying, conscientious, charitable, forward-thinking, God-fearing American. You pay into the system. You expect some payback from the system. Safe roads. Clean water. Food that is not poisonous. Protection from bad countries that want to make war on us. Not so long ago, we also expected the police to stop shoplifters and vagrants. That was back when we also expected that our national borders counted for something. Remember? Good times, good times.

Social Security. Regular folks who go to work each day also expect that they will have a minimum sort of income when they can no longer work. We call this: “Social Security.” Payroll taxes go in, monthly payments come out. You, the American taxpayer, pay for Social Security. You get payback for your pay in. You don’t have to be broke to get the Social Security you have earned and paid for.

Medicare. Regular folks who go to work each day also expect that they will have a minimum sort of health care when they can no longer work. We call this: “Medicare.” Payroll taxes go in, Medicare taxes/ premiums go in, medical payments come out. You, the American taxpayer, pay for Medicare. You get some payback for your pay in. You don’t have to be broke to get the Medicare you have earned and paid for.

Medicaid. Regular folks expect that there will be no provisions whatsoever for long-term care. We call this the triumph of hope over experience. You pay until you are flat broke. You can keep your house, but have no money for upkeep, taxes, insurance, or utilities. When you are flat broke, you must pay almost all your income to the nursing home or residential care facility. After you are flat broke (except for $2K).

How is long-term health care different than short-term health care? Or income? Or basic income support? It all comes from your tax dollars. You paid for all of it. Why should you go broke? Why shouldn’t you have choices? How is any of this fair? And it gets worse…

What if you were not the penny-saving, bill-paying, overtime-taking, money-for-a-rainy-day-type person that you are? What if payday meant casino-day? What if you were a consistent over-spender? What if your bankruptcy lawyer was on your Christmas card list? Well, then that long-term care is free, free, free. You are in debt to your eyebrows? Come on down!

It is only the responsible people who suffer from the current long-term care situation. People who planned ahead for themselves and their families. People who believed that they had “saved enough” to take care of it. People who believed their so-called “estate planners.” Whoops!

How Do You Protect Yourself And Your Loved Ones By Protecting Your Stuff?

Simple Answer. Get long-term care benefits without going broke. Medicaid wants you broke. But you do not have to accept what Medicaid wants. You can protect what you have earned. Here’s how:

How Medicaid Works

1. What If You Give Away Your Stuff?

What if you give away your stuff and then apply for Medicaid benefits? Medicaid will say, “We will not help you. You had stuff and gave it away. And so we will not pay.” This is called the “Penalty Period.” Medicaid will excuse itself for a period of time. The more you gave away, the longer Medicaid will not pay. Right now, for every $10,000 you give away, Medicaid will not pay for a month. Give away $120,000, Medicaid will not pay for an entire year! But then Medicaid will pay.

In the meantime, while Medicaid is not paying, the nursing home is suing you. And your kids. And your friends, And your first-grade teacher. And anyone else you gave stuff to. You thought you could keep the house? Ha-ha. You thought you could keep an automobile. Yuk-yuk. Whoops!

Funny thing, though. What if you gave away your stuff more than five (5) years ago? What if sixty-one (61) months ago you gave all that stuff away? Then you applied for Medicaid? Things are different. Now Medicaid does not care that you ever had that stuff at all. Does not matter.

So perhaps you should give all your stuff away. Right now. To the kids. Your neighbors. Your first-grade teacher. Then wait for five (5) years. And if you ever need long-term care after that, no problem! Medicaid does not care that you had that stuff and gave it away. Great Plan!

By now, the sharpest knives in the drawer have spotted the problem with this brilliant approach, right? If you give your stuff away, then you have no stuff. And you like your stuff. What to do?

2. What If You Give Away Your Stuff Without Giving Away Your Stuff?

How can you give away your stuff without giving away your stuff? By using a particular kind of trust, that’s how. For Medicaid purposes, you gave your stuff away. For federal tax purposes, state tax purposes, common sense purposes, you did not give your stuff away.

The IRS doesn’t think you did anything when you put your assets in this type of trust. Medicaid says you “divested” those assets. Medicaid says you gave those assets away. Medicaid starts the Five-Year Clock. Five (5) years after putting those assets into that trust, Medicaid will not count those assets as yours. And you will qualify for the Medicaid benefits you have paid for. Without sacrificing your lifesavings, cottage, other stuff.

3. Why Should You Want To Qualify For Medicaid Benefits And Keep Your Stuff?

Why? Do you like paying for the same thing twice? Are you opposed to getting any return on your tax dollars? Does the government know what to do with your money better than you do? Would it be a bad thing to get the government benefits you’ve paid for and have additional lifesavings to purchase additional goods and services? Is it wrong to get the same deal from the government that irresponsible folks get? Would it be better to be flat, busted broke and forced to go to a nursing home than to supplement at-home Medicaid with lifesavings to remain at home? Are your kids and grandchildren so undeserving and ungrateful that you’d rather give your money to the government?

4. This Is Too Good To Be True! Tricksy Stuff Like This Never Works For Regular Folks! Plus It Must Be Wrong Or Immoral Or Something Else That’s Bad Or My Planners Would Have Told Me All About It! And What If I Move Out Of State? And Give Me A Minute And I’ll Think Of Something Else…

On February 8, 2006, Congress overhauled the Medicaid system. Congress replaced 50 states going in 50 different directions with some general principles that apply to everybody. Seventeen years ago, I was shocked when this happened. The Medicaid landscape was rewritten, much to the distress of our long-term care clients. Tools and techniques that had been proven reliable were wiped out. But there was a silver lining to this dark cloud of Medicaid reform.

No longer did it make sense to wait-and-see. The environment was different. Now we had some assurance that a Michigan plan could work in Florida. Or Texas. Or South Carolina. But not California, nothing works in California.

Not only did we have a legal structure that worked from coast to coast, we could rely on that structure to be stable. And so it has proved. Over the last 17 years, thousands of these LifePlanning™ trusts have been implemented by regular folks. And they have worked. Every time. Saving millions of dollars. For regular folks. To maintain dignity. To preserve families. To keep the promise that hard work, saving, planning, and doing the right things will have good consequences for you, your spouse, your family.

For every Medicaid application involving these trusts, we submit a full copy of the trust and all the supporting documents. Total disclosure. Candid honesty. Written evidence. Full documentation. This stuff works because we scrupulously, thoroughly, exhaustively comply with every law, rule, precept, and policy.

Going broke is a choice. Your choice. It is not chance, bad luck, or misfortune.



Why Don’t You Deserve A Little Payback For All The Taxes You Paid In?

Why Do You Want To Spend Your Last Nickel On Long-Term Care?

Why Shouldn’t The Government Spend Your Money For You?

Traditional estate planning is concerned with avoiding probate, saving taxes, and dumping your leftover stuff on your beneficiaries. After you die. Nobody cares what happens to you while you are alive. How does that help anyone? Stupid.

Traditional estate planning fails because the overwhelming majority of us will need long-term skilled care. 70% of us. For an average of 3 years. And we will go broke paying for it.

Is it surprising that thousands of recreation properties: cottages, cabins, hunting land, are lost to pay for long- term care? Why is your estate planner hurting you and your family? It is evil intent? Or stupidity?

LifePlanning™ defeats Nursing Home Poverty. Keep your stuff. Get the care you have already paid for. Good for you. Good for your family. Good example for society.

When my mother suffered from the dementia which led to her death, over 10 years ago, their estate plan preserved their lifesavings. Mom’s months in the nursing home did not mean Dad’s impoverishment. Dad spent the last years with security and peace of mind.

Is Now A Bad Time For A Real Solution?

Perhaps you think you already have an answer to this problem. Maybe you do not see this as a problem at all.

It is possible that you do not believe in the passage of time or its effects on you.

Peace of mind and financial security are waiting for everyone who practices LifePlanning™. You know that peace only begins with financial security. Are legal documents the most important? Is avoiding probate the best you can do for yourself or your loved ones? Is family about inheritance? Or are these things only significant to support the foundation of your family?

Do you think finding the best care is easy? Do you want to get lost in the overwhelming flood of claims and promises? Or would you like straight answers?

Well, here you are. Now you know. No excuses. Get 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?

It is not chance. It is choice. Your choice.

Get Information Now. (800) 317-2812

We Get Letters… We Get Lots And Lots Of Letters

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


Deed with joint tenancy doesn’t mention right of survivorship

My father purchased land with seller to buyer financing. Because my dad was a single unmarried man and it was seller financing, the seller asked my dad to put someone as a joint owner on the deed (to keep making the payments in the event my dad passed). My dad put my oldest sister as a joint tenant/owner as he was advised at the title company. I don’t think he fully understood. My sister never made one single payment I have all checks to prove. She didn’t even know she was a joint owner. My dad mentioned to mother, friends and to siblings me many times my sister wasn’t the real owner it was just for security bc the seller required security of receiving continuing payments.

My father sadly passed, and now my sister doesn’t want to change title practically keep the land to herself. The document doesn’t specify right of survivorship just say joint tenant can that help? Everyone knows my dads true intent we were all children from the same mother he loved us all the same. I feel he didn’t know what joint tenancy was and just signed. I am really worried bc my sister is taking over the property and not allowing entrance.

What can I use as defenses, thanks.

The Answer Is: “You Are Screwed. And Your Little Dog, Too!”
A Deed Is A Deed Is A Deed

For a number of years, I tended bar. Occasionally, a bar fight would erupt. Very exciting. My fellow barkeep Matt loved when that happened. He would vault the bar grinning, not waiting for assistance, eager to sort things out. Not me. I figured that was a job for the football player-bouncers. A bar fight is an ambiguous, fluid situation. Resolution is required. Application of force will be necessary. And litigation is a bar fight. In for a dime, in for a dollar.

But what if there is no fight? What if the facts are clear? Bouncers do not go looking for trouble. And they do not get involved in every disagreement. How does that apply here?

Michigan courts are extremely unwilling to upset the applecart. Especially when that applecart consists of a valid deed. There are plenty of dubious situations that folks can fight about. Then the courts and the judicial system can roll up their sleeves, get into the fight, start cracking heads.

Our letter writer’s case is not a bar fight free-for-all that needs sorting out. This is a Mike Tyson, one shot to the head, KO, 30 seconds, hope-you-did-not-blink-because-the-main-event-is-over type of thing.

Your father signed the deed. He was competent. He did not have a gun to his head.

Q: Was it a good idea or a bad idea?
A: Nobody cares.

Q: Is sister a generous angel or jealous limb of Satan?
A: Irrelevant.

Q: Did dad wish he had never signed?
A: Why are we still talking about this? Train left the station. Elvis left the building. Fat lady sang. Somebody already stuck a fork in it. It is done.

Folks Do The Darnedest Things

When a good person acts with the best intentions but brings about the worst results – that is tragic. Terrible. In Heaven above, the angels weep. Ever watch a movie, yelling at the screen, “Don’t open the door!” “Stay out of the basement!” “Run away!”? Reading this letter is like that. For me. Danger, danger! But, of course, it is too late. For them.

Why in the world did dad sign the deed?

“Because my dad was a single unmarried man and it was seller financing , the seller asked my dad to put someone as a joint owner on the deed (to keep making the payments in the event my dad passed).”

Dad was motivated to do the right thing. Seller gave dad plausible reasons. But. The stated “reasons” make absolutely no sense at all. Not a single part is accurate or reasonable. Sure, it is true that folks do this sort of thing all the time. On the advice of friends, neighbors, and Internet Experts. You might think these advisers would know better. But they do not.

Spoken Words Worth The Paper They Are Written On

“My dad mentioned to mother , friends and to siblings me many times my sister wasnt the real owner it was just for security bc the seller required security of receiving continuing payments.”

Sometimes motivations matter. Once in a while, verbal statements are relevant. But not usually. And not when we have a written deed that clearly creates ownership rights. Circuit courts, title companies, buyers… none of them care what you thought you were doing. Or why you were doing it.

Dad made sister joint owner by legal, valid, written, notarized, recorded and unchallenged deed. His motivations and understandings were incorrect. But that does not matter.

The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions

“Everyone knows my dads true intent we were all children from the same mother he loved us all the same. I feel he didnt know what joint tenancy was and just signed. I am really worried bc my sister is taking over the property and not allowing entrance.”

Hatfields & McCoys. Montagues & Capulets. Celtics & Lakers. Laimbeer & Bird. U of M & Ohio State. Historic feuds. This is how they get started… What chance does this family have to enjoy the peace and prosperity dad intended? Experience suggests that sister will treat the property as her own. She will be correct, legally. Cousins hating each other. Poison of resentment and ill-will seeping down the generations. Do not let this happen to you. Or your family.

Dad could have provided for the family. Avoided strife. Lawyers do come in handy, sometimes!


How can I withdraw funds from my husbands bank account if I am not on his account?

Husband is a stroke patient in a nursing home. Medicaid covers all expenses. He has money from social security in his bank account that I can use to send to him for personal needs. I have all account numbers, ss number, etc but no pin number.

Powers Of Attorney: Faster Than A Speeding Bullet… More Powerful Than A Locomotive…Able to Change The Course Of Mighty Rivers, Bend Steel In Your Bare Hands?

You don’t have to be Superman to get the power to make a major difference in your loved one’s life. If your husband is still mentally alert, even though he may not be physically capable, he can give you the authority you need to take care of his business.

Powers of attorney are not all the same. They can differ radically in the way they operate and in your ability to get the job done. Be sure that the lawyer drawing up the power of attorney knows your goals. Of course, that is nice to say, but how to get it done in the real world. The answer is that most powers of attorney are intended only to allow you to pay the person’s bills. And pay. And pay. And keep on paying until the money is all gone. Which results in nursing home poverty. Powers of attorney can be drafted to save the family resources. Make sure that your attorney knows that this is your intention.

Here Comes The Judge!

If your spouse or loved one is not mentally competent, you have a date with probate court. The judge will decide (by clear and convincing evidence) whether you should have authority over your loved one. Guardianship is all about the person’s health and day-to-day living. Guardianship includes the right to make basic, routine money decisions. Conservatorship is all about the money.

Both forms of living probate involve special rules, court supervision, annual reporting and a limit on just what you are able to do with your loved one’s resources. Avoiding probate while you are alive should be, but usually is not, a laser focus of your estate planning.

Social Security…

The Social Security Administration does not care about your power of attorney. And they do not care about your guardianship or conservatorship either. Social Security operates across the globe and cannot be bothered to figure out the ins-and-outs of every judicial and legal system. It would be impossible.

What Social Security has done is create its own “brand” of guardianship. Your disabled loved one gets Social Security. Your guardianship and power of attorney are useless. Now you have to jump through the Social Security hoops and become Representative Payee. Now you can manage the social security.

Easy, huh?

You Choose!

There is nothing inevitable about nursing home poverty. Peace of mind and security are waiting for you. Right now. It is a choice. Despite what “everybody else” says. Despite their attempts to disguise the elephants in the room. For over thirty years, people have told me, “I’ve never heard of this before!” “If this is real, why doesn’t everyone do it?” “My lawyer/financial advisor/brother-in-law/accountant/tax person/banker/best friend/fill-in-the-blank never said anything like this…”

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?

Got Questions? Get Answers!

(800) 317-2812

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.

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