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Michigan Elder Law Today

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Aid and Attendance benefits to Increase in 2012


There is good news for older veterans and their surviving spouses who rely upon Aid and Attendance to pay for their home care, assisted living, and nursing home costs.  The amounts veterans and their surviving spouses receive in Aid and Attendance will increase in January 2012.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has indicated that single veterans receiving Aid and Attendance will receive $1,703.
Read more . . .


Thursday, November 3, 2011

What’s the difference between a nursing home and assisted living facility?


As an elder law attorney practicing in Oakland County, I am often asked “what’s the difference between a nursing home and assisted living facility?”  The difference in the appearance between the two types of facilities can be dramatic, because nursing homes tend to be more hospital like. 

A nursing home provides residents with a room, personal care, nursing care, medical services, and meals.  As to the room, it is often semi-private, meaning the resident has a roommate.  Residents of nursing homes tend to have chronic conditions requiring long-term care and need assistance with multiple activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, transferring in and out of beds or chairs, and help with continence issues.  Moreover, residents of nursing homes often have cognitive and memory problems due to various forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Nursing Home Costs Rise Again


A recent report finds what many of us working with older people and their families already know, which is the cost of nursing home care continues to rise.  MetLife’s Mature Market Institute’s 2011 survey determined that the statewide average cost of a semi-private room in a Michigan nursing home is $220 per day or $6,600 per month.  Many of our clients in nursing homes in northern Oakland County are paying more than that at about $230 to $240 per day.

The MetLife study also cites interesting U.S.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Estate Recovery and the Home


Michigan’s new estate recovery law will most likely affect the home.  The reason for this is the home is the major non-countable asset a nursing home resident can own while qualifying for Medicaid nursing home benefits.  However, the state will not seek to recover against the home in some circumstances.

First, if the nursing home resident is married and their spouse, called the community spouse is living in the home, estate recovery will not apply.  However, the community souse may still want to consider planning to avoid estate recovery for the following reasons.
Read more . . .


Monday, August 15, 2011

Estate Recovery Comes to Michigan


A controversial topic in the news in our state this year was Governor Snyder’s proposal to reduce the exemption of pensions and other retirement income from Michigan’s income tax.  That topic was of great interest to seniors and other older people living on a fixed income who were understandably concerned about how such a change would affect their ability to make ends meet.  In the end, the favorable income tax treatment afforded to some retirement income was reduced, especially for people born after 1952.

What got lost in the shuffler during the controversy over the income taxation of older people’s retirement income was the subject of estate recovery.  At the same time, the administration was seeking to have an estate recovery program implemented in Michigan that may have a significant effect on seniors.
Read more . . .


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Changes to Michigan's Income Taxation of Retirement Income


Governor Snyder signed a tax reform bill into law on May 26, 2011, that will result in the income taxation of certain retirement income, reducing the favorable exemption from taxation previously afforded to most retirement income under Michigan law. Though the change is technically a reduction in an exemption, for many people the end result is the same as a tax increase.

Changes of interest to seniors and other older people regarding the new Michigan income tax law include the following.

The individual income tax rate is set at 4.35% until January 1, 2013.
Read more . . .


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Medicaid Part 15 - Medicaid Planning for a Single Person


Many people are aware that they can make gifts of $13,000 per year without any negative tax issues.  This is the federal gift tax annual exclusion amount.  What is less understood is that this federal gift tax law conflicts with the federal Medicaid laws and, in this situation, the Medicaid law controls.  So while it is true that one can make gifts of $13,000 per year without any gift tax ramifications, for Medicaid purposes, such gifts will be considered a divestment if they occur within 5 years of applying for Medicaid. 

Still, some seniors want to make gifts to their family before their life savings are gone.


Read more . . .


Monday, June 27, 2011

Medicaid Part 14 - a Trust for a Child with Special Needs


As an elder law attorney who focuses on Medicaid qualification, I frequently encounter people who have only been told what they cannot do when qualifying for Medicaid.  This incomplete information leads to many misconceptions about what can be done when an older person needs to move to a nursing home and obtain Medicaid.  People also come to me knowing some of the rules about Medicaid, such as the 5-year look back period and the $2,000 rule.  When meeting with a prospective client, often I need to clear up the misconceptions caused by incomplete information and knowledge of only some of the rules.  One common misconception is that a single person has to “spend down” to $2,000 before he or she will qualify for nursing home benefits.


Read more . . .


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Medicaid Part 13 - Medicaid Planning for a Married Couple, Part 2


Case Study: Medicaid Planning for Married People, Part 2

One of the most common mistakes people make with Medicaid qualification in Michigan is assuming the government will help them protect their assets.  Unless a nursing home resident is already eligible for Medicaid, another key mistake is relying on care staff or family members to complete the Medicaid application.  All too often I am called in to clean up these mistakes.  Consider the hypothetical case of a couple, with a husband will call George and his wife, whom we will call Martha.

George, age 76, and Martha, who is 74, have been married for 52 years.


Read more . . .


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Medicaid Part 12 - a Case Study on Medicaid Planning for a Married Couple


With married couples, when one spouse requires nursing home care, it can be an extremely difficult situation due to both financial concerns and the sad situation of seeing your spouse’s health decline.  Consider a hypothetical married couple, with a husband will call Ralph and his wife, whom we will call Alice.  Ralph and Alice were high school sweethearts. Two years ago, Ralph and Alice celebrated their 50th anniversary. Shortly after that, Ralph was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and his health has gradually deteriorated.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Medicaid Part 11 - Division of Assets


Division of Assets is the name commonly used for the Spousal Impoverishment provisions of the Medicare Catastrophic Act of 1988. This is a federal law that applies only to couples. The intent of the law was to change the eligibility requirements for Medicaid where one spouse needs nursing home care while the other spouse remains in the community, i.e. at home (the "community spouse.


Read more . . .


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Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Probate attorney Andrew Byers helps people in Troy, MI and throughout Oakland County, MI including Royal Oak, Clawson, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Rochester Hills, as well as throughout the metro Detroit area, including Macomb County and Wayne County, Michigan.



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