Elder Law Articles

How the pandemic may affect long-term care insurance

If you have a long-term care insurance policy, you may wonder how it is affected by the pandemic. If you don’t have a policy, you may wonder if the pandemic will make it more difficult to get one. There are lots of uncertainties regarding COVID-19’s impact on long-term care insurance, but here is some of what we know: Qualifying for insurance. It is already more difficult to qualify for long-term care insurance as you get older.

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Medicare’s different treatment of post-hospital care options

Hospital patients who need additional care after being discharged are usually sent to either an inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) or a skilled nursing facility (SNF). Although these facilities may look similar from the outside, Medicare offers very different coverage for each. While you may not have a complete say in where you go after a hospital stay, understanding the difference between the two facilities can help you advocate for what you need and know what to

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Estate planning essential for unmarried couples

While estate planning is important for married couples, it is arguably even more critical for couples who live together but aren’t married. Without an estate plan, unmarried couples won’t be able to make end-of-life decisions or inherit from each other. Estate planning serves two main functions: determining who can make decisions for you if you become incapacitated and who gets your assets when you die.   For couples who have failed to plan, there are laws

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Free tax preparation help is available to seniors

Seniors and retirees should know that they may be able to use online tax preparation software free of charge. Most low- and middle-income Americans qualify for free help but do not take advantage of it, and all seniors, regardless of their income, are eligible for free counseling assistance from the Internal Revenue Service. The tax preparation software industry has had a decades-long deal with the IRS to make free versions of its software available to low-

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Turning 65? You may need sign up for Medicare Part B

If you are paying for your own insurance, you may not think you need to sign up for Medicare when you turn 65. However, not signing up for Medicare Part B right away can cost you down the road. You can first sign up for Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period, which is the seven-month period that includes the three months before the month you become eligible (usually age 65), the month you are eligible and

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When inheriting real estate, consider your options

Inheriting real estate from your parents can be both a blessing and a burden. Figuring out what to do with the property can be overwhelming, so it is good to carefully think through all of your choices. There are three main options when you inherit real estate: move in, sell, or rent. Which one you choose will depend on your current living situation, whether or not you have siblings, the state of your finances, whether the

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How does the Coronavirus Relief Act affect seniors?

In addition to authorizing direct payments to most Americans, including seniors, the $2 trillion economic relief package that Congress passed to help Americans deal with the devastating financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic changes required retirement plan distributions for this year and includes Medicare-related provisions. Signed into law on March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided a one-time direct payment of $1,200 to individuals earning less than $75,000 per year

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Three changes you may want to make to your estate plan now

The unique aspects of the coronavirus pandemic may make it advisable to review your current estate plan. Language in estate planning documents that is fine under normal conditions may cause problems for you and your loved ones if you fall ill during the pandemic. Look over the following documents to see if they may need updating: Living will. A living will is a document that you can use to give instructions regarding treatment if you become terminally

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States may not terminate Medicaid benefits during coronavirus pandemic

Access to affordable medical care is especially important during a health crisis. One of the bills passed by Congress in response to the coronavirus pandemic increases Medicaid funding for states and includes a provision preventing states that accept the additional money from terminating Medicaid benefits while the current emergency continues. The Secretary of Health and Human Services has declared a nationwide public health emergency for COVID-19. In light of that, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

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Know the difference between wellness visit and physical

Confusing a wellness visit with a physical could be very costly. As part of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare beneficiaries receive a free annual wellness visit. At this visit, your doctor, nurse practitioner or physician assistant will generally: ask you to fill out a health risk assessment questionnaire; update your medical history and current prescriptions; measure your height, weight, blood pressure and body mass index; provide personalized health advice; create a screening schedule for the next 5

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