Archive | April, 2012

End-of-Life Care Planning Decisions

Because each of us will face different scenarios related to disability, illness, and the dying process, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to end-of-life care planning. Memorializing one’s wishes in an advance directive document will help to avoid misinterpretation and offer guidance to those who will be making those decisions on one’s behalf when the individual is unable to do so. Two important documents related to health care are the Power of Attorney for Health Care and the Living Will. The Power of Attorney for Property and the Last Will and Testament concern financial related matters. Read More

A Guide to Special Needs Trusts

Why Create a Special Needs Trust?

A Special Needs Trust can be an important tool for a disabled individual who is, or may become eligible, for Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid but has excess assets preventing eligibility. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is the Social Security program that grants income to people who are age 65 or older, blind or disabled with limited income and assets. Medicaid is the state-run federally funded program that pays for medical assistance for certain children, and individuals who are aged, blind, or disabled with limited income and assets. Eligibility for both SSI and Medicaid is based, in part, on the amount of the applicant’s assets. Read More

Do You Really Need a Living Trust?

A geriatric social worker recently shared with me a conversation he had with an older woman who attends the senior program the social worker manages. The older woman, who I will refer to as Mrs. G, told the social worker that she attended a free seminar on living trusts after learning about the seminar from an advertisement in her local newspaper. Mrs. G told the social worker that the seminar discussed how living trusts help people avoid having their estates managed by a complicated and expensive legal process after they die. The social worker knew from previous conversations with Mrs. G that she did not want to burden her children in any way, including with her estate issues after she dies. Therefore, the social worker was not greatly surprised to learn that, shortly after attending the seminar, Mrs. G contacted the attorney who presented the seminar and paid the attorney to create a living trust for her. Read More

The New Illinois Power Of Attorney Act And How It May Affect You

On July 1, 2011, the new Illinois Power of Attorney Act will go into effect. Existing properly executed Illinois powers of attorney will remain valid; however, one may want to consider revising existing powers of attorney to make the most of the amendments to the Act. For any adult 18-years-of-age or older who does not have in place properly executed powers of attorney, this is a good time to obtain them.