Category Archives for 2014

What To Look For In Signing Long Term Care Agreements

When moving to a Continuing Care Retirement Community or Personal Care or Skilled Nursing facility, one of the last things that families might consider is the legal effect of documents signed on admission.  This is not surprising.  Between scheduling the movers and cleaning out the home, remembering to pack the glasses, medications and hearing aids […]

Continue reading

Financial Decision Problems May Affect Elderly

The idea that one spouse can effectively take over all financial decisions for the couple while the other is uninvolved came under attack again recently as a result of a sobering study on dementia, couples and money. While it has long been understood that concerns about widowhood and being suddenly single can cause women to […]

Continue reading

Same Sex Marriage Decision Has Huge Tax and Benefits Implications

Considering the number of years that Pennsylvania legislators voted against same sex marriage, the action that struck the prohibition down in the courts came swiftly and on a day when primary election  news occupied center stage.   The case of Deb Whitewood v. Michael Wolf, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health (not to be confused with Tom Wolf, […]

Continue reading

Program Assists Veterans Needing Housing and Employment

At a time when all the news about help for Veterans seems to be bad news, it was good to learn at a recent meeting of my Sunrise Rotary Club of a program in Chester County that is reaching out to homeless and unemployed Veterans.  What Chris Pielli, a West Chester attorney, is trying to […]

Continue reading

Keep Track of These Milestones for Medicare and Social Security

When Medicare and Social Security were first proposed, the ages for claiming benefits might have seemed simple and they were consistent.  Today, it seems more complicated.  Here is a timeline to keep track of those benefit birthdays and what you should know for each.  Note these are general rules.  If you are unsure, you should […]

Continue reading

A Guide to Pennsylvania’s Primary Election

A few years back I realized with both some humor and concern that it is easier by far to learn the results of balloting from “Dancing With the Stars” or “American Idol” than it is to get the results of off-year and state elections.  The incident that precipitated this thought was an on-line search days […]

Continue reading

Old Social Security Claims Tap Taxpayer Refunds

By the time this column was written its subject had faded into the background somewhat except that it demonstrates what has happened and can happen in the future.  What I am talking about is government garnishment of tax refund checks for alleged Social Security overpayments in the past.  What is even worse is that many […]

Continue reading

Free Advice Is Expensive With Long Term Care

When I first began working in elder law about 18 years ago, information on Medicaid for seniors facing nursing home and long term care costs was difficult to obtain.    The question I heard most often was “Will the nursing home take the house?”  People knew there was a lookback on gifting and had some vague […]

Continue reading

Veterans Benefits – An Overview

As seniors who have previously served in the military and as returning military search for benefits through the system, it can be helpful to have one place they can access for an overview.  This column attempts to be that one place starting point. For seniors, in particular, one subject I have addressed in the past, […]

Continue reading

Use Caution When Considering Reverse Mortgages for Long Term Care

reverse mortgage

As seniors and their families struggle to deal with the cost of long term care, reverse mortgages have become a continuing topic.  While seen by some as a convenient source of ready cash, this strategy can come with pitfalls that must be recognized in advance.  The most consistent problems I see relate to using reverse […]

Continue reading

Lessons From Obamacare


Yesterday, the first deadline for enrollment in health insurance for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) came to a close, sort of.  For those who actually began the process but were unable to complete because of technical problems or issues, there was an extension for some lasting until April 15 for completion. Obamacare resulted in both […]

Continue reading

Think Before Lending to Children and Grandchildren

lending To Children

If you have saved over the years and even if you have only a few thousand in the bank above your living expenses, you might at some point be approached by an adult child or college aged grandchild for a loan or, what sometimes might be even more dangerous, cosigning on a loan or credit […]

Continue reading

Avoiding Probate

When it comes to estate planning certain trends play themselves out and reappear years later.  One such trend is the notion that probate, the recording of a Will or filing of an estate administration without a Will, is to be avoided regardless of the circumstances.  Using this as a rallying cry, some companies came to […]

Continue reading

Why There Is No Simple Will

Simple Will

With software programs today like LegalZoom and, consumers might get the idea that anyone could prepare a Will.  Truth be told, almost anyone can prepare a Will.  Whether it will accomplish the objectives of the person drafting it is another matter.  Usually people want to know that their assets will pass to the people […]

Continue reading

Financial Solutions for Cash Poor But Real Estate Rich Seniors

Real Estate Rich Seniors

Suppose you are a senior struggling to pay the montly bills but have been wise enough to have paid off your house entirely.  Your monthly income is limited to Social Security and you have, in addition to the obvious regular bills such as groceries, utilities, the various insurances, and routine home maintenance, the larger issues […]

Continue reading