Legal-Ease: Nursing homes and the five-year lookback

The government healthcare program that pays for nursing home care for those who can’t afford it is commonly called “institutional Medicaid.” Poverty is defined by both federal and Ohio law. 

While there are many requirements surrounding eligibility for institutional Medicaid, the most challenging one is typically that the applicant must have a financial net worth of less than $2,000. The applicant also could not have given anything away in the five years before applying in order to qualify. Lee explains the application of the five-year lookback rule and how it can be applied when attempting to become Medicaid-eligible. 

Legal-Ease: How to administer a loved one’s estate

Even when well-planned, estate administration is not entirely automatic. Technically, when someone dies, ownership of their assets is automatically transferred to one or more people. However, until the paperwork memorializing the transfers is finished, the new owner cannot exercise the attributes of ownership. 

Legal-Ease: Four estate planning structures to consider

Estate planning can be difficult since it involves looking ahead and deciding where we want our assets to go when we die. While every situation in estate planning is different, there are four main structures to consider. 

First, some people use an “everybody equal” structure. Second, some people use a structure called “equal opportunity.” Third, others use a “who needs it most” structure when estate planning. Finally, some people use a “this one helped me most” structure. 

Legal-Ease: What to do when facing a nursing home decision

When the time arises to make a decision about long-term healthcare, three steps should be taken. First, be sure that the family member facing care has an updated power of attorney and living will. Second, develop a financial plan with an attorney. Finally, work closely with the attorney regarding bills and asset transfers. 

Legal-Ease: Basic functioning of trusts

When reading about trusts, it makes sense to replace “trust” with “rulebook.” The trustee of a rulebook is the manager of assets that have been made subject to the rules in the trust. The owner of the assets subject to the rules in the trust is called the beneficiary. Trusts can have multiple beneficiaries or successor beneficiaries. For most trusts, there is no rule that the trustee and beneficiary must be different people. 

Legal-Ease: Plan and prepare, but don’t overdo it

While it’s difficult to warn against overpreparing, the issue with super-detailed planning is that any slight change in the situation can make the plan obsolete. The need to plan for our future should be balanced with the recognition that the future will be different from the present. 

Legal-Ease: What to do when my parent is losing mental capacities

It’s difficult to watch parents lose their mental strength. Often, the loss of capacity to make decisions happens over time rather than overnight. Many parents will have good days and bad days. 

A good day is an opportunity to have a loved one sign powers of attorney if that paperwork isn’t already in place. 

Legal-Ease: Four planning frameworks

A good lawyer’s advice is important for good outcomes in life, business and death. There are four primary frameworks to begin to prepare for life changes. 

First, identify the special financial gifts you want to give upon your death. Second, percentages can be used to distribute assets. Third, specific assets can be earmarked for certain people. Finally, many people will mix and match the frameworks, so good organization is key. 

Legal-Ease: Caring for adult children with special needs

When children with intellectual and developmental disabilities become adults, unique challenges can present themselves.

If the adult with a disability is mentally competent as a matter of law, he or she may be able to sign powers of attorney that name family and friends as agents. If the adult is not legally competent mentally to sign powers of attorney, parents or other members of the family should undertake a formal guardianship proceeding.

Legal-Ease: More than one way to avoid probate

Contracts are typically enforceable in courts if they’re not honored. Generally, a property owner may have a contract that explains what happens to property when the property owner dies. Each properly prepared contract will provide oversight and enforceability in regards to property ownership changes. 

However, without a contract there is no oversight between the people involved in changing the property’s ownership. Without a contract, the court must provide oversight.