05/28/2017










Facts to Know About Medicare Planning

Estate Planning Attorney Assisting NY Families with Medicare Concerns

medicare planningMedicare planning is an essential component for any estate plan. After all, there will come a time when you need to use Medicare to cover your medical costs and medical-related expenses – and, Medicare is there for seniors who qualify. Applying for Medicare and ensuring that you will be approved is a highly daunting task. Therefore, it is in your best interest to speak with an estate planning attorney who has experience handling Medicare applications.

Facts About Medicare that You Need to Know

To create an effective Medicare plan, you need to know the facts. These include:

1. Medicare is for Seniors and the Disabled Only

To qualify for Medicare, you must meet the terms of this federally funded health insurance program. For starters, you must be 65 years or older to qualify. If you have a qualifying disability or end-stage renal disease, then you can receive benefits below the 65-year cut-off.

Medicare is given through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and it works as an entitlement program. Therefore, you must meet strict eligibility requirements to qualify.

2. There Are Four Parts to Medicare

Medicare comes in four parts, which go from Part A to Part D. Each part has its own healthcare benefits. For example, Medicare Part A offers hospital insurance, while Medicare Part D is what covers your prescriptions, and is optional. Medicare Part B provides you with preventative and other needed medical care services.

3. You Could Receive Part A Benefits Automatically

Most of those who qualify for Medicare are not forced to pay the premium for Part A insurance. If you have paid your taxes for more than ten years, and those taxes included Medicare, then you are eligible to receive that portion of the coverage for free.

4. You Need to Plan for Prescription Coverage

When creating a Medicare plan, you need to realize that Part A and Part B only cover hospital and preventative care. These Parts do not address your prescriptions, of which you are likely going to have plenty. Without insurance, prescriptions could cost several hundreds of dollars.

Therefore, you will want to plan for Medicare Part D coverage, as well, so that you can have coverage for your much-needed medications.

5. You Will Need Long-Term Care Eventually

A clear majority of those over the age of 65 will need some sort of long-term care. Therefore, ignoring Medicare planning could put you in jeopardy or leave you without the essential coverage required.

6. Your Estate Plan Will Dictate Your Eligibility

Sometimes, your financial situation plays a role in your qualifications for federal programs. If you are considering Medicaid planning for a disabled child, you must be cautious about any inheritance that he or she will receive. Therefore, let your estate planning attorney assess the situation and determine which route is best.

Speak with an Elder Law Attorney Today

For your estate plan, complete with Medicare planning, contact the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. today to explore your options. Schedule a free consultation now at 516-605-0625 or request more information online.

What Are My Options for End of Life Care?

Elder Care Attorney Helping Families in New York with End of Life Care Planning

end of life care optionsPart of elder planning and estate planning is creating an end-of-life care plan. While no one wants to admit their own mortality, having a plan in place that tells loved ones what you would like for end-of-life care is critical. This ensures that family members do not have to go through the trouble of designating care options for you, and also ensures that you receive the care you wanted. With a properly funded estate plan, you could also ensure that there are funds available to pay for your end-of-life care wishes, so that loved ones do not have to shoulder the burden.

Exploring Options for End of Life Care

Today, there are numerous options when it comes to care options. Decades ago, you would have access to only one or two. Also, most insurance companies now help with the costs of these services – depending on the coverage and type of insurance you have, of course.

Some options to investigate for your plan include:

  • Palliative Care – Doctors provide this treatment to those who are seriously ill, but who are waiting to see if a cure is still possible. It is the ideal approach if you have pulmonary disease, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, or heart failure. In some instances, you receive treatment at the hospital or a special facility, while your doctor works on controlling and curing the condition.
  • Hospice Care – Hospice care is designed for patients who have a serious illness or condition for which there is no cure; this care is provided to those who need end-of-life care and support. Hospice offers comprehensive comfort care, but also supports the family. Hospice is available for those who have six months or less to live and can be done in-home or at a hospice care facility.
  • Hospital ICU Treatments – Sometimes, patients’ conditions require that they be treated in an intensive care unit (ICU) or coronary care unit (CCU). These offer specialized care for patients who are seriously ill, and the staff are trained for these conditions. The patient is provided with expert medical support and comfort care, and he or she may have the option of skipping or stopping treatment entirely.
  • Nursing Homes – A nursing home is also used for end-of-life care when a person is not seriously ill or does not require around-the-clock medical attention. A nursing home will have a plan in place so that, when the time comes, it can provide care without the need to receive permission from a medical provider.
  • Home Care – At home, you can receive care from family and friends, or have a care provider come to your home and provide you with end-of-life comfort care. In this situation, caretakers are there to keep you as comfortable as possible and prepare for your passing. This may include administering IV fluids, pain medications, and more.

Speak with an Elder Law Attorney to Explore Your End-of-Life Care Options

Prevent your loved ones from having to make the hard decisions about your end of life care. Instead, create a detailed plan that dictates how you want your life to end and which options are available, and then plan financially so that performing these care procedures is financially feasible.

Schedule a consultation now with the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. by calling 516-605-0625 or contact him online with your questions.

What is the Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid?

Long Island Attorneys Discuss Medicare & Medicaid for Estate Planning

Discussing Medicare and MedicaidWhen undergoing estate planning, the topic of medical care comes up. Most consumers do not know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid, however. It does not help that some professionals and websites use the terms interchangeably. While they sound similar, these are two very different government programs.

Medicare is for the elderly, while Medicaid is for those in poverty. The differences extend well beyond this, though – especially in terms of who can enroll, who runs the programs, how the programs work, how they are funded, and the benefits given to those enrolled.

Who Receives Medicare and Who Can Receive Medicaid?

Older individuals receive Medicare, while low-income families receive Medicaid. If a person is older and lower income, he or she may receive benefits from both.

A person is only eligible to receive Medicare if he or she is a minimum of 65 years or older, and has paid payroll taxes specifically for Medicare for a period of 10 years or more. His or her income does not matter. If he or she paid the payroll taxes and is over the age limit, that individual can qualify for Medicare. A person is only eligible for Medicaid when his or her income or financial status dips below a specified income limit.

There are exceptions for both plans. For example, people can qualify for Medicare when they are disabled, even if they are younger than 65 years. When individuals are older than 65, but never paid payroll taxes, they could still qualify for Medicare, but their premiums are higher than those of people who did pay taxes during their younger years.

Being low income is not enough to qualify for Medicaid in all situations. Sometimes, a person who is pregnant, a child, or a disabled individual may qualify for Medicaid; but, his or her income must be less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which changes annually.

Who Runs the Medicare Program?

The federal government runs the Medicare program. That is why the rules and benefits are uniform for Medicare across all states, since the federal government creates these rules.

Medicaid, on the other hand, is a state-run program. Each state has its own rules for how it allows individuals to qualify, what benefits are to be received, and more. While the Medicaid program is state-run, that state must meet the minimum standards set by the federal government to receive funding for its programs.

Insurance Versus Social Welfare

Most importantly, Medicare is an insurance program, which is why it is critical for an elderly person to include it in his or her estate plan. Medicaid, on the other hand, is considered a social welfare program.

Speak with an Elder Law Attorney to Plan for Medicare

What many do not realize is that their estate plan could disqualify them from government benefits. If you are planning your future or the future of a disabled child, you must know the difference between these government plans to ensure that your plan does not eliminate one’s abilities to qualify for aid.

To learn about your options, schedule a free consultation with the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. today by calling us at 516-605-0625 or scheduling a consultation online.

The Value of Hiring an Elder Law Attorney

Estate Planning Attorney Helping Families in Long Island Avoid Probate

elder law attorneyEveryone wants to pass on something to their children or other family members. You want everything that you have saved to go to those you love. The last thing you want is to give what you have worked so hard for to the government by paying out numerous probate fees. Even more so, you don’t want your family members to wait months (in some cases, years) to receive their inheritance.

Avoiding the issues of probate court (along with the costs) is much easier than you might realize. With the help of an estate planning attorney in Long Island, NY, you have a few options at your disposal.

Top Three Ways to Avoid Probate Court

1. Create a Living Trust

The easiest and most common way to avoid probate court is to establish a living trust. A living trust is the alternative to a living will. A living will distributes your assets upon death, but a living trust holds the assets and property in the trust. The trustee who manages these assets is someone whom you select, and the trustee works for the benefit of your beneficiaries.

A living trust avoids probate because your assets are owned and distributed by the trust – not your estate. There is no need to probate a will with a living trust, which saves your beneficiaries an extensive amount of money and time.

2. Naming Beneficiaries on Designation Forms

When you create a new bank account, sign up for a retirement account, or another financial account, you are handed a designation form. In this designation form, you pick a person to inherit the account in the event of your death.

A living will does not handle these types of accounts; therefore, these items would not pass through probate court if they had designation forms already completed. The bank account you have open now most likely has a beneficiary designation; so, it is in your best interest to review that designation and ensure that the person whom you selected is still the desired recipient.

Many people do not take the time to name a beneficiary for their bank accounts. It only takes a few seconds. If you have not named anyone, visit the financial institution where you bank or have retirement and investment accounts and designate someone.

3. Joint Tenancy with a Right of Survivorship

Another way to avoid sending real estate through probate is to hold that property jointly. You can do this with a significant other or a spouse. Owning the property jointly allows it to pass to your spouse or partner automatically upon your death.

If the property is not defined in ownership clearly, however, you may not be able to pass it to a spouse. It is best to consult with an attorney before assuming your family home or any real estate you own can be passed this way, because some state laws specifically prohibit such actions.

Contact an Estate Planning Attorney in Long Island Today

If you want to avoid the pitfalls and costs of probate court, speak with an estate planning attorney. An attorney can review your estate and suggest cost-saving methods for avoiding probate. Schedule a consultation today with the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. by calling 516-605-0625 or requesting an appointment online.

How Does Capacity Affect Elder Law Cases?

elderly man and younger manCapacity is a very difficult term in the elder law section of the statute. While it is clear what makes a person capable of making decisions, that definition does not always play out as smoothly in real life. For example, people can seem to be capable of making decisions, but later it is discovered that they suffered from diminished capacity. When this happens, estate plans can become contested, and decisions reversed – whether the individual intended for that to happen or not.

What is Diminished Capacity?

Diminished capacity is a hot topic for contested estate plans. And, defining it depends on the circumstances at hand. The definition can also vary depending on what state you live in and what the statute says. When drafting an estate plan, your attorney will have to ensure that the plan and your capacity meet all state statutes – otherwise, your will could be contested.

To make a valid will, the individual who is making the will (known as the testator), must have the ability to understand several things, including:

  1. The nature and extent of the property that is owned.
  2. The natural objects that are within ownership.
  3. The decisions that are being made in the will.
  4. The ability to help connect the dots to create a rational estate plan.

A person doesn’t need to be capable of making day-to-day business transactions and decisions after the will goes into effect, but he or she must have the capacity at the time when the will is drafted and signed.

The Various Levels of Diminished Capacity

There are three facets of diminished capacity, and all attorneys who practice estate law (and other fields of law) must understand the levels of diminished capacity. These levels include:

  • Testamentary Capacity – This is regarding the testator at the time when a will is created. The individual must be able to understand the nature of the will, what it entails, and how it will affect family and understand what property is really “theirs.” Basically, he or she must be of sound mind at the time when the estate plan was created.
  • Donative Capacity – This refers to a person’s mental capacity at the time when he or she donates or gives a gift to someone. This can also affect your estate plan if you plan to donate your estate to charity. You will need to show that you have an understanding of the extent of your gift, and be of sound mind to agree to donate your estate.
  • Contractual Capacity – This is what refers to a person’s capacity at the time when he or she enters into a contract. You must understand the nature and effect of the contract, and what will be transacted upon the agreement.
  • Capacity to Execute a Durable Power of Attorney – This is critical in estate planning. You must meet a standard of capacity when creating and executing a durable power of attorney. You must not be under pressure from anyone to assign them power of attorney, and you must understand the effect of giving that individual power will have on your estate.
  • Decisional Capacity in Health Care – This is the capacity that allows you to make decisions regarding your own health care. If you have assigned an agent, he or she will take over decision-making once you are deemed incapable of making decisions on your own. This often means if you are unable to understand the benefits and risks or alternatives that are proposed to you by a medical professional in order to make a sound healthcare decision.

Concerned About Capacity Issues? Talk with an Attorney Today

If you are concerned with capacity issues or you want to ensure that your estate plan is drafted while you are considered of “sound mind,” speak with an estate planning attorney immediately to get started. The Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. can assist you with your estate plan. Call today to schedule a free consultation at 516-605-0625, or ask a question online.

Does the Illness Matter With End of Life Care?

Nurse with an Elderly WomanEnd of life care is important – especially as you age or if you are diagnosed with a particular condition that will degenerate your capabilities over time. Even if you have been diagnosed for some time, it is never too late to start your end of life care plan and use Advanced Directives. These are legal documents that help ensure that you receive the care you want (or do not want) if you become incapacitated or cannot make decisions on your own.

One question that you may have, however, is if the illness you are suffering will impact your end of life care decisions. In some ways, the illness you suffer from could affect what decisions you make while doing end-of-life care planning, but in other ways, it will not. In order to fully understand how your illness will (or will not) affect your planning, you must first assess what you need.

Three Most Utilized Documents

When you start end of life care planning, you will begin with three essential documents:

  1. A Living Will – This goes over the care that you would like to receive if you cannot make medical decisions on your own. This can include life-prolonging procedures (if you want any life-prolonging procedures done), blood transfusion issues, religious faiths that will play a role in your care, and the name of the individual who will facilitate your medical wishes.
  2. Healthcare Surrogate – This form will designate an agent who will make decisions about your health issues if you cannot do so yourself. He or she can have limited authority, and you can decide what he or she is allowed to decide – and even split that authority between two individuals. You will need to name the surrogate while you are still competent. Therefore, if you have been diagnosed with a condition that will lead to incompetency, now is the time to designate the surrogate.
  3. Durable Power of Attorney – This will outline the power that you give to another person when he or she acts on your behalf. You must authorize this person in writing, and do so before you are considered incompetent. The power of attorney is what gives someone the authority to handle your finances, as well as healthcare matters.

How an Illness Plays a Role

When you are diagnosed with an illness, it can play a role in your end of life care plan. If you have already established an end of life care plan, you may need to reassess and see if it reflects your new diagnosis. For example, if a person has cancer and he or she does not wish to be put on life-prolonging devices, then that individual may need to adjust the end of life care plan to reflect that – if it doesn’t state such already.

You may also want to change your healthcare agent or even your durable power of attorney – or assign one if you have not done so already after a diagnosis.

In most cases, you will need to consult with your current physician (the one treating your illness) to come up with a care plan or suggested care based on your illness. Your physician can advise you about life-prolonging procedures, your prognosis, etc.

Speak with an Elder Law Attorney First

If you are establishing an end of life care plan, you will want to speak with an elder law attorney in New York first. The Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. can assist you with all aspects of your end of life plan – including durable powers of attorney, healthcare agents, and even creating an estate plan. Schedule a free consultation now at 516-605-0625, or ask a question online to get started.

Inheritance Laws and Your Rights: Things You Need to Know

inheritance lawsInheritance laws are what determine the rights of survivors and how they will inherit a decedent’s property. Every state has their own set of inheritance laws and these laws are rather complex. Therefore, it is in your best interest to hire an estate lawyer that can assist you with your state’s laws to ensure your rights are protected.

Understanding the Inheritance Hierarchy Without a Will

If a person dies without a will, it is considered an “intestate” situation. The state of New York will then distribute property in that estate according to statutory schemes of succession, known as the hierarchy of succession. The goal of these laws is to distribute assets for the estate in a way which the decedent most likely would have distributed them themselves since there is no will to determine otherwise.

Spouse and Children

If the deceased has no surviving children, but does have a surviving spouse, all assets from the estate would then pass to the surviving spouse. The estate would, however, be distributed differently if the deceased left a spouse and children. The spouse is entitled by law to $50,000 and half of the remaining property. Then, children would be distributed equally based on what is left and how many children there are to distribute assets to. All children are included within the equal distribution – including those that were adopted or those not born to the surviving spouse (step-children).

Parents and Siblings

If the deceased dies with no surviving spouse or children of record, but they do have surviving parents, then the property would be given to the parents. If the deceased has no surviving parents, the next in line of the hierarchy would be surviving siblings. If there are multiple siblings, the assets would be distributed equally among all siblings. If one sibling has passed, but they have surviving children, their children would then have the sibling’s share distributed equally among them.

Other Relatives by Marriage or Blood

In some cases, a deceased individual may have no other qualifying relatives except for their distant ones. These relatives could receive a portion of the estate if there are no siblings, parents, children or spouses left. If the deceased has grandparents, the estate would then be divided amongst the grandparents (maternal and paternal).

Limitations to the Hierarchy

The estate will escheat or revert back to the state if there are no surviving heirs of the estate. New York law will look as far as great grandchildren before determining that there is no one eligible to inherit the deceased’s estate.

The Importance of Having a Will – Contact a NY Estate Planning Attorney

While you may think the state’s hierarchy will protect those that you love, your estate could be inherited by a family member that you never intended to inherit your assets. This is why it is imperative that you hire an estate planning attorney to assist you with your will and possibly setting up a trust. By having a will, you can prevent having the state determine where your estate will be distributed and ensure your loved ones are properly cared for. Contact the Law Offices of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. today regarding your will. Schedule a free consultation now at 516-605-0625 or fill out an online contact form with your questions.

How to Guarantee Your Parents’ Safety in a Retirement Home

elderly woman with kidsYou and your parents have established a list of must-haves for an ideal retirement home. You have toured a few facilities and gotten an idea of what they have to offer. You may have even created a short list of facilities that you are considering. But, before you sign any contracts, apply for benefits, or make your final decision, you need to consider your parents’ safety. Putting your loved one in a retirement home is a big decision – one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are things that you need to do to ensure that your loved one truly receives the care that he or she needs – and to ensure that the facility you select is offering what they show on the surface.

Ask the Right Questions

The best way to ensure your loved one’s safety is by asking the right questions while touring the facility with your loved one. You want to get their insight. Then, ask yourself the same questions and put yourself in your loved one’s shoes – that way, you could assess how you would feel in the same home. Some questions to ask include:

  • Are you comfortable here?
  • Does anything worry you about the facility?
  • Do you feel safe here?
  • If you needed help, how long would it take for someone to respond?
  • What are the other residents like? Does everyone seem happy and social?
  • What is the staff like? How are they trained? What is their attitude toward those they are caring for?

Look Out for the Warning Signs of Bad Care

There are red flags typically seen at poor quality retirement homes. You can spot them sometimes during a tour, while other times it may not be as noticeable until your loved one has actually moved in. But, being on the lookout for these red flags is important. Some things to look for include:

  • Emotional or physical changes in your loved one. If they seem less functional than they were before going into the home, or they appear to have anxiety or depression, you need to question why.
  • Deflected questions from staff. If staff seem evasive, especially when you are asking a question about your loved one’s care (or lack thereof), you need to be wary. Questions about your loved one’s health should never be deflected or left unanswered.
  • Inadequate staffing or frantic staff. When staff seem easily frazzled or frantic because they are overwhelmed, this is a warning sign that it is time to relocate your loved one. Often, these facilities are understaffed or deal with unexpected high turnover rates – meaning that your loved one’s level of care could greatly fluctuate in between rehiring and training new caretakers.
  • Your loved one is vocal about his or her caretakers. Sometimes, your loved one may even tell you that he or she does not like specific members of the staff, or ask that certain caretakers not be in charge.

Protect Your Loved One with Proper Medicaid Planning

Medicaid is what your parents will depend on when they get older. You can help them with home health and retirement living by speaking with an elder law attorney. Contact the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. today regarding your loved ones’ needs. Schedule a consultation at 516-605-0625 or fill out our online contact form with your questions.

Three Very Important Ways That an Elder Lawyer Can Assist You

elder law lawyerThe most frequent question that potential clients have for an elder law attorney is, “How can an elder law attorney assist me?”

In short, an elder law attorney can assist you with legal issues that are associated with the natural process of aging. This is done in three very important ways:

  1. Estate Planning
  2. Incapacity Planning
  3. Long-Term Care Planning

Read further for a look at how each of these aspects of elder law practice can address your needs.

What Does an Elder Law Attorney Do?

As you get older, you develop different problems and concerns. Many might say that you even have different medical problems and other ailments. A doctor who serves the medical needs that arise, due to the natural process of aging, is called a gerontologist. In the same vein, an attorney who attends to the legal needs that arise, due to the natural process of aging, is called an elder law attorney.

Theses issues can be broken down into three broad areas of elder law practice:

1. Estate planning

Estate planning deals with deciding what happens to your assets when you die, and what processes will be employed to move your assets to your heirs after you are gone.

This involves more than simply preparing a will. Not only does it involves planning for the disposal and finalization of your estate after you die, but it also involves avoiding probate, reducing estate taxes, protecting your estate from unforeseen creditors, and providing for the protection of those who will inherit your estate.

2. Incapacity Planning

Incapacity planning addresses the issues that you may face if you become incapacitated. There may come a time when you are not able to handle your own affairs any longer – perhaps due to accident, disease, or loss of physical mobility. If you become mentally or physically incapacitated, who will make decisions on your behalf in regards to your financial and physical well-being?

When you are in your twenties, these kinds of problems are much less of an issue; as you age, they become more of a concern. Therefore, it becomes more important that you have competent advice as to what solutions can be put in place to address these particular concerns, if and when they arise.

Some of the most important tools than can be employed in planning for incapacity are:

  • A durable power of attorney
  • A healthcare surrogate
  • A living trust
  • A living will

Each of these measures is designed to assist you in protecting your assets and/or ensuring that your financial and physical well-being will be attended to, should you not be able to do so yourself.

3. Long-Term Care Planning

The third elder law issue that you may encounter as you age is the need for care to be provided to you from some sort of outside source, such as an assisted living facility or a nursing home.

The costs associated with this can be far beyond your means. So, you will need to do something to protect your assets – both for yourself and your family – as opposed to funneling them all into the cost of long-term care until you eventually have nothing left. This is what we call planning for long-term care or public benefits.

Often, public benefits, such as Medicaid or veterans benefits, can be used to offset the cost of long-term care. In order to do this, however, you will need to abide by very strict and nuanced rules that you may not be aware of.

There are also a lot of myths and misconceptions regarding the use of public benefits that, if you believe to be true, will prevent you from taking advantage of what they can offer toward paying for long-term care.

If, for example, you are under the impression that you make too much money to qualify for public benefits, or that you have done something with your assets that disqualifies you from being eligible, an elder law attorney can help you find out what is available in your specific case, or how you can qualify to take advantage of it.

An elder law attorney will assist you in finding solutions to the problems that you will encounter as you age. Not only will he or she help you find these solutions, but your attorney will also assist you in weaving various solutions together to create a comprehensive plan for addressing all of the issues that you will encounter in terms of ensuring your financial and physical well-being as you age, This expert can also help you in handling the disbursement of your estate after you die.

Speak to an Elder Law Attorney About Your Needs

Contact the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin P.C. today for assistance with your estate planning, incapacity planning, and/or long-term care planning. Call 516-605-0625 for a free consultation or contact us online with your questions.

The Difference Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

elderly coupleThere are two very well known diseases that are affecting the baby boom generation: Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Both are illnesses that plague older adults and, as such, are increasing in prevalence as the baby boom generation – one of the largest groups of citizens in our society – ages.

What follows is a closer look at the differences between Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s Disease

Dementia is the deterioration of a person’s mental faculties, due to an organic disorder of the brain. This affects a person’s intellectual faculties such as memory, judgment, and concentration. Dementia encompasses a broad array of symptoms from physical complications to mood changes and, therefore, is indicated by both physical and mental deterioration.

Alzheimer’s Disease is a specific disease that causes dementia and can have grave – and often irreversible – consequences such as vascular dementia, which contributes to memory loss, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Huntington’s Disease.

To further understand the difference between the two, we can discuss them in terms of how (i) memory loss, (ii) Dementia and (iii) Alzheimer’s Disease relate to each other specifically.

Memory loss is a non-specific condition that can be caused by a variety of things. It is most often benign and not life-changing. But, when memory loss occurs at the same time as other cognitive symptoms – such as difficulty finding words to make a sentence, disorientation, trouble with getting lost, and trouble with day-to-day living – an individual has the syndrome called Dementia. Alzheimer’s Disease is what’s happening to your brain to cause Dementia.

You can have Dementia without Alzheimer’s Disease, but most of the time, you will develop Dementia due to Alzheimer’s Disease. In fact, Alzheimer’s Disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of all Dementia cases. You can also have some reversible forms of Dementia caused by drug use or depression. Furthermore, you can have full-blown Alzheimer’s Disease in the brain with no symptoms of Dementia. Therefore, it is important that you obtain an exhaustive analysis of what you or your loved one is suffering from.

The only way to do this is to undergo a thorough physical examination, which will encompass a gamut of exams designed to narrow down the possibilities of what you or your loved one is suffering from. Having this knowledge in hand will enable you to better prepare for what’s coming ahead. This can have elder law implications in terms of estate planning, incapacity planning, and long-term care planning. But, undergoing these examinations can help with the uncertainties regarding your loved one’s future.

To Learn More, Contact an Elder Law Attorney Today

To find out more for you or your loved one, contact the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin P.C. by calling 516-605-0625 to discuss your family’s situation, or contact us online for a consultation. We can help make this difficult situation easier for you, your loved ones, and the rest of your family.

Comparing Medicare and Medicaid

New York State Medicaid Lawyer - Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin P.C. Medicaid and Medicare have very similar names, and they can both help you pay your medical bills, but they are very different programs.

Medicaid is for low-income people in financial need. On the other hand, Medicare assistance is not based on need; instead, eligibility is based on age and work history.

Although you can qualify and receive benefits from both Medicaid and Medicare at the same time, you will be required to meet separate eligibility requirements for each program.

Here is how Medicare and Medicaid compare:

Medicare

Medicare is administered by the federal government, linked to social security and established to address the high cost of medical care that older people face, especially given the reduced earning capacity of retired people. An individual’s financial need, however, is irrelevant when it comes to their eligibility to receive Medicare. Instead, they are entitled to Medicare because they paid for it with their taxes.

Medicare is available to US citizens who are at least 65 years old and have paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. It is also available to certain people receiving disability through Social Security and some people with long-term kidney disease.

Medicare Hospital Insurance (Part A) covers the cost of medical care in a hospital or a nursing home facility. Medicare Medical Insurance (Part B) pays for most basic lab costs and outpatient needs, such as medical supplies, home health care, and physical therapy. Medicare Prescription (Part D) covers a part of the costs of prescription medications.

Medicaid

Medicaid is a joint Federal and State program, and like Medicare, its purpose is to address the high cost of health care for low-income individuals and families who cannot afford the cost of medical treatment or long-term custodial care.

Medicaid in New York can be divided into two main types:

  1. Community Medicaid, which covers medication and comprehensive inpatient and outpatient care at hospitals and clinics;
  2. Institutional Medicaid, which covers care provided in nursing homes.

Medicaid is generally available to people with low incomes and children under the age of 19. But it is also available to pregnant women and individuals over 65, as well as those who are blind, disabled or in need of nursing home care.

In order to qualify for Medicaid in New York, you must reside in the state of New York and meet strict financial guidelines related to your living situation, family status, age, and health.

Other Differences Between Medicare and Medicaid

Medicare Part A and D require you to pay an annual deductible and copayments for long hospital stays. In addition, Under Part B, you are required to pay a monthly premium and 20% of all doctors’ bills not paid by Medicare. Under Medicare Part D, you pay a monthly premium, a deductible, copayments and all prescription medication cost above a certain amount, unless you qualify for a low-income subsidy.

Medicaid benefits, on the other hand, are paid by Medicaid directly to health care providers, hospitals, and nursing homes. And, if you qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid, Medicaid will pay for most of your Medicare Part A and Part D premiums, deductibles, and copayments as well.

Finally, you apply for Medicare at a local Social Security Office while for Medicaid you will need to apply in an office for New York City’s Medicaid program or online through the New York State of Health Exchange.

How Can a New York Medicaid Lawyer Help?

Obtaining Medicaid is a complicated application and eligibility process. The Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. is aware of all the intricacies of Medicaid law and can work with you to determine the best way to protect your assets and income for your family.

Call 516-605-0625 or contact me online to schedule an appointment with an experienced Long Island (LI) Medicaid Attorney. I am available to meet with you at your home or my office.

Elder Financial Fraud Explained

Long Island Elder Financial Fraud Attorney - Lamkin Elder LawAccording to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), major financial exploitation is self-reported by seniors and elderly adults at a rate of 41 per 1,000 surveyed. This figure is significantly higher than the rates for self-reported emotional, physical, sexual, or other types of abuse and neglect. What makes this statistic so frightening is knowing elder financial fraud is not limited to any one particular area – anyone can fall victim. Elder financial fraud is a very real concern, nationwide. Out of all the elderly adults surveyed by the NCEA, only one in ten abuse cases did not include some form of financial abuse.  

What Is Elder Financial Fraud?

Elder financial fraud is a type of elder abuse involving taking or swindling an elderly adult of out their assets by fraudulent means and for personal financial gain. Examples of elder financial fraud include:

  • Forging a person’s signature.
  • Coercing an elderly adult to “donate” money for a non-existent or fraudulent charity.
  • Using false pretenses to convince a person to give you money.
  • Using deceptive methods to rob an elderly adult of his or her savings.
  • Telemarketing scams.
  • Credit card scams.
  • Identity theft.
  • Promising goods or services in exchange for money, and then not delivering.
  • Confidence crimes (i.e. gaining someone’s confidence for fraudulent financial gain).
  • Physical or mental harm for extortion purposes.
  • Embezzlement.

Who Is Most Likely to Perpetrate Elder Financial Fraud?

Elder financial fraud can be perpetrated by anyone from a loved one to a trusting friend, a relative to a long-time confidante, a caregiver or healthcare provider, and even a dishonest telemarketer or thief who targets the elderly.

Most people, particularly older adults, are extremely trusting. They want to believe people are good and have faith in humanity. While that is not necessarily bad, it can leave them open to financial scams and make them easy targets for financial fraud.

If a “friend” calls claiming he or she has fallen on bad times and is in desperate need of assistance, an elderly adult may not think twice about lending money. Unfortunately, this is one of the ways our loved ones fall victim. Even an unsuspecting call from a company informing your loved one about a computer virus and offering to remedy the problem for a price is often a scam.

Sadly enough, some of the worst cases of elder financial fraud involve loved ones facing substance abuse or financial problems, or those simply wanting to gain access to money they believe is rightfully theirs.

What You Can Do to Prevent Elder Financial Fraud

Although you can’t keep a watchful eye on your elderly loved ones at all times, you can take certain actions to help minimize or prevent elder financial fraud:

  • Check bank statements and accounts regularly; be watchful of suspect charges.
  • Talk to your loved ones about potential scams to which they could fall victim.
  • Restrict access to your loved one’s checking and savings accounts.
  • Agree to discuss all financial transactions before money changes hands.
  • Be watchful of property or belongings going missing.
  • Assign a financial power of attorney so your loved one will no longer be burdened with making financial decisions.

If you suspect your loved one has become the victim of elder financial abuse, or you are worried about his or her financial well-being, speak with an elder law attorney at once. An attorney from our firm can assist with estate planning and other asset protections, as well as advise you of how to best manage these issues. Call the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin P.C. to schedule a free consultation.

Understanding Health Care Power of Attorney

Long Island Advanced Health Care Directives Attorney - Lamkin Elder LawAs your loved ones get older, there may come a time when they will be unable to make healthcare decisions on their own accord. When this happens, you’ll want to have a health care power of attorney, advanced directive, or proxy in place, particularly if your loved one is living on his or her own.

These important legal documents are extremely beneficial in cases in which a parent is unexpectedly involved in an accident or contracts a life-threatening or debilitating illness. Any elder adult, single parent, or individual living on his or her own can benefit from having a health care power of attorney in place.

Assigning power of attorney to a trusted loved one or friend gives a person peace of mind in knowing his or her wishes pertaining to medical treatment and end-of-life care will be followed. You don’t want your loved one put through unnecessary pain and suffering for the purpose of prolonging life, if that is not what he or she wishes. You don’t want decisions to be made by those who may not know you or those who can’t be trusted to focus on your best interests.

What Is a Health Care Power of Attorney?

A health care power of attorney is a legally-binding document that assigns rights and responsibilities for health care decisions to another person. The person who is granted the power of attorney would then have the authority to make life and death decisions in situations where the individual is no longer able to do so.

What Exact Decision-Making Power Does a Health Proxy Give?

As a health proxy or health power of attorney gives a person decision-making power over any and all medical – as well as end-of-life – decisions, you will want to make sure the person you choose understands your wishes and can be trusted to follow them. Decision-making power may include:

  • Whether you should be admitted or discharged from a hospital
  • What treatment or medication you do or do not want to receive
  • What parties can have access to your medical records
  • When you should be resuscitated
  • Whether you should be put on life support
  • Whether you want doctors to go to extraordinary measures to keep you alive

Who Should You Choose As Your Proxy?

Giving another person the power to make decisions about your medical needs, health care, and end-of-life treatment is an important life decision. The American Bar Association’s Commission on Law and Aging recommends people choose an agent who:

  • Will take the time to talk with you about your wishes, your health care priorities, and any end-of-life needs.
  • Will understand what you want and faithfully do what you wish when the time comes.
  • Lives nearby or can easily travel to you if the situation arises.
  • You trust with your life.
  • Will not give in to family members’ arguments or conflicting opinions, but will follow your wishes as laid out.
  • Will not bend to medical personnel’s recommendations, if these go against your wishes.
  • Will be an unwavering advocate for you.

Choosing health care providers, nursing home staff, doctors, government representatives from organizations that have a financial responsibility for your care, court-assigned guardians, or individuals who have health power of attorney for numerous people is not advised. You need someone you can trust to make the same decision you would make, if you were able.

Legal Assistance with Advanced Health Care Directives

If you are interested in creating an advanced health care directive, health care proxy, or living will, we recommend you speak with a skilled Long Island advanced directives attorney right away. An attorney from the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin P.C. can help prepare these documents and give you the peace of mind afforded by knowing that your interests are protected.

Contact our firm now to find out how to get started.

Finding the Right Retirement Community for Your Loved One

Home with front porchAs your loved ones age, you may find yourself in search of a retirement community able to fulfill their social and recreational interests, as well as meet their personal healthcare needs. Finding the right retirement community or senior housing option can be a difficult task. Not all retirement communities offer the same amenities and services. In addition, not all communities may fit within the available financial budget.

So, how can you go about finding the right retirement community? How can you know your loved one’s needs will be met and he or she won’t fall victim to any hidden pitfalls or risks? A decision such as this should be undertaken with great care. Seeking counsel from an experienced elder law attorney before making a commitment can improve your chances of finding the right community where your loved one is safe from harm.

Questions You Should Ask

While touring retirement communities, reading brochures, and checking online reviews can be beneficial, getting answers to certain questions are a key part of your search. You want what’s best for your loved one, so don’t hesitate to ask questions or raise concerns. Discuss the matter with your loved one; make sure all of his or her needs will be met. Finding out the answers to these and other questions can help you narrow your search:

  • Is there a waiting list, and if so, how long is it?
  • What medical and healthcare services are available?
  • Will your loved one have access to advanced care services? What type?
  • Is nursing care available for when your loved one is unable to care for him- or herself?
  • Are housekeeping and other in-home services available on site?
  • Does the facility have specialists trained to care for Alzheimer’s patients, Parkinson’s patients, or those suffering from other types of dementia?
  • What activities are available in the nearby area?
  • Does the community offer transportation to and from these activities?
  • Does the community have an ongoing relationship with local colleges, art schools, or libraries that offer events residents can attend?
  • What exercise and recreational activities are available on site? Is there a pool? Golf course? Putting green? Tennis court? Other activities?
  • Does the community sponsor or support social activities such as bingo, card games, book clubs, movie nights, and other group get-togethers?
  • What services are included in the basic contract?
  • What additional services can be added to the contact, and at what cost?
  • Are there other fees or costs of which you should be aware?
  • How are the costs broken down (food, housing, transportation, etc.), and what portion of the costs are eligible for refund?
  • Are refunds available at any time, or only under certain circumstances?
  • Is a down payment or deposit required?
  • Does the facility have any specific requirements or qualifications residents must meet before being allowed to join the community?
  • Does a person’s age, health, mobility, or mental capacity have any bearing on eligibility?
  • What will happen if your loved one is unable to pay? Will he or she be evicted? Will the facility try to help find a decent alternative? Will loved ones be notified ahead of time so a resolution can be reached without causing undue disruption?
  • Where do residents eat? What meal plans are available? Do residents have access to a cafeteria or dining hall? Is food provided only at designated meal times? Do residents have other food options? What can be arranged for residents on strict diets?
  • How many staff are employed at the facility?
  • Are trained nurses or medical staff available or on call 24 hours a day?

If you or your loved one has other questions, the time to inquire is prior to signing a contract and moving your loved into the facility. As you want what is in your loved one’s best interests, be sure to have an elder law attorney review the contract and terms.

As the National Council on Aging states, it is important for seniors to stay connected with family, friends, and the community. In fact, this can have a much greater impact on their happiness than material goods. So, finding the right community will give you and your loved one peace of mind in knowing he or she will have a good quality of life and standard of care.

Contact a Long Island Elder Law Attorney

Helping families protect their assets and loved ones is what we do. At the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin P.C., our attorneys are committed to being the legal advocate our clients deserve. With in-depth knowledge of elder law, we are able to assist with legal and non-legal matters, including but not limited to retirement planning, long-term care, and nursing home placement. If you are in search of the right retirement community for your loved one, we are here to help. Call our firm today to schedule your free consultation.

Funding a Trust

Long Island Trust Funding Attorney - Lamkin Elder Law

Now that you have established a trust, you should transfer all applicable assets into that trust. Doing so will not only ensure your trust is funded, but all of your assets will now be protected by that trust and can hopefully avoid probate court. The process of formally transferring assets into a trust is not complicated, but it should still be done with the assistance of your estate planning attorney to ensure all applicable assets have been properly transferred. Not moving assets over correctly could mean that your trust has no positive effect (or any effect for that matter) on your assets. Instead, assets would be passed through your will and without a will, forced to pass through your state’s intestate succession laws.

Unfortunately, it is all too common for individuals to skip the funding portion of setting up their trust or leave out valuable assets that should be placed into the trust. To ensure your loved ones and assets are fully protected, make sure funding is the first step you take after the trust documents are completed.

Title-Documented Assets

Assets with a title document that verifies you own that asset can be transferred into the trust. You will need a new title document that shows the asset is now held by the trust. Some assets that are titled include:

  • Real estate properties
  • Stocks
  • Bank accounts
  • Retirement accounts
  • Life insurance policies
  • Investment accounts, such as CDs
  • Vehicles
  • Patents, trademarks and copyrights

For example, if you wish to transfer your home into the trust, you need to prepare and record a new deed that certifies the property is held by the trust instead of yourself. To transfer bank accounts, contact your financial institution and request the ownership be transferred to your trust. The institution typically requires copies of the trust documents, but they handle all transfers after they have evidence a trust exists.

What About Assets without a Title?

There are numerous valuable assets that may not have a titled document. For example, you may have expensive artwork or family heirlooms of significant value that you wish to transfer into the security of your trust. These items can be listed in the trust document so that they are protected by the trust. For a more secure asset transfer, your attorney can draft an Assignment of Property.

Speak with Attorney Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. Today

If you want to protect your assets, including non-titled assets, contact the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. today. We can explore your options and not only help you establish a trust, but transfer your valuable assets into that trust so that they do not have to endure the hassles of probate court. It is important that your assets are transferred properly; otherwise, your assets could experience more problems – such as a retirement account that requires a full distribution and tax penalties. To get started with a properly funded trust, schedule a free consultation online or call 516-605-0625.

How to Avoid Court with Your Aging Parents

 

Judge's Gavel

It is not uncommon for children and their aging parents to have issues. Conflicts often arise (including old, once-settled conflicts) when aging parents begin to slowly decline in health and start needing emotional and financial assistance from their children. Any time there is conflict present, it can escalate to the point where a family winds up in court discussing their issues with a judge. These court costs and attorney fees will not only take out funds from the estate, but are often avoidable.

Even if family members do not get along, there is usually a way to avoid legal battles and keep the conflicts out of the courtroom.

Three Ways to Avoid Going to Court

  1. Organize Legal Documents – Some parents create an estate plan, but if they created that plan 30 years ago and have not updated it, now is the time. Certain life changes can severely alter the effectiveness of those documents – from divorces to changing heirs to medical needs. Children should have their parents meet with an estate planning attorney to revisit their documents and make changes as necessary. Also, parents should have a Durable Power of Attorney and Advance Healthcare Directive. These documents will prevent costly legal battles when the time arrives and a child must care or make decisions on behalf of the parent. The Advance Healthcare Directive will dictate who can make healthcare decisions on behalf of their parents, while the Durable Power of Attorney allows an agent to have legal authority over the estate.
  2. Plan for Care – Most families neglect to think of the future, especially when it comes to long-term care needs. As parents degrade in health, they may need private care or may even need a care facility. These are expensive and if the estate has not planned for these expenses, families may become aggressive towards one another while trying to find financial solutions. If one sibling is burdened with the costs while the others are not, it could create unwanted friction. This can be avoided by having a discussion, creating a plan, and establishing a system for covering long-term care costs.
  3. Use Mediation, Not Courtrooms – If a dispute does arise, mediation is a cost-effective solution. This organized process is conducted by a trained individual. Both parties will meet with the mediator and he or she will offer suggestions and ways to work out the issues. Most family conflicts can be easily resolved in mediation.

Avoid Family Disputes Altogether with a Sound Estate Plan

By establishing an estate plan that covers things like finances, healthcare decisions, and power of attorney, a family can reduce the likelihood that there will be any disputes in the future. Because emotions often play a vital role in these types of disputes, having legal documents in order can stop any attempt for someone to bring a grievance against the estate.

Take control of your estate’s future by meeting with an estate planning attorney. Contact the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin today for a consultation by calling 516-605-0625 or filling out an online contact form.

5 Red Flags of Elder Financial Abuse by Relatives & Caregivers

Elder abuse - nursing homeMany people know that seniors are susceptible to consumer fraud, telemarketing ploys, and internet scams, but fewer know that by far the biggest threat to an elderly person’s financial security is financial abuse by relatives, friends, and caregivers. In fact, the National Center on Elder Abuse has found that there are over 20,000 substantiated cases of caregiver financial elder abuse in the country each year, accounting for about 20% of all types of elder abuse in the United States.

How does financial elder abuse happen? Very simply, relatives and other caregivers take advantage of a senior’s trust, loneliness, emotional vulnerability, and/or deteriorating mental clarity in order to funnel off their savings, retirement funds, property, or other assets. In some cases, caregivers may slowly force themselves into positions of power or insinuate themselves into wills.

It can be difficult to protect your elder loved ones from financial abuse and to make certain that all they have worked for is protected and used appropriately. One of the best things you can do to protect the seniors in your life from these issues is to be familiar with common elder abuse red flags:

  1. A caregiver is taking a strange amount of interest in the senior and his or her financial affairs.
  2. You observe a sudden uptick in back transactions or credit card transactions that the senior cannot explain.
  3. A caregiver is isolating the senior from other relatives and friends.
  4. Your senior’s bills, such as utility bills or nursing home bills, are suddenly not being paid.
  5. A caregiver without obvious means suddenly has a change in lifestyle or suddenly makes several large purchases.
  6. Your senior has a sudden and unexplained change in lifestyle, or suddenly begins receiving gifts from a certain relative or caregiver.
  7. A caregiver begins accompanying the senior to the bank, signing checks, or writing checks on behalf of the senior.
  8. The senior is confused about his or her finances or where certain amounts of money went.
  9. The senior has a sudden change in personality or mood, either in general or when around a certain caregiver.
  10. The senior is suddenly reluctant to discuss financial matters or matters of his or her estate.
  11. You suddenly lose access to your senior loved one’s bank account or credit card information.
  12. The senior or caregiver unexpectedly wishes to make changes to the senior’s will, power of attorney, or other estate planning documents.

One of the best ways to protect against elder financial abuse is to talk with your senior loved ones about their financial plans, estate planning, and long-term care wishes. Having a plan in place and having their money protected can make it more difficult for caregivers to steal, while also making it easier for you to detect financial abuse if it begins to happen. In addition, consider talking to your elderly loved ones about the prevalence and dangers of elder abuse so that they too can recognize warning signs.

New York Estate Planning Assistance & Legal Advice

The Law Offices of Andrew M. Lamkin are here to help you with a wide range of elder law issues, including estate planning and protection against elder financial abuse. To learn more about our services, or to speak with an attorney, please call (516) 605-0625 or fill out our online contact form.

Why Winter Weather is Tough for the Elderly

Car with winter tyres installed on light alloy wheels in snowy oMany may not appreciate the environmental climate changes that commonly occur anywhere from fall to spring. For older citizens, ice and snow pose possible fall hazards that could result in broken bones. Journeying outdoors while wearing non-skid boots or having a companion reduces fall risks. However, colder indoor and outdoor temperatures also present additional dangers. Even with mild temperature decreases, winds lower outdoor temperatures even further. A 30 degree sunny day drops quickly to 15 degrees when 30 mile per hour winds occur. The National Institute on Aging advises that cold weather and precipitation carry potential hazards of hypothermia and overexertion.

Risk of Hypothermia

The term hypothermia refers to a condition that occurs when someone’s body temperature drops beneath the normal range and remains lowered for an extended length of time. As people age, the ability to maintain a normal body temperature decreases. Cardiovascular conditions that affect blood circulation contribute to the problem. Older people oftentimes become less active, which generates less body heat. These factors may put an elderly person in danger despite being exposed to even milder cold temperatures.

Hypothermia Symptoms

When the body temperature falls to 96 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, the symptoms of hypothermia may begin. Initially, the affected person may look or sound confused. Reaction time diminishes. The individual may complain of feeling sleepy. Speech becomes slurred and overall shivering accompanies a stiffening of the limbs, which slows physical movement. The pulse also weakens. The condition represents an emergency that requires immediate medical intervention.

Prevention Tips

  • When the weather turns cold, older people should wear layers of loose clothing. Each layer serves to trap warm air and thus keep the body warmer.
  • Wearing gloves, mittens, hats, or scarves prevents body heat from escaping via the hands and head.
  • Before going outdoors, stretch indoors to raise body temperature.
  • Indoors, wearing long underwear beneath normal clothing traps body heat. Elderly residents might additionally consider wearing socks and slippers. Use afghans or blankets to prevent heat loss from arms, legs, and shoulders.
  • Keep thermostats set to a minimum of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. While many are tempted to reduce indoor heat for financial reasons, the action could trigger hypothermia. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides the elderly with funding that assists with heating costs.
  • Consult with a healthcare provider to help assess medications that may contribute to hypothermia. Have the prescriptions or dosages altered if needed.
  • Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages before venturing outdoors. While alcohol creates the illusion of warming the body, blood vessels actually expand, which allows heat to circulate away from internal organs where it is needed most.

Overexertion

For someone diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, outdoor activities could put an unnecessary strain on the heart and increase the risk of heart attack. These activities may include walking through snow drifts or wet snow. Lifting heavy shovels filled with wet snow are also ill-advised.

Prevent Overexertion

  • Dress properly.
  • Get a ride to the intended destination if possible.
  • If possible, find someone else to shovel the snow.
  • Take it slow and stop for frequent breaks during the activity.
  • Shovel small amounts of snow with each scoop.

The Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin P.C. can assist your family with a variety of legal and non-legal matters concerning the elderly. Call us today or fill out our online contact form and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

What Exactly is Elder Law?

Daughter with her Elderly MotherElder law is focused primarily on the needs and laws governing the treatment of the elderly. Unique legal issues can plague older adults as well as their families, and elder law attorneys are well versed in the protections available for the elderly.

Not long ago, elder law was not a specialization for attorneys. Many people sought the advice of a general attorney for their will and estate planning as well as their business contracts. In elder law, the attorney is specialized and knowledgeable about the laws regarding the elderly.

Long-Term Care

Elderly family members might need to be in a nursing home as they the ability to care for themselves. It can be tough for family members to navigate the complicated arena of health insurance, as well as Medicaid, without an adviser who knows the qualifications of insurance programs. Before seniors are unable to care for themselves, they can see an elder law attorney to plan for the future, too.

Estate Planning

This is commonly known as creating a will, but there is more to the process. There are probate and tax issues to consider. It does not matter how much money or what kind of property will change hands. The planning should be done with the guidance of an elder law attorney who will advise you on the documents you need.

Living Trusts

A living trust is essentially the same as a will but with a slight difference. A will only becomes active after the person has died. A living trust dictates your preferences in the case that you are alive but no longer able to make sound decisions. It can be helpful to plan finances as well as living arrangements in case you are unable to do so. An elder law attorney can help you protect your assets, appoint a trustee, and other complex tasks.

Fraud, Neglect, and Protection

Unfortunately, elder abuse is a real threat to seniors. It can come in the form of fraud, neglect, or outright abuse. An elder law attorney will be able to find the right resources for seniors who are being exploited. In some cases, it can be nursing home abuse. Sadly, not every nursing home has the best interests of the senior at the forefront. Seniors can be the target for frauds from family as well as strangers. An elder law attorney will be able to protect a senior from these issues.

Guardianship

When an older adult loses the ability to make decisions, someone has to step in to fill that void. Often, it is a family member. In other cases, the court has to appoint a guardian to make decisions. An older adult can decide who should be their guardian long before it is a necessity. An elder law attorney can help with the process.

In elder law, it is important to have a New York state elder law attorney who is familiar with the intricacies of the law. The attorney should know about local resources and be able to direct the senior and his or her family to the correct organizations for help.

We will be able to help protect you or your family member, as well as help you navigate the confusing rules and regulations. Call us today or fill out our online contact form, and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

Handling Elderly Loved Ones with Deteriorating Driving Skills

The ability to drive is more than a skill. It is a symbol of a person’s independence. Thus, when people get to an age that driving may no longer be advisable, the situation needs to be approached with care. Though this type of conversation is not bound to be easy, failure to have it could result in the elderly person or someone else being injured or even killed.

Taking a Sensitive Approach

No one wants to give up his or her freedom. Not driving because of old age may seem like good sense, but much more is at stake for the person giving up the keys. Aging forces people to face many changes, and admitting to an inability to drive is one of the more difficult ones. Remain compassionate when talking to an elderly person about this topic, and be prepared to listen to a range of emotions. Consider what it would feel like to suddenly have to rely on others to go to the store, the post office, visit friends, etc. It can feel humiliating.

Here are some tips about approaching this delicate topic:

  • Set aside some quiet time to have the discussion.
  • Encourage honest feelings of fear, sadness, or anger.
  • Listen and reflect on what the person says to show understanding.
  • Offer empathy not judgment.
  • Don’t aim for immediate resolution; plan to talk again in a few days.

Know the Signs That Someone May Need to Stop Driving

Unless the elderly person suffers from a condition that renders him or her from making a sound decision, you cannot force someone to stop driving. Ultimately, your role is to be supportive not forceful. You can stay alert for signs that the person may need to stop driving, including:

  • An increased number of traffic citations
  • Trouble switching pedals
  • Slow response times
  • Episodes of disorientation and confusion
  • Limited mobility that could affect steering

Avoid telling that the person that he or she needs to stop driving. Inquire about how the driving process has been going and bring up something that brought on the concern, such as a recent fender bender. Don’t make general comments that friends and neighbors can help give rides to places; actually find out what services are available to the elderly, such as driving services from organizations like the YMCA. Once it is clear that a conversation needs to happen, plan to do it soon. Waiting could be catastrophic.

The Bottom Line

Life transitions are not always easy. Recognizing that it is time to stop driving can be very difficult to accept for some people. Having supportive family can make the process easier.

If you or your loved one needs assistance with elder law, including wills, estate planning, or retirement, call the Law Offices of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. today at (516) 605-0625 or fill out our online contact form and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

Reporting Elder Abuse in Long Island, NY

The extent to which older Americans are victims of elder abuse is difficult to accurately pinpoint. Estimates range between one million and two million for the number of people 65 years of age or older who have been abused or exploited, but the actual numbers are probably much higher. There is a shocking reason for this lack of clarity: It is estimated that only one out of every six incidents of elder abuse is reported.

Categories of Elder Abuse and Their Effect on Victims

Forms of elder abuse include the following:

  • Physical abuse that involves the use of force such as hitting, slapping, kicking, and pushing.
  • Emotional abuse occurs when the abuser intimidates, threatens, ridicules, or scares the victim. Emotional abuse may also include isolating the victim from friends and relatives.
  • Neglect occurs when food, clothing, shelter, and medical care are withheld from the victim.
  • Sexual abuse occurs when the elderly victim is forced to watch or participate in sexual acts.
  • Abandonment occurs when the person responsible for an elderly person’s care leaves the victim alone without arranging for someone else to care for the person.
  • Financial abuse covers a wide array of activities including theft, misappropriation, embezzlement, or misuse of an elder’s real or personal property.

Recognizing the Signs of Elder Abuse

Breaking the cycle of unreported cases of elder abuse begins with recognizing signs that an elderly friend, relative, neighbor, or acquaintance might be a victim in need of help. One of the difficulties in recognizing the signs of elder abuse is differentiating between abuse and dementia, frailty, or other conditions normally associated with the aging process.

Another factor that can hinder the recognition of elder abuse is the reliance that is placed on information or explanations offered by caregivers who might also be the abusers. This might occur when the elder is unable to communicate because of a mental or physical condition.

Common signs of elder abuse that should not automatically be dismissed as age-related occurrences include:

  • Unexplained injuries
  • Failure to take medications
  • Caregiver’s refusal to allow the elderly person to be alone with other people
  • The reluctance of the elder to speak in the presence of another person
  • Unpaid bill
  • Missing jewelry or other valuables
  • Unusual financial transactions
  • Presence of suspicious or unexplained legal documents

Reporting Suspicions of Elder Abuse

Elder abuse in New York is investigated by the county Department of Social Services Adult Protective Services workers. A report of suspected elder abuse can be made by calling the central helpline of the New York State Office of Children and Family Services at 1-844-697-3505.

Depending upon the preference of the person making the call, the operator will provide the telephone number for the local county Adult Protective Services unit having jurisdiction, or the caller may provide information to the operator about the elderly victim to be forwarded to the local APS unit for investigation.

Contact an Elder Law Attorney

The Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin P.C. might be able to protect you or a family member from elder abuse through estate planning for asset protection, durable powers of attorney, and health care proxies, and guidance to assist you in reporting the abuse and recovering damages. Contact us today at (516) 605-0625 for a free consultation or fill out our online contact form and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

Tips for Naming an Executor in Long Island, NY

When you consider who to name as an executor of your will, keep in mind that the job of executor is very time-consuming and requires many difficult decisions in order to faithfully carry out the wishes of the deceased. The executor’s job starts upon the death of the decedent and ends once all of the directions contained in the will have been completed and the estate is closed under applicable law.

First, the will must enter probate, the judicial system in place to determine the validity of the will. Subsequently, a determination is made regarding creditors, taxes, the identity of the beneficiaries, and the extent to which each beneficiary inherits from the estate. Additional variables can complicate the job of the executor, including an estate tax audit or a legal challenge to the will. In total, the executor’s role could last from one to several years.

Honest, Vigilant, and Detail Oriented

Given constantly changing tax laws, the enormous amount of personal property in some estates, and the potential for unhappy heirs, the potential executor should have a few basic qualities. First, for the sake of those who will inherit, the executor candidate should be honest and diplomatic. Depending on the estate, the executor may have quite a bit of work to do to get the job done right. Not everyone is good at keeping track of the many items of personal property that might be found in the attic or the basement. Staying focused on the process of taking inventory of the estate and meeting deadlines can be crucial to the work of the executor. When you are thinking of someone to be your executor, ask yourself whether this is someone who can efficiently meet deadlines and yet maintain harmony with all interested parties.

A Younger, Responsible Family Member or Friend

Who knows you better than your family or your best friend? Probably nobody is more familiar with your intentions than your loved ones. In addition, these people in your life might also have the best idea of where all your assets might be located. If you don’t have a family member or a close friend, consider making a list of all the people you do know and start to narrow down that list. During this process, you will probably figure out those who would be best suited for the role of executor.

One problem people commonly run into as they grow older is that their contemporaries start to pass away due to sickness and old age. This is one reason why many people opt for an executor who is younger in age yet responsible. Look to your social circle and identify the younger people within it.

Someone With Experience

Educational and professional background could also be relevant to choosing an executor. While it is true that anyone can hire an expert for consultation on estate issues, the job may be best handled by someone who has related experience, such as an attorney or an accountant. Such people would have familiarity with the issues that may come up, and they also have liability insurance, just in case something goes wrong.

Other Considerations

Some lawyers advise their clients to avoid naming a specific bank or trust company in the will, but rather to appoint someone to interview these institutions and negotiate fees if necessary.

Another popular idea for people with many children is to name all of the children as co-executors. This is generally not recommended, as it will result in arguments, with the larger share of work being done by one or two of the siblings. In addition, if all of the children are co-executors, all of their signatures will be needed when papers need to be signed. This can result is great inconvenience and delay. The better choice is to name one child in that role, while others can be named as alternates.

Of course, the cost of an executor’s services should be considered when naming a person in that role. You should consult with an attorney to gain an understanding of how much applicable state laws will allow fees to be charged to the estate.

Lastly, you should discuss the role of executor with the person you would like to name prior to signing documents. In addition, you should discuss the matter with family members who were not chosen to avoid any hurt feelings.

Contact Us

To discuss your estate plan, call the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, PC today at (516) 605-0625 or fill out our online contact form and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

Estate Planning Documents You Should Have

Planning for death is an uncomfortable but necessary part of life. By planning ahead, family members and loved ones can move on after your death without worrying about financial issues. The purpose of estate planning is to decide what happens to a person, their belongings, property, and funds when they become incapacitated or die. Without a plan, families will often have to go through a lengthy and expensive legal process at a stressful time, and assets may not be distributed according to a deceased’s wishes. Read on to find out what estate planning documents all individuals should have.

Living Will, Power of Attorney, and HIPAA Release

A living will is a legal document that details a person’s wishes regarding medical treatments in the event he or she becomes incapacitated. A power of attorney document provides authorization for an individual to act on behalf of a person’s private affairs under certain circumstances. Finally, a HIPAA form authorizes the release of medical records to a person, such as a spouse, to help them make medical decisions on a loved one’s behalf.

Funeral Plans

Ideally, every person should leave a document for his or her loved ones expressing their wishes on how they should be buried and who should be notified in the event of their death. This includes where the funeral should be held, what type of ceremony, where the person would like to be buried, and how they want to be buried.

Wills, Trusts, and Deeds

Choosing between a will and trust will depend on a person’s assets. A will specifies the persons that assets should go to when a person dies; however, it doesn’t specify tax and liability issues. Trusts transfer ownership of assets instead of money. Beneficiaries named in insurance policies or retirement accounts supersede wills and trusts. A deed transfers property rights to a person after death. People who die with assets and no wills, trusts, or deeds will have their property divided according to state laws.

Insurance Policies and Retirement Accounts

Each retirement account and insurance plan including pensions, annuities, and life insurance policies should name beneficiaries. After a person has passed, money remaining in these accounts will pass to the named beneficiary without the hassle or cost of probate court. This may also include social security payments in certain cases.

Bank, Savings, Heirlooms, and Other Items

People should name beneficiaries for all of their bank and saving accounts including money markets, mutual funds accounts, stocks, and bonds. After a person’s death, money in these accounts will pass to the beneficiary without the need for probate process. People should also specify in a will or trust the people to whom precious items should go after their death. Executors of wills and trusts should also know the location of these items.

Why Hire an Estate Planning Attorney?

An estate planning attorney such as Andrew Lamkin, Esq. can help people legally determine how assets should be distributed after they have passed away. Mr. Lamkin can also guide clients with minimizing taxes and costs. To find out more about estate planning, call or fill out our contact form.

Steps to Estate Planning

Estate planning may seem like a morbid topic better left for another time. In all actuality, estate planning provides you the opportunity to plan ahead, prepare family members for the future, and be involved in how matters are handled after you are gone. The process of determining what will happen in the future can provide you and your family with peace of mind and also allow you to focus on the time between now and then.

Make a Will

A will is a basic yet integral part of estate planning. Without a will, your children, your property, and your finances may be subject to what the state deems appropriate following your death. If you have any kind of preference of who would be the guardian of your children and which property would go to which family member, then creating a will is instrumental in avoiding the complication of state involvement. The person you name executor of the will can make sure that the terms of the document are carried out. Things to consider:

  • What property to include
  • Property distribution
  • Alternate beneficiaries
  • The children’s guardian
  • The will’s executor

Establish a Power of Attorney

A power of attorney allows you to designate an agent to speak and act on your behalf in the event that you are alive but can no longer speak for yourself. Depending on your specific needs, this can mean that someone will be responsible for making legal decisions that affect your medical care and finances. Ultimately, a power of attorney ensures that your wishes will be honored no matter what happens. When outlining the terms of a power of attorney, spend time thinking about:

  • Life-saving efforts, such as CPR or artificial feeding
  • Medical interventions to allow and which to decline
  • Who is a trustworthy choice for making your legal, medical, and financial decisions
  • Should this involve one person, or should health decisions be made by one agent and financial decisions by another?

Name a Beneficiary

Naming a beneficiary to handle your retirement funds and other bank accounts can simplify a process that can easily become complicated. The funds are usually made available to the beneficiary upon your death. In most cases, you can avoid unnecessary probate processes by assigning a beneficiary.

The Bottom Line

Estate planning can be simple or complicated. It depends on your specific circumstances. Andrew M. Lamkin has experience in estate planning and can answer questions and offer guidance on creating an estate plan that best fits your individual needs. Mr. Lamkin can be reached through a phone call or our contact form. He can be trusted to prepare your estate plan with skill, experience, and compassion. Call Andrew M. Lamkin to start your estate planning or fill out our online contact form. Once it is taken care of, you can focus on more important matters like spending time with your family.

Estate Planning for a Second Family

The purpose behind estate planning is to simplify a potentially complicated situation for family members. When a second family is involved, estate planning may be a bit more involved, but it is no less important. Several factors influence the best course of action to take when determining an estate plan for a second family. It is vital to note that every family situation has different dynamics and ultimately, the decision is yours. This can be based on your relationship with family members as well as the amount of money and/or possessions you have to divide. The goal is to create as little tension as possible to prevent bitterness from developing between people that you care about.

Factors to Consider

The division of money or possessions to a second family should be based on several variables. Things to consider are:

  • How long has the second family been established?
  • What plan for the home and property makes the most sense?
  • What arrangements will cause the least amount of family discord?

A Newer Second Family

Perhaps the second family was acquired later in life following years of marriage to someone else. You will be obligated to your first family simply because of the unbalanced amount of time you invested in the first versus the second. Children you raised with your first spouse until adulthood should not suddenly become less of a priority because you have children in a second family. Provisions for your second spouse and children are certainly warranted, but careful consideration should be given to the members of both families.

A Brief First Marriage

If the second family was established many years ago and the majority of your family life has been spent with them, then it is appropriate to treat the second family as your primary family. Separate provisions can be made for your first spouse and children from your first marriage, but the approach to estate planning in this case will be as though you have one big family instead of two.

Property Division

Property division is the most complicated aspect of estate planning for a second family. Leaving a family home that children from your first marriage grew up in to a second spouse can cause negative reactions. Yet a second spouse may deserve the home depending on the duration of the second marriage. This is where legal advice and careful thought needs to play a part in estate planning.

Communication

A straightforward strategy will be most productive in estate planning for a second family. Be direct with family members, explaining how things will be handled and why. This allows them to understand your reasoning and prepares them for the future. You can also take time to answer questions and take steps to make sure that there will be as little family tension as possible.

Legal Help

Andrew M. Lamkin is proficient in handling estate planning even when the situation may be a bit complicated. Call or fill out our contact form to get in contact with Andrew M. Lamkin. He will help you ensure that your family is taken care of.

The Importance of a Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a written document designed to allow someone of your choosing, an agent, to make legal decisions on your behalf in the event that you are incapacitated and unable to do so. Though establishing a power of attorney may seem like a project for a rainy day, there is no better time to address the matter than the present. A carefully considered power of attorney can give you the peace of mind that your wishes will be respected even if you are not able to voice them yourself.

Powers of Attorney

Depending on your specific needs, there are three types of power of attorney generally used. All provide you with the freedom to appoint someone as your agent and dictate the terms of that person’s role in managing your legal decisions. The common types of powers of attorney include the following:

  • A conventional power of attorney remains effective from the time you sign the document until you are deemed incapacitated.
  • A durable power of attorney remains in effect from the time you sign the document and during your lifetime.
  • A springing power of attorney goes into effect once a specific event has occurred, such as becoming incapacitated.

The Importance of Powers of Attorney

One of the more critical aspects of estate planning is understanding that a power of attorney can ensure that your voice is heard even when your ability to speak has been compromised. By placing this responsibility for carrying out your wishes in the hands of the most trustworthy person available, you are taking measures to ensure that certain legalities do not become an issue during a time that complications are least welcome.

Aside from the importance of having your wishes honored, a power of attorney saves families from facing medical and legal decision-making that may cause emotional anguish or uncertainty, or create relationship discord when family members disagree with how a situation should be handled. Matters that a power of attorney can address include:

  • Do-Not-Resuscitate orders (DNRs)
  • Acceptable medical interventions
  • Life-sustaining measures such as artificial feeding
  • Buying or selling real estate
  • Management financial affairs
  • Entering into contracts or business negotiations

The Bottom Line

The purpose behind estate planning is to make certain that matters are handled to your preference if you are unable to actively make sound decisions. The power of attorney is key for making this possible. Your agent will exercise the authority to make decisions on your behalf based on your individual preferences. Thus, the power of attorney removes the guesswork concerning your wishes once your family is faced with important decisions regarding your medical care and financial affairs.

If you are ready to move forward with a power of attorney, Andrew M. Lamkin is able to see that your individual needs are addressed. Call or use our contact form to contact Andrew M. Lamkin today. He will make sure your voice is heard.

Estate Planning for Peace of Mind

During the course of adult life, there are occasions when we are called upon to serve a role in the disposition of matters relating to the estate of a person who has recently passed away. Although the prospect of facing the duties of Executor of an estate can seem overwhelming to many people, there are ways to minimize the difficulty of managing these duties. Where the decedent has been proactive enough to put together an estate plan, the process of administering an estate can be far less stressful, resulting in peace of mind for all involved parties.

We should all do some planning regarding our property in the event of death. That being said, it is particularly important that those who support dependents and those who own significant assets to engage in estate planning. Estate planning provides control over the disposition of assets upon death. It ensures that your loved ones are provided for in the way that you would most desire. Estate planning reflects your preferences for what should happen to your property after you die. A good estate plan will account for two major issues: first, taxes and probate treatment; second, the simplicity with which the Executor and the beneficiaries can administer the estate plan.

Select Your Lawyer and Executor

While the services of a financial planner are helpful to estate planning, it is absolutely crucial to find a qualified attorney for the purpose of drafting an appropriate legal Will. The Will is the legal document which names your beneficiaries and designates the name(s) of the person(s) who will serve as the Executor to your estate. The Executor is the person who you authorize to distribute the assets in your estate to the named beneficiaries. The Will is fundamental to any estate plan.

Upon your death, the Executor will be obligated to do what you direct him or her to do as stated in your Will. For the sake of the Executor, the Will should clearly state the manner in which your assets should be distributed. In addition, when organizing your estate plan, it is recommended that a small insurance policy be available so that the Executor has funds with which to pay incidental costs associated with estate administration. As a side note to all potential Executors, it is generally advisable to review the Will prior to agreeing to act as Executor. If the Will is overly complicated, you may not want to undertake this responsibility.

Name Your Beneficiaries

With each significant change in your life, you will want to reexamine your Will to make sure any appropriate amendments are made to accommodate for current circumstances. This might mean that upon the purchase of real estate, a review of the Will might be necessary. Attorneys often advise their clients to review the Will once a year. Additional examples of life-changing events might include a marriage, the birth of a child, a divorce, or the death of a spouse or other loved one. Just as life brings changes to family and the nature and value of assets, so must a Will be altered to reflect those changes.

Devise a Plan to Pass Money to the Beneficiaries

You may want to confer with a financial planner as well as a lawyer to consider the tax consequences of passing assets and money to your beneficiaries. Some assets are better designed to avoid severe tax consequences and probate costs. Because many other types of assets are less probate and/or tax-friendly, it is very important to consider the nature of the assets that comprise the estate and whether their value will be diminished by probate and tax obligations. Examples of tax-efficient, probate-friendly assets might include Registered Retirement Savings Plans and Tax Free Savings Accounts.

Make a Plan to Keep Taxes and Other Fees to a Minimum

Ideally, the beneficiaries of your estate will receive the maximum value of your assets. The likelihood of minimizing taxes and fees is greatly enhanced by the proper and thorough drafting of the Will, a well-balanced financial portfolio, and an appropriate amount of insurance coverage.

Charitable Giving

If you wish to make a charitable donation, start a scholarship, or something similar, it is best to check with your financial planner, who can help to ensure that your desired charitable gift is made in a way that is most efficient to the organization of your choice.

Overall, formulating an estate plan will require work, including discussions with a lawyer, financial planner, insurance advisor, family members, and potential Executors. If you want to make sure that your beneficiaries receive the assets of your choice with minimal taxes and other fees, it is certainly worth the effort.

Contact Us

To explore your options for putting together an estate plan, call the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. at (516) 605-0625 for a free consultation to discuss your estate planning issues and to begin working on a personalized estate plan. Call today or fill out our contact form.

Ways to Help Beat the Loneliness of Your Aging Parents

More than likely you have plans for what you are going to do tonight, tomorrow, the weekend, and even maybe a vacation a few months off. Do your parents? As your parents aged, they may have drawn away from social groups and friends they once had. They will spend their days watching TV or reading instead of going out. Loneliness sets in and it falls on you to help your parents beat the blues. Helping get your parents out and socializing again is not the monumental task you might think it will be. Follow these simple ways to help them get out and enjoy life.

Find local groups, senior centers, and support programs in your area.

You do not have to tackle the enormous task of entertaining your parents by yourself. It is important to remember that there are several organizations and programs already set up to assist you. Contacting your local chapters will give you something solid to suggest to your parents. These centers and care facilities might seem to your parents to be a push to place them in a home. Remind them that you still love them, and then show them the benefits and enjoyment they can have by being with others of their own age and interests.

Encourage your parents to pick up a hobby.

Hobbies are great ways for the young and old to get out and meet new friends. Begin by suggesting simple hobbies they may already like doing. Purchasing and setting up quality materials for your parents is a good way to encourage them, without pressing them too hard. If your mother likes to garden, purchase a large garden bed and a few vegetable plants. If your father likes to paint, buy a quality easel and paint set. When they want out of the house, look for classes offered at your local community college to encourage them to learn new skills and trades.

Continue to encourage your parents to follow their dreams.

Your parent’s dreams did not end when they got older. It is never too late for them to start dreaming again. Begin the conversation by asking them what they wanted to do when they were your age. Encourage them to think beyond what they did for a living. Some great ideas are to have them start a small business, obtain a degree, learn to speak a new language, write books, or start working again. If your father laments that he never got to spend time with you and your siblings, see if the local library has a time where volunteers can read to children. Your mother may have regretted never following her writing passion, so encourage her to write short stories and have them printed locally.

Loneliness is often seen as something that just happens as one gets older. This is not true; loneliness is a large concern and can be a sign of other problems. Ignoring the problem will only make the situation worse. Be sure to ask your parents what their plans are for the weekend, the next week, etc. If your parents do not make plans or have any activities they can attend, take the time to talk to them about getting out in the community and finding new friends and activities.

Contact Us Today

The Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin P.C. can help you with non-legal issues such as nursing home placement, retirement planning, and long term care insurance. Call Andrew Lamkin today at (516) 605-0625 for a free consultation and get help navigating your elderly parents through this difficult time.

What Will Retirement Mean for You?

No longer do people think of retirement as a time to rest and do nothing. Many people plan to work well into their 70s, seeing retirement as an opportunity to change careers and do something that they truly love doing. Whether it is turning a hobby into a part-time business or choosing to work to stay active, retirement is no longer considered as a time when you are “put out to pasture.”

Finding a Balance Between Leisure and Finances

In order to enjoy your retirement, you must have a financial plan. Retirement dreams are different for each person; however, the one constant is the fact that you need to be financially prepared for your retirement. The reality of health care costs and inflation dictate that you must a plan in place to pay for retirement long before you reach retirement age.

The retirement plan you choose will be based on your financial needs as well as your current age and the age at which you wish to retire. To accomplish your goals, consult with an estate planning and retirement attorney as early as possible. Andrew Lamkin specializes in retirement planning and he will take the time to help you make good choices while also considering your needs and wishes.

Things to Take into Consideration When Planning for Your Retirement

  • What do you want to do during retirement? Do you view retirement as an opportunity to sleep in and relax, travel, become more active in your community, or begin a second career? Knowing what you want to do during your retirement years will help you plan a financial strategy to allow you to do what you want after you retire.
  • When do you plan to retire? Have a target age in mind so that you can focus your retirement planning to have enough money to fund all of your retirement years. As more people live longer, they are facing the possibility of outliving their retirement accounts. Make sure that you plan accordingly so that you do not deplete your retirement savings halfway through your retirement.
  • What does your spouse think about retirement? You may assume that both you and your spouse have the same retirement goals; however, this may not be the case. Discuss your ideas about retirement now so that you can both make adjustments to work out any differences you may have in regard to your visions of retirement.
  • Plan for the unexpected. Your retirement planning attorney will explain the various estate planning documents that you want to draft now in order to plan for unexpected events. He will explain the benefit and importance of having wills, powers of attorney, trusts, and living wills. He can also explain how each of these estate planning tools can help protect your retirement investments and plan for your future.

Trusted Help for Your Retirement Planning

To ensure that your retirement is exactly what you have dreamed it would be, call the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin P.C. for assistance with your retirement and estate planning. Call Andrew M. Lamkin at (516) 605-0625 for a free consultation to discuss your retirement planning options and to choose a retirement plan that is best for you.

Is It Time for You to Review Your Will?

Many people believe that once they have executed their Will, they need give it no further consideration. Nothing could be further from the truth. People need to make sure their Wills are current and relevant to the circumstances of their lives as those circumstances change. People need to be active participants in this process as well as active advocates to meet their desired goals.

Life Changes that Require a Review of Your Will

In determining changes in life that point toward a Will review, you need to consider not just your own life, but the lives of your children and loved ones. Most people realize that marrying would be a trigger for reviewing your Will, but they fail to consider that a marriage of their children or birth of grandchildren should act as triggers as well.

An example would be that you have three children and your Will gives all of your assets to the survivors of the three in equal shares. Then your son has a child of his own. Your Will would leave nothing for that grandchild if something happened to your son. There are a variety of these sorts of situations that must be considered to make certain your Will serves your purposes.

Perhaps you have moved to a different state that has different laws concerning Wills, you or your loved ones’ marital status has changed, you have another child, there is a death among your loved ones, you have a desire to change your heirs, or you have disposed of or obtained major assets. All of these should result in a review of your Will. The fact is, estate laws in New York state change regularly, as do tax laws concerning estates. Therefore, even without life changes, you should do regular reviews of your Will to make certain it is current with the state of the law.

Make Certain Your Goals Will Be Met

The most important point to remember is that people want their assets to be distributed in accordance with the plan they have made, and that plan will change as life circumstances change for them and their loved ones. If people fail to act when these changes occur, and fail to review and update their Will, assets may not transfer in accordance with the intended plan. Most people have likely not worked hard their lifetimes to see their plans fail.

Contact Us

The death of a family member causes stress and strife in all families. No one can change that. What can be done is to have a current, up to date Will that will help in moving plans forward for loved ones in the fashion you desired. There is a great benefit in having an experienced attorney that knows how to work with you in planning your Estate and meeting your intended goals effectively. Andrew Lamkin has this experience and is ready to help. Contact the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin by calling 516-615-0625 for a free consultation to discuss your needs.




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