Category Archives: Nursing Homes

Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney on Avoiding Nursing Home Bullying

The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home can be scary. You’ve heard stories of abuse at the hands of caretakers and facilities. What many people don’t realize is that there’s a high rate of abuse perpetrated by elderly residents on each other. When the facility or an employee is responsible for mistreatment, it’s a clear cut crime. In a case where another resident is responsible for bullying, it can be far more difficult to deal with because there can be many variables at play – such as health and mental issues that effect impulse control and behavior.

The question is, how do you make sure your loved one is safe in the facility you choose?

The first thing you do is ask the questions. Ask what the protocol is when faced with a bullying or abusive situation. Ask how many health care workers they have per patient and how they’re trained to handle these social issues.

The second thing you need to understand is that bullying will likely occur in any setting – it’s the way the issue is handled that counts. Each case will be different. Some people are more inclined to bully others, some people turn to social power struggles to help themselves feel more in control. The way the staff handles the situation can make all the difference. Sometimes it’s just a matter of keeping certain residents separate because their personalities clash. Other times, it might be a matter of dealing with pain or discomfort the bully might be feeling.

In short, you want to look for a facility where the staff is not only caring but they pay attention to the individual needs of each patient. You also want to make sure the staff is trained to deal with these issues and will step in when needed.

Understanding Public Benefits When Caring for Elderly Parents

caring-elderly-parentsPeople who are taking care of their elderly parents often don’t know that there are a number of public benefits available out there, not only in Massachusetts but around the country as well. These benefits are provided by the federal and state governments to make the process of caring for parents in their later stages of life much easier on everyone. If you are caring for elderly parents and have the Massachusetts power of attorney, or are just curious about what benefits are available to you if you are ever in this situation in the future, please review some of the helpful public benefits when caring for elderly parents listed below.


Elderly parents who are over 65 and collecting Social Security qualify for Medicare and this covers more than just hospital visits and medical insurance coverage. A ton of money can be saved on premiums and on prescriptions through Medicare, so it is important to sign your elderly parents up so they may benefit from these savings.

Benefits from the AoA

The AoA, or administration of aging, provides numerous benefits to elderly parents like health insurance counseling, Massachusetts elder lawyer assistance for legal issues and even long term care. Investigate these specific programs in Massachusetts to see what they can offer you in your particular caregiving situation.

Social Security

Social Security was set up many decades ago to provide money for Americans when they could no longer work, so that they would have a some source of income with which to live. Make sure your elderly parents have all their social security details in order so that they are receiving their Social Security checks, much of which is their money that they have paid into social security when they were younger.

Make Sure Wills are Set Up Properly 

While it is not a public benefit, one of the most important things to do when caring for elderly parents is make sure that their wills are properly written and executed with their exact wishes. You will most likely want to bring on a Massachusetts elder law attorney who specializes in this area of law to make sure this is handled properly.

Long-term Care Planning and Responsibilities of Being the Family Caregiver

Long-term care planning and responsibilities of being the family caregiverFamily caregivers of elderly parents face unique challenges. Long-term planning include estate planning are essential for family caregivers. Attorneys specializing in the field of elder law have experience and knowledge specific to the elderly population and are more aware of the difficulties that are often involved with the aging process and how that affects the legal process. Concerning elder law attorneys, the non-profit organization Area Agency on Aging states, “Because of their broad knowledge base they are able to more thoroughly address the legal needs of their clients.”

The special circumstances for caregivers when elderly parents or relatives reside in a nursing home facility are served best by attorneys experienced in elder law in respective individual states. In Massachusetts, with each state’s unique laws, a Massachusetts nursing home attorney can best serve the needs of caregivers in this state.

When planning an estate, an elder law attorney is aware of the need to take into consideration the health of the elderly individuals being cared for, with their individual needs and wishes. In the case of estate planning, a Massachusetts estate planning lawyer specialist will provide the most cost-effective and thorough services with the least opportunity for friction between all individuals involved. AARP advises that an “elder law attorney” can help resolves disputes as “a mediator” when there may be multiple caregivers, or between siblings or other involved parties.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a publication entitled The Family Caregiver Handbookstates in reference to legal matters unique to elder care, that “it can still be a challenge to find someone with the appropriate expertise.” And the non-profit Family Caregiver Alliance in an article entitled, Legal Issues in Planning for Incapacity advises that “it is important to find an attorney with whom you feel comfortable and who has the expertise to advise you on these matters.”

A fully qualified Massachusetts elder law attorney will provide the expertise to handle legal matters unique to elder care in a dignified and professional manner, advocating for their client’s needs.

Do You Need a Nursing Home Lawyer?

When to hire a Massachusetts nursing home attorneyPutting a loved one in a nursing home isn’t something that should be taken lightly. No, it’s likely a last ditch type of scenario where you’re doing what’s best for your elderly loved one in order to ensure that the proper care, assistance, treatment and attention is paid to the person in question. No, it’s never an easy decision, but often times it’s the right decision and the best decision. Another thing that you need to start thinking about when you make this move is hiring a Massachusetts elder law attorney to handle your loved one’s will. Often times, this Massachusetts nursing home attorney is necessary to act on behalf of your elderly loved one when they’re no longer willing or able to.

So why exactly is it important to hire a Massachusetts estate planning lawyer? Simple, it’s so that your loved one’s possessions and safe keepings are looked after when they can no longer properly care for them. And while it can be difficult and depressing to begin thinking this way, it certainly beats a battle in the courts after your loved one’s passing to divide possessions and estates.

We get it and we know that it’s not fun to think of losing a loved one, whether it’s a parent, uncle, aunt or friend of the family. But you owe it to yourself and to your loved one to make sure that their will and estate is taken care of well before they’re gone. It makes everything else that much more easy when the time finally does come.

For more information on planning a will or an estate, contact one of our Massachusetts estate planning lawyers today.

How a Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney can help you with Healthcare

Learn more about Massachusetts Elder Law and Health Care.In addition to helping with estate planning, financial issues and housing options, a Massachusetts elder attorney can help you make informed healthcare choices for your future. Your attorney can make sure that you have access to affordable healthcare and that you know how the latest healthcare legislation will affect your current and future plans.

Thanks to changes in healthcare on both state and federal levels, the field of medicine is constantly changing, making it difficult for the average person to keep up with the latest policies. These policies affect private health insurance programs, Medicaid, Medicare and veterans’ benefits, making it essential that you have a trusted person who can give you the correct information that you need to know. While the future of the healthcare system is uncertain, like potential spending cuts in government programs that many seniors rely upon, it’s important to have someone on your side to guide you through the maze of regulations.

Although you can’t predict the future, your Massachusetts estate planning attorney can help you make plans for the future so that your wishes are met every step of the way. They can help you decide on potential options such as whether you’d prefer in-home care by private caregivers or if living in a residential facility is better for your needs.

Your elder lawyer can also help you make important decisions related to your healthcare, and draw up the proper documents such as a power of attorney and advance directives, to ensure that you’re well taken care of. Making these decisions now allows your loved ones to focus on spending quality time with you, and without heavy burdens weighing on their minds.

For assistance with your estate planning, or to find out how a Massachusetts elder attorney can help you, contact us today!

Top 7 Things You Should Know When Moving a Parent into a Nursing Home

7 nursing home legal advice for parents.Making the decision to move your parent into a nursing home is never easy. You may be dealing with feelings of guilt or inadequacy. These feelings can be mitigated by doing your due diligence before you choose a nursing home for your parent. Below is a list of the top seven things you should know before you move your parent into a nursing home.

Cost: This is perhaps the most important item on the list. Make sure you have a break-down of all the costs associated with the nursing home, to include the room or apartment, meals and any other costs your loved one will incur.

Amenities: Find out what amenities are available at nursing homes in the area, and compare. A home may cost a little bit more but have activities and other things that will make your parent happier.

Aide Ratio: The aide to patient ratio at a nursing home is important. If there aren’t enough aides to handle the patient load, your parent may not have the best care and will be unhappy. Make sure there is enough staff to care for patients’ needs.

Security: Ensure that your parent’s belongings will be secure. As well, make sure that your parent will be secure and feel safe at all times. Open rooms with access to any member of the public or other residents can be scary.

Discharges: Find out what the nursing home’s discharge policy is. When can you have your parent discharged, and what paperwork needs to be completed? Can your parent sign their own discharge paperwork and leave at will? This is a huge safety issue and must be handled properly.

Visiting: What is the nursing home’s policy on visiting hours? Do they have a liberal window for you to come see your parent?

Reviews: Check out reviews and complaints that have been filed with governing boards and the Better Business Bureau in your area. Choose a nursing home that is rated highly.

Make sure you choose a nursing home wisely – it is stressful enough to put a parent into a nursing home, but even worse to have to move them to another facility later. And while cost is important, never sacrifice your parent’s happiness for the sake of sheer finances.

Ten Reasons to Consult an Estate Planning Attorney

Helping your elderly parents face the financial and health-related challenges that come with growing older can put quite a strain on your other responsibilities. Enlisting the help of the right professionals leaves you with more time to spend with your family. Since there are complex state and federal regulations regarding wills and other paperwork necessary for settling an estate, it is best to consult an experienced estate planning attorney. There are ten specific benefits to working with an elder lawyer.

1. Ensure the last will and testament of your parent or relative is legally binding and properly designated.

2. Designate a power of attorney contract to ensure the right person is responsible for making medical and financial decisions if the person becomes incapacitated.

3. Create a living will. Living wills help your elderly relatives make their wishes clear and save you a lot of stress when the time comes for difficult decisions.

4. Avoid mistakes. A practicing estate planning lawyer can craft a strong will that covers all the bases, while most packages designed to help you do it yourself lack coverage of crucial areas.

5. Handle any business or investment transfers smoothly and without delays.

6. Address complex situations where blended or extended families are involved. Planning the estate is much more complicated if your elderly relatives have had more than one marriage.

7. Minimize the taxes heirs will need to pay by choosing the right type of trust.

8. Update and change any existing wills and estate paperwork. Changing laws and family structures make old agreements insufficient very quickly.

9. Take care of disabled family members for their rest of their life. A good probate lawyer can help craft a plan that ensures that the people in your family with special needs never go without support.

10. Make the process easier. Planning an estate is stressful for both the elderly and their helpers, but an experienced professional helps.

Top 5 Ways to Reduce Estate Taxes in Massachusetts

estate_tax_planningEstate taxes can take quite a chunk out of one’s inheritance, but there are a few ways to reduce them without getting on the wrong side of the law:

1. Charitable Transfers

Not only is giving to charity good for society, it can really reduce the level of estate taxes. This is mainly because these transfers are considered a means of reducing the total estate size. An estate planning attorney may suggest that you provide a lifetime gift in order to also reduce income taxes.

2. The Q tip trust allows married couples to reduce their estate taxes. It helps the couple to take full advantage of all federal and state exemptions. After the first spouse dies, the estate is split into three separate parts. One part is placed in a credit shelter trust. The second piece is placed in a marital trust. And the final portion can be passed directly to the surviving spouse. Depending on the age of the spouse, a nursing home attorney may be used to help divert this money to needed care.

3. Special Needs Trust

As estate holders grower older, they are more likely to become disabled. With the help of an elder attorney, a disabled senior is eligible to put money into a special needs trust for use in paying medical bills. Not only does this allow those with special needs to pay for expensive treatment, it reduces the total level of taxation on the estate.

4. Family-Owned Business

If you own a family business, your estate planning lawyer will advise you to use that information when planning your estate. There is a federal deduction allowed to those working in family-owned businesses. However, a family business needs to meet a number of specific qualifications in order to be eligible for the tax deduction. First, the business needs to be located in the United States and the owner or owners must be United States citizens. Next, the decedent must have worked with the business for at least five years and must own at least half of it. The resulting interest deduction may not be worth founding a new family business for, but it can help out greatly if you already own one.

5. Actual Use

This type of estate savings is one of the most difficult to come by, and will definitely require the expertise of a Massachusetts estate planning lawyer. You may already have noticed that real estate is valued at its highest possible value. For some people, this results in land being valued higher than it actually should be. Special permits can be obtained to lower the value to its “actual use,” thus allowing estate owners to pay a far lower tax rate than would otherwise be possible.

For more information, please contact the Law Offices of Adam Tobin, today!

Massachusetts Elder Law Planning for Long-term Care

longtermcare-elder-lawElder law attorneys in Massachusetts can help you solve issues regarding long-term care arrangements. If you are not proactive and speak to a Massachusetts elder lawyer early on, long-term care costs can deplete the estate of you or your loved ones. Although insurance may help assuage some of the financial burden, an estate planning attorney can present different options to you.

Long –Term Care Insurance Policies

As part of your estate planning, you may decide to take out an insurance policy in the case you or a loved one requires extensive medical care in a long-term facility. Policies available cover nursing home care and assisted living costs. Your elder lawyer can include policy terms in your living will along with give you advice on how to select the best policy. Since you may not need long-term insurance for years, choose an established insurance provider with a long track record of honoring claims. A Massachusetts elder attorney is likely to point out the importance of an inflation rider that allows the benefit amount to increase each year. If you need long-term care in 10 or 20 years, you want to make sure the coverage you have is sufficient.

Getting Your Wishes Granted

An elder attorney ensures that you or your loved one gets the care you want and deserve. In your living will, you could instruct your loved ones on the type of facility you want to be placed. A list of facilities and nursing care providers can also be listed in a long-term care plan. Your attorney also helps you find the funds from your estate to pay for long-term care if required. All monies are reviewed during your consultation to make the smartest financial decisions. Monies used for long-term care can come from medical insurance, reverse mortgages, long-term care insurance, veteran’s benefits, income and savings.

Documents You Need

Telling your children or grandchildren your wishes for long-term care is not enough. A MA elder care lawyer assures all documentation is filed and legally-binding. Your attorney can draw up your last will and testament, living will and power of attorney documents. In your documents, you could also designate a personal care coordinator. This person is in charge of making the decisions when you are medically incapacitated due to old age or disease.

Speak to a MA elder lawyer early on to avoid financial disaster. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities cost hundreds of thousands of dollars if used for long-term care. Avoid losing your entire estate by planning for this possibility with an elder law attorney.

Have You Heard? New Protections Under the Elder Justice Act

Did you know that new legislation was signed into law last year that is designed to protect America’s senior citizens from abuse?  The Elder Justice Act, signed by President Obama in March of 2010, is a major step towards preventing abuse of the elderly.  This is the first time that such efforts have been officially coordinated at the federal level.

A Brief Overview of the Elder Justice Act

  • Elder Justice ActWithin the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, there will now be Elder Justice Coordinating Council (EJCC) which will oversee coordination of elder abuse issues throughout the government.
  • An Advisory Board to the EJCC, comprised of experts on elderly abuse and exploitation, will be formed to advice the council and compile a yearly report on elderly abuse with recommendations for governments at the federal, state, and local levels.
  • Allows for grants to long term care facilities to ensure that they have sufficient training and knowledge on elderly abuse issues and how to combat and prevent abuse of senior citizens.
  • Increased coordination among long term care facilities, the government, and elderly abuse officials at all levels.

In short, the act will help unify a system of preventing elderly abuse nationwide. This is a huge step in the fight to prevent the abuse and exploitation of America’s senior citizens.

If you or someone you know would like information on elder abuse, nursing home abuse, or estate planning, please contact the Law Offices of Adam J. Tobin today.