Category Archives: Massachusetts Nursing Home Attorney

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.

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.

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.

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.

Why choosing an elder law specialist is best for you and your parents

Elder law attorneys can provide the best solutions to financial and legal plans for your loved ones.

Elder law attorneys can provide the best financial and estate planning solutions for your loved ones.

If you are responsible for elderly parents or relatives, you already know you have many issues to consider. Hiring an elder law attorney – a person that specializes in the laws concerning seniors – is a smart move. If your relative has considerable assets or complicated financial issues, you need the services of an elder attorney; a person that knows about estate planning, living trusts, nursing home issues, and probate. All of these issues can be handled by an elder law specialist.

An estate planning attorney or estate planning lawyer helps seniors plan their wills. Often this means selecting a power of attorney who acts in your place for financial purposes. An attorney can help you with problems that arise from appointing a power of attorney with financial institutions. A planned will details who will acquire what property and money when you die. The will can include bank accounts, IRAs, property, jewelery and expensive collections. A complicated binding document like this demands the expertise of an estate planning attorney.

A living trust attorney can help seniors with different types of trusts used to manage their assets. For example, there are revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts, and supplemental needs trusts. Each one has a different purpose and reason for being formed. A MA elder attorney will know all the ins and outs to select the best trust for you or your relative.

A Massachusetts elder lawyer is qualified to help you with any number of important issues. Some of these include disability planning, long term health care decisions, nursing home issues, Medicaid, Medicare, and even at-home care. A Massachusetts estate planning attorney is always ready to help the elderly find the best way to plan their estates. Estate planning is a complex legal issue that only a good Massachusetts estate planning lawyer can handle.

Do you have an elderly relative that has to go into a nursing home? A massachusetts nursing home attorney is qualified to help you assess your financial situation and interpret the many laws that apply. It is a complicated and confusing issue to tackle alone. A good attorney can help your family keep some of their money while still giving your relative good quality care. A lawyer can help you with Medicare, insurance plans, and Medicaid – all ways of paying for long term health care.

An experienced nursing home attorney can help you decide where your elderly relatives will live. An assisted living community may be a better option than a nursing home, or perhaps your elderly relatives just need some help to live in their own home. A qualified Massachusetts nursing home attorney can help you find the best long term care solution for your family members or friends.

Do you want to tackle the probate issue that come up when an someone dies? A probate attorney can help you plan for this process. You can make a will ahead of time, so it is available when probate occurs. Often in probate a will is examined and property is appraised. Some property can avoid probate – this is why a good probate attorney should advise you of the issues at hand.

When seeking sound financial planning for an elderly relative or friend in Massachusetts, contact an elder law attorney to help you with the complex laws and issues that can make this process difficult. You’ll be happy you did, and your relatives will be glad you took the time to find them the best solutions for their financial and legal plans.

Choosing a Nursing Home

Whether for yourself or a loved one, choosing a nursing home is an important and often difficult decision. Thoroughly discuss the issue of nursing home living with the individual involved and their personal physician.  It is critical to consider the travel abilities of those who will be visting the nursing home.  The first narrowing of your search can be base on these limits.

Nursing Home Tour

1. Research and Prepare for Nursing Home Visits

  • Schedule  appointments for informational meetings and tours of nursing homes through the homes’ admissions representatives. It is important to acquire copies of the facility’s brochure, admissions policies, and the resident’s bill of rights.
  • Receive additional information by contacting the Executive Office of Elder Affairs and asking to speak with the ombudsman who represents the nursing homes that you are interested in.
  • Contact the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Division of Health Care Quality to get the “Survey Performance Tool for Nursing Homes” or a copy of survey findings and complaint reports for the nursing homes that you are considering.

2. Your Nursing Home Visits

  • Meet with the admissions representative, administrator, or other contact.
  • During your tour of the nursing home, observe and take mental notes about the interactions between staff and residents.
  • Try and speak with the residents and staff about their feelings and experiences.
  • Make observations, and do not be afraid to ask questions.

3. Narrow Your Choices and Make a Selection

  • After eliminating some of your choices, try to re-visit remaining nursing homes at a different time than you visited before.
  • Schedule a meeting with an administrator to discuss specific concerns regarding care needs or personal preferences.
  • Request that you participate in specific care planning sessions and decisions.
  • After selecting, make sure to visit often and take an active role in your loved one’s care.

If you or a loved one would like legal advice regarding estate planning, trusts, or nursing home abuse, please contact The Law Offices of Adam J. Tobin

Housing Options for Senior Citizens

Is staying at home still the best option for your elderly parents? Certain circumstances may have made you realize that this is no longer the case. Perhaps they have grown incapable of taking care of themselves in addition to their home. This could be the result of changing physical, mental, or financial conditions. Now you’re faced with the decision of how to go about providing the best opportunity for your parents to lead a comfortable lifestMassachusetts Retirement Communityyle. Before you try to swoop in and save the day, make sure to include you parents in the decision-making process. Ultimately, it’s their life and you need to be sure to recognize and respect their personal wants and needs. Now that you’ve got the conversation started it’s time to evaluate the various alternatives:

Retirement Community. Otherwise known as an Independent Living Community or Congregate Living, this may be the best option if your parents are still fairly independent – meaning that they don’t need help with daily activities, such as getting dressed, bathing, feeding themselves, etc. – but desire the security and convenience of a community. Some of these communities offer organized social and recreational activities, while others offer amenities such as housekeeping and transportation. Other amenities may include swimming pools, exercise facilities, clubhouse, laundry facilities, and access to meals. However, be aware these types of communities do not offer medical care to residents and there is also usually an age requirement (typically 55).

Assisted Living Community. These living communities aim to provide as much independence to the residents as possible in a private setting. These communities are designed for senior citizens who cannot safely live completely independently, but do not require the high level of care of nursing homes. Although 24-hour support services and licensed nurses are often provided, assisted living communities are not considered medical facilities and do not accept Medicare or Medicaid as payment. Also, amenities such as housekeeping, social activities, transportation, aMassachusetts Home Carend meals are also usually offered.

Nursing Home. Nursing homes cater to elderly citizens who can no longer care for themselves and require 24-hour professional care. Long-term residents generally require a high level of care and may have complex medical conditions. Nursing home residents receive in-house medical care, rehabilitation, physical and other types of therapies. Some facilities concentrate treating those with Alzheimer’s Disease, cancer, dementia or other special health situations.

Home Care. Home care is designed to allow senior citizens to maintain a feeling of independence while still receiving the care that they require. Many home care nurses will come in on an agreed upon schedule, while others may live in the home in order to provide the highest level of care possible. This type of care typically includes help with daily activities, paying bills, making appointments, providing transportation, and providing companionship and emotional support to the individual.

After gathering all of the information about the best options in your area, your parents’ living preferences, and your financial position, you can make a decision. To help understand your parents’ rights and obligations throughout this process, consult an elder law attorney. Contact the law offices of Adam J. Tobin today for more information!