Monthly Archives: August 2011

Determining if a Loved One Requires Home Care

It’s a difficult thought, wondering if your loved one might not be able to fully take care of them selves anymore. Countless Americans go through it all the time, dealing with the decision of whether or not they should put their loved one in a home. And even senior citizens are often reluctant to admit that they need help. It’s not easy for a person who’s lived a full life and provided for themselves and their families to come to terms with their predicament for fear of losing their independence or just out of embarrassment. Even those of us who are closest to loved ones have a hard time admitting the fact because we have seen them throughout our entire lives as able bodied and fully capable. But it is a fact of life. People age and the older they get, the harder life can be.

It’s important for us to be aware of the situation and keep a look out for the early signs that a loved one needs home care. Sometimes these signs aren’t easy to spot and can “suddenly sneak” up on you if you’re not paying attention. Here is a list of warning signs that you will want watch for if you concerned that your loved one may need home care:

  • Your loved one neglects personal grooming.
  • Your loved one ignores household tasks.
  • Your loved one doesn’t eat well.
  • Your loved one has fallen or has a fear of falling.
  • Your loved one has difficulty administering medications.
  • Your loved one shows signs of inactivity or isolation.
  • Your loved one neglects mail and has overdue bills.
  • Your loved one has been scammed or a victim of fraud.
  • Your loved one caring needs have become increasingly difficult.
  • Your loved one often gets confused or disoriented.

If one or more of the described symptoms above have been noticed or experienced by your loved one, a home care solution might be the right decision.

For more information and guidance on this difficult dilemma, contact your Massachusetts elder law lawyer at the offices of Adam Tobin. We would be glad to help you with the process and answer any questions you need.

Do I Need to Hire an Attorney to Assist with my Estate Plan?

If you are considering planning your estate, you may be enticed by the idea of doing it yourself to save money. Many websites offer “simple” solutions and forms that can be purchased for less than an attorney.  These forms are usually over-generalized and may not be legally viable for your unique situation. Estate planning is a complex, difficult, legal-intensive process. One wrong word or missing signature can void your entire estate plan. With an estate planning attorney there to help, you can be much more confident that any resulting trusts and documents will be tailored to your exact situation. It is all too common that someone plans their estate poorly without an attorney, which ends up costing their family time, effort, and thousands of dollars later in order to fix the problems in the estate.

Extended family in living room smiling ready for estate planningState Laws affect Estate Plans More than Anything Else and Differ Greatly Among States

State laws are extremely specific about every possible minute detail of any part of an estate plan. The exact format, procedures, language, and rules are different in every state, and a good estate planning attorney will know these differences and understand how to plan your estate accordingly.

This may not sound like a big problem, but what if your assets are in multiple states? What if your trustees are in multiple states? Estate planning attorneys understand the nuances related to these issues and can resolve them and plan your estate to fit your situation.

Common Estate Planning Issues that an Estate Planning Attorney Can Help You Solve

  • You have substantial assets in 401(k)s and/or IRAs
  • You were recently divorced
  • You recently lost a spouse or other family member
  • You have a taxable estate for federal and/or state estate tax purposes
  • You’re in a second (or later) marriage
  • You own one or more businesses
  • You own real estate in more than one state
  • You have a disabled family member
  • You have minor children
  • You have problem children
  • You don’t have any children
  • You want to leave some or all of your estate to charity

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