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Hughes Fall 2011 Elder Law Newsletter (Powers of Attorney)

by James Hughes on 10/21/11

CT Elder Law Newsletter

Fall: 2011

PLANNING FOR INCAPACITY

DURABLE POWERS OF ATTORNEY

The day may never come, but as the Boy
Scouts of America motto has long declared:
BE PREPARED!
Proper planning for possible future incapacity
would include, at the minimum, execution of a
DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY.

A power of attorney (POA) is a written
document which appoints another person or
institution (the “attorney-in-fact” or “agent”) to
act on the person’s (the “principal’s”) behalf.
The Connecticut “Statutory Short Form Power
of Attorney” grants broad and sweeping powers
to the agent, who must act as such agent for
the benefit and interest of the principal. The
agent may not act for his/her own benefit-such
as making gifts to himself or others-UNLESS,
the POA clearly and specifically authorizes the
action/gift.

Be sure to make your POA “durable”,
which must contain additional language to
the effect: “this power of attorney shall not
be affected by the subsequent disability or
incompetence of the principal.” The Durable
POA will not be revoked if and when the principal
becomes incompetent.

The POA is effective immediately upon
execution OR upon the happening of a future life
event-if you so indicate in the POA.

If you want more than one attorney-in-fact/
agent designated on your POA and you wish
each agent alone to be able to exercise the power
conferred, you must indicate so by stating the
word “severally” in the POA, otherwise the agents
must act jointly in all decision making.

Your attorney-in-fact/agent may act in your
name, place and stead in any way which you
yourself could act, if you were personally present.
The POA allows your agent to handle some or all
of the following:
(a) real estate transactions;
(b) chattel & goods transactions;
(c) bond, share & commodity transactions;
(d) banking transactions;
(e) business operating transactions;
(f) insurance transactions;
(g) estate transactions;
(h) claims and litigation
(i) personal relationships and affairs;
(j) benefits from military service;
(k) records, reports and statements;
(l) all other matters.

You may add special provisions and
limitations to your POA as you see fit, including
perhaps a gifting provision allowing your
attorney-in-fact “to make gifts to your spouse and/
or one or more of your descendants, including
gifts to your named attorney-in-fact”

In short a POA would allow you to appoint
someone you TRUST to continue to handle the
day-to-day operations of your life as set forth in
the litany of powers granted to your agent as set
forth above.

Connecticut Legal Services has a website, that addresses frequently
asked question (FAQ) about powers of attorney. It
also sets forth and explains
Connecticut Laws Relating to Power of
Attorney, here.

THE FOUR MOST IMPORTANT ELDER
LAW DOCUMENTS:
It is important to have updated documents
available to help you in your time of need:
1. Power of Attorney: You appoint someone
to help you take care of all matters for
you;
2. Health Care Instructions: Comprises:
a Living Will; Appointment of Health
Care Representative; Appointment of your
chosen Conservator; Designation of Organ
Donorship;
3. Last Will & Testament.
4. Elder Law/TITLE XIX Planning: Call
Attorney Jim Hughes @ 203-256-1977

Hughes Summer 2011 Elder Law Newsletter (Spend Down of Assets for TITLE XIX)

by James Hughes on 10/16/11

CT Elder Law Newsletter

Summer: 2011

LAW OFFICE OF JAMES M. HUGHES
1432 POST ROAD, FAIRFIELD, CT, 06824
PH: 203-256-1977
hughes_james@sbcglobal.net
care until the 60-month period passes.

HOW MUCH OF YOUR ASSETS
CAN YOU KEEP IF YOUR SPOUSE
ENTERS A NURSING HOME?

A single person must spend-down assets to
$1,600 to qualify for TITLE XIX, but if you are
married and one spouse is going into a nursing
home, Connecticut permits the at-home a/k/
a “community spouse” to protect one-half of
the total amount of the couple’s assets, up to
$109,560.

In addition, the community spouse may also
retain the following exempt assets: The family
home, appliances, jewelry; one car, burial plot/
prepaid funeral plans for two; cash value of
permanent life insurance policy up to $1,500.

SPEND-DOWN OF EXCESS ASSETS:

The couple is allowed to spend-down excess
assets on the following (to name a few):
Purchase a new (i. e. more expensive) home
and/or car-because they are exempt assets; HINT:
Time to get that new Lexus or Mercedes Benz?
Payment of outstanding debts, mortgages;
Prepayment of mortgage, property taxes, and
estimated income or capital gains taxes; paying
for home repairs and improvements (new roof,
furnace, driveway, windows) ; Paying for travel;
Purchase of prepaid funeral and burial
expenses; Purchase of furniture, household
goods and personal effects; Payment of legal and
medical bills;
N.B. The house must be deeded to the
Community Spouse ASAP, and under special
circumstances, may be able to be deeded to a child
that has lived with you for 2-years & taken care of
you or to a sibling with an equity interest;

TIMING IS EVERYYTHING!

The biggest no-no is giving away (i.e. gifting)
your assets during the 5-year lookback period
prior to applying for Medicaid. N.B. You can
make gifts, but you must wait 60 months and then
apply for Medicaid.
That 60 months is called the “lookback” period,
which is the time period during which Medicaid is
allowed to examine your assets and gifts. HINT:
If you are close to the 5th anniversary of your gift,
consider private payment of the nursing home

EXEMPT ASSETS:

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN MEDICARE &
MEDICAID?

Medicare is a government health insurance
program for individuals over the age of 65.
It’s important to know that Medicare does pay
for some nursing home care, but it is limited
to “medically necessary skilled nursing” (NOT
palliative care) and it will only cover up to 100
days.
In most situations Medicare is limited to 20
days, provided skilled care is required and a
doctor has to write a prescription for that. The
remaining 80-day component falls under a
category of care called Medicare Part A. This
is for skilled care for curative, rehabilitative
(NOT palliative) treatment. If during the 80 day
period a patient fails to thrive or refuses to do the
therapy, then that will trigger an event where the
patient will drop off of Medicare coverage and
go to private pay. The medical condition is a/k/a
long term care condition.
Medicaid is the U.S. health program for people
and families with low incomes and resources. It
is a means-tested program that is jointly funded
by the state and federal governments, and is
managed by State of Connecticut. People served
by Medicaid are U.S. citizens only, including low-
income adults, their children, and people with
certain disabilities. Medicaid is the largest source
of funding for medical and health-related services
for people with limited income in the United
States.
THE FOUR MOST IMPORTANT ELDER
LAW DOCUMENTS:
It is important to have updated documents
available to help you in your time of need:
1. Power of Attorney: You appoint someone
to help you take care of all matters for
you;
2. Health Care Instructions: Comprises:
a Living Will; Appointment of Health
Care Representative; Appointment of your
chosen Conservator; Designation of Organ
Donorship;
3. Last Will & Testament.
4. Elder Law/TITLE XIX Planning: Call

CT Elder Law Newsletter

LAW OFFICE OF JAMES M. HUGHES
Summer: 2011
1432 POST ROAD, FAIRFIELD, CT, 06824
PH: 203-256-1977
hughes_james@sbcglobal.net
Attorney Jim Hughes @ 203-256-1977

MEDICAID

by James Hughes on 10/16/11

MEDICAID-EXEMPT ASSETS Today we look at what Medicaid calls exempt assets. What assets are exempt for a couple in the event that there is a healthy spouse who lives in the community and only one of them needs MEDICAID benefits? First, and most importantly: your home. You may keep a home but the amount of equity may be limited to $500,000 under the new rules. Initially the home will be free of any Medicaid lien, just as long as it is occupied by the community spouse and/or a minor or disabled child or in some cases even a sibling with an equity interest may qualify too. In addition to the house, you can keep one décor. Let's take a look at a list of some more assets in this category. Exempt Assets: Medicaid strictly limits the assets you can own. Each state has its own limit on this amount and its own guidelines for which assets count toward the total. In general, however, the following assets do not count against you for Medicaid eligibility, and are known as "exempt assets." Your home: Your principal place of residence. In some cases, the current nursing home resident, who does NOT have a spouse living in the community home, may be required to show some "intent to return home," even if that never happens. (Be aware, though, that second homes, such as vacation homes or condos, are not exempt assets.) Household and personal belongings: Furniture, appliances, jewelry, and clothing. One car: The state may limit the car's value. Burial plot/prepaid funeral plan: The state may limit the value of the plot or plan. Cash value of permanent life insurance policies up to $1,500: In most states, this asset is exempt only if the face value of all policies added together does not exceed $1,500. (If the total exceeds $1,500 in face amount, the cash value counts and may need to be spent down on long term care.) Cash: A small checking or savings account not to exceed the limit imposed by the state. Most of the time a single Medicaid applicant may keep only about $1,500 to $2,000. A married couple who both need nursing home care may generally keep a slightly more generous amount. And a married couple in which only one person needs Medicaid assistance can usually keep a larger Community Spouse Resource Allowance.

Greetings

by James Hughes on 10/16/11

Welcome to the blog of Attorney James M. Hughes. Attorney Hughes will be using this space to share articles and newsletters of interest to himself and clients in pertinent areas of law.