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What Is an Advance Directive?


An advance directive, also called a living will, is a document that formally and officially dictates your wishes when it comes to certain medical treatments and care. Without one of these documents, your doctors are required to do everything they can to keep you alive, even if you wouldn’t want such care. Your advance directive …

How Does a Trust Protect My Assets?


If you have assets, you want to make sure they are protected after you’ve passed on. Most people believe that a will is all they need in order to make certain their assets are divided as they wish, but that’s not always the case. With a will, there’s nothing that forces a person to use …

Estate Planning IS for You


Picture this: it’s Saturday morning, you and your family are on your private jet, flying to a tropical paradise to spend a week island hopping on your yacht.  Not your reality?  That is more than okay, as it isn’t our reality either.  Nor is it the reality of the thousands of Ohio families we have …

Medical Power of Attorney


Why Is Having A Medical Power of Attorney So Important?

As you enter your senior years, one of the options you will face is whether or not to name someone as your medical power of attorney. Given the breadth of the decisions you have to make in your golden years, this one can sometimes fall through …

Is It Necessary to Have A Durable Power of Attorney?


As you age, you will eventually be faced with the choice of whether to have a durable power of attorney. This arrangement can assist you with some of the challenges of your senior years and provide peace of mind for yourself and your family. But, is it absolutely necessary to have a power of attorney? …

Protecting Your Assets from Medicaid


How Can I Protect My Assets from Medicaid?

As you reach your golden years and begin to consider the possibility of using Medicaid to pay for long term care arrangements, you will absolutely want to consider how to protect your assets. Medicaid will not come into play until you have virtually exhausted your assets. Although the …

What is a Living Will?


When it comes time to discuss estate planning options, one of the most important aspects is a living will, also commonly called an advance directive. Most people know what a will is: a legal instrument used to direct the disposition of assets after death. However, a living will is a slightly different type of document.


A …

The 64%


Worth as high as $80 million, the Queen of Soul died intestate. In short, she never got around to putting together a will or trust. Shocking, right? Not quite. According to Forbes, Aretha is joined by a whopping 64% of Americans who have no will.

Many Americans put off estate planning as something they will eventually …

Fighting for Veterans & Families


When a 93-year-old widow needs help, we listen. Millie, the widow of a World War II veteran, had been on her own since 1999, when her late husband passed away. In 2006, when Millie could no longer take care of herself, she moved into an assisted living facility near her hometown of Fostoria, Ohio. For …

Fracking and Asset Protection


As our practice has grown and we are covering most of Ohio, we have come across a unique issue in the eastern part of Ohio, Hydraulic Fracturing Drilling or simply “fracking” for shale gas deposits.  This phenomena has created a significant amount of wealth for land owners with shale deposits under their land with a …

What to Consider with the Family Farm


The family farm is a business that goes beyond providing income and support.  It transcends generations. It’s a way of life. When it comes to keeping it that way, family dynamics matter. Do any of the children help with the farm? Do they live off the farm income? Do you want to make sure the …

Gave It Away and Can’t Get It Back = Medicaid Trouble


Most Medicaid applicants quickly realize that giving away assets can get them in trouble. To receive help paying for the nursing home through Medicaid, you must disclose your financial transactions during the last five years, referred to as the “look-back period.” Ohio has a five-year look-back period. If you gave away an asset or sold …

Keeping Good Records


Have you ever wondered, “The older I get, does it really matter if I continue to keep good financial records?” Absolutely it does. We don’t know what the future holds. But for those Americans who need skilled nursing help, keeping good financial records matters — and could even impact future generations of their families.

Long-term care …

Why do I need an Elder Law Attorney when applying for Medicaid benefits?


Many people ask, “Why do I need an Elder Law attorney to help me apply for Medicaid benefits for a loved one entering a nursing home?”

The simple answer: because Elder Law attorneys focus on this specific area of the law. They understand the rules of Medicaid so they can employ the best strategies to help …

Selling the home when a spouse received Medicaid


Ohio’s laws on Medicaid estate recovery are among the most aggressive in the country. Following the death of a Medicaid beneficiary, the state must seek reimbursement for the cost of benefits paid on behalf of a beneficiary during his or her lifetime. While most states limit reimbursement only to the assets of the Medicaid beneficiary’s estate …

Should I Get Married in my Golden Years?


Typically, significant life events are driving factors for individuals to evaluate or re-evaluate their estate plans. Whether these events include getting married, having children and grandchildren, retiring or needing long-term care, lives change. And it is crucial to accommodate for these changes in your estate plan. However, what happens when you don’t have an estate …

How Estate Tax Changes Could Affect Farmers


In August 2016, the IRS proposed a new regulation under Section 2704 of the Internal Revenue Code that could greatly affect farmers. This long-awaited proposal would take away the ability for family-owned farming businesses to apply the valuation discounts they have used for so long. The change would cause a significant tax hit, discouraging further …

Planning for the Surviving Spouse


So much of estate planning and Elder Law revolves around uncertainty. Nobody knows how long they will live. Will they end up in a nursing home? Will the federal estate tax change? Will Ohio bring back the estate tax? While we may not know the answers, we all know for certain that one day we …

When is an Asset Protection Trust Right for Me?


As Elder Law Attorneys, we are often asked this question. The simple answer follows.

If you have something you don’t want to lose to the nursing home, an Asset Protection Trust is right for you. Just make sure you set it up and fund it at least five years and one day before you need long-term …

QIT 101


More and more, people are hearing they need Qualified Income Trusts — a QIT — to stay on or receive Medicaid benefits at home or in the nursing home. It’s just another in a long line of recent changes to Ohio Medicaid laws.

Unfortunately, many of these changes affect thousands of elderly Ohioans and have made …

Does your estate plan still work?


Change is inevitable. And when it occurs, your estate plan must change as well. Most of us have been told that we should go to the doctor once a year for a checkup. We know the car oil needs changed every 3,000 miles or so. However, unlike our health and our cars, few of us …

Are you Uninformed About Estate Planning?


Do you have a plan in place if you can’t make health and financial decisions for yourself? What about a plan to protect your loved ones in the event you become injured or die? If you don’t, you’re not alone. Many Americans don’t have proper estate plans in place.

It is absolutely necessary that everyone has …

How to Avoid a Common IRA Mistake


If you’re like many people, you’ve probably invested in an IRA for retirement. But one piece of advice I can give you is to always make sure one thing is in order: your beneficiary forms. Here’s why.

Many clients we encounter set up trusts to accomplish their personal goals, whether it be to avoid probate or …

Farmers and the Proposed Federal Estate Tax Changes


2016 is a great year to die. Personally I’m hoping to spend quite a few more years on this planet, but from an estate tax perspective now would not be a bad time to go. Many states, including Ohio, currently have no state estate tax. The federal government exempts the first $5.45 million of your …

Bait and Switched? Get Long-Term Planning Without Expensive Long-Term Care Insurance


Is long-term care insurance enough to protect your assets and family when faced with a nursing home crisis?

For many people, the idea of long-term care insurance is a great way to protect their estate from a devastating hit due to the rising costs of long-term care. Based on Ohio statistics, the average stay in a …

Ohio Medicaid Estate Recovery


Has anyone ever told you that they lost their inheritance because Medicaid took what was left after their parents passed away? Ever wonder how something like this can happen? It just doesn’t seem fair.

In Ohio, Medicaid Estate Recovery is a program that collects on estates of those who received long-term care support.  When Medicaid recipients …

Six Important Questions to Ask When Choosing a Nursing Home


Whether it’s you, a spouse or a parent, deciding to move to a nursing home can be a stressful situation, especially if you don’t know the right questions to ask. You may read the fancy brochures and tour the facilities, but they begin to blend together and the search can feel overwhelming. Before you make …

What is a CCRC?


CCRC stands for Continuing Care Retirement Community. A CCRC delivers a wealth of options for senior housing and services. These options include guidance and attention through the spectrum of long-term care — from independent living to skilled nursing care.

It is comforting to many people to know they can start out completely independent, with the option …

Why You Need a New Powerful Power of Attorney in 2016


Think a spouse or child can simply step in and make financial and health decisions for you in the event you are incapacitated? Not so fast. Compliance departments at financial institutions are developing increasingly stringent policies regarding with whom they share information. If you’re incapacitated, you better have a properly drafted power of attorney. Without …

Long-term care premiums going up? Find out how legal planning can help!


If you are among the 8 million Americans with long-term care insurance, you may have noticed your premiums climbing higher and higher. You’re not alone. Long-term care insurance premiums have been rapidly increasing for seniors across the country.


What options are available if you can’t afford these premiums? How can you still protect your assets? While …

Required Premium Distribution

Time to take RMDs. Time to understand taxes.


An IRA can be a beautiful thing.  You can contribute money to a retirement account and it grows tax deferred until you withdraw it.  Many folks leave their IRAs in place, still growing through retirement until they have to start withdrawing funds from these accounts.  If you have an IRA and you are approaching your …

Fiduciary vs. Suitability

Suitability vs. Fiduciary


As an attorney, I’m often interacting with other professionals in my clients’ lives. In reflecting on these interactions, I sometimes wonder if my clients’ financial professional is doing what is in their best interest.

In looking in to it, I discovered that the rule governing financial professionals for quite some time has been to recommend investments …

Long Term Care Coverage

Will Medicare pay for my long-term care?


Many Americans don’t consider the cost of future long-term care. Those that do, often grossly underestimate the actual costs. Long-term care consists mainly of custodial care or assistance with daily activities such as eating, bathing, dressing, walking, and using the restroom and management of medications. According to the Ohio Department of Aging, the average monthly …

Good News for Seniors and Caregivers

Some Good News for Seniors and their Caregivers


In 1965 Congress passed the Older Americans Act (OAA) to address concerns about a lack of community based social services for older persons.  This legislation would create an authority for grants to the States for community planning and social services, research and development projects, and personnel training in the field of aging.

Today, the …

Asset protection

My Spouse is in the Nursing Home. How much of my assets can I keep?



According to the Ohio Department of Aging, the average monthly cost for a nursing home is $6327.  This is a total of $75,924 per year.  If you’re like most people, you don’t have an extra $76,000 just laying around.  So how would you pay for care?


There are several options: 1. Out-of-Pocket, 2. Long-Term Care Insurance, …

What is the Medicaid Look back?

What is the Medicaid Look-back?


You worked and saved all of your life. You followed your parents’ advice and are in a better financial position at your age than they were when they were your age. Simply put, you are finally comfortable. You now watch as loved ones or their families begin to suffer illnesses leading to the often difficult …

What Not To Do: Common Long-term Care Mistakes

Should I do a Reverse Mortgage?


For seniors short on cash, Reverse Mortgages have become a common consideration. It seems like a great way to tap into their home equity to create cash for use in retirement years. While the benefit is obvious, disadvantages should also be considered when pursuing a Reverse Mortgage.
To give you an overview, Reverse Mortgages are similar …

Beware of Free Advice


Seniors who have questions about their financial health or concerns about long-term care costs and options have no shortage of people for advice. From the call-in radio shows, to an overworked nursing home employee, or just a neighbor trying to be helpful, there is a lot of advice out there that seniors may get that …

No Kids, No Estate Plan?

No Kids, No Plan?


Often times, estate planning is about leaving your assets to your children. But what if you don’t have children?  Tacitly assuming that an Estate Plan is unnecessary for you is a bad idea.  Many other benefits are achieved through planning.

Estate Planning can be even more crucial to a couple without children. Your spouse may be …


At Home Health Services: Medicaid Changes


Despite federal law to the contrary, some states have required that an individual seeking to receive home health services through Medicaid be homebound before they can qualify. Such requirements have previously been ruled in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  However, not all state regulations had been changed to reflect this ruling and come …

Estate Tax

Estate Taxes and its Impact on Your Plan if Hillary Wins


No matter if you turn on the TV, switch stations on the radio or even pick up the daily news, one thing is clear – we are in an election year. As of now, the front-runner of the Democratic Party is Hillary Clinton.  Setting our political opinions aside for a moment, what estate tax implications …

End of Life Care

The Future Changes in Health Care and the Effects of End of Life Care


Anyone who works in the healthcare industry knows we are in a constant influx of change that surrounds us. From billing codes, to new technology, it’s hard for even the savviest informed folks to keep up with all the transition. It’s hard enough to keep up with where our contacts in the industry work from …

End of Life Care

End of Life Planning


Many Ohioans think of estate planning as having a Simple Will that controls the distribution of their assets after they pass. However, this would overlook many of the issues and decisions that need to be made at the end of your life.  End-of-life decisions are based on your values and beliefs, and only you can …

The Costs of Long Term Care

Eldercare: It Cost How Much?!


By this stage in our life we are all well aware that nothing in life is really free. I find it amusing that during this election cycle (like none before) that some of the presidential candidates are making promises of “free stuff” if you would only vote for them. Who doesn’t like free stuff but …

Farm estate planning

Farm Succession Planning: How to Keep the Family Farm in the Family


Farmers know that something needs to be done to set up a succession plan for the family farm. But where should you begin?  Start by identifying potential threats.  What are the possible threats preventing the farm from staying in the family for generations to come?



In today’s litigious society, farmers must be aware of potential lawsuits …

What happens to credit cards after death?

How should I deal with the Credit Cards of the Deceased?


Avoid probate at all costs. A lot of us have heard it. As an attorney, I’ve certainly said it. When the first spouse passes, assets held jointly become those of the living spouse and avoid probate. Although this is a nice outcome for most, can the same be said for debt?

The short answer is, it …

Trust Planning

All in the Family


Determined to keep the fruits of your hard work in your family forever? Then dynasty trust planning might be worth exploring.

Without proper guidance and planning, estate taxes, generation-skipping taxes and gift taxes can significantly decrease the inheritance of children and grandchildren of high net worth individuals. Instead of leaving money directly to heirs, a dynasty …

Non-Traditional IRA Planning

Un-Traditional IRA Planning


Many Americans save money in a traditional IRA. If you’re one of them, you have a tax bill coming. Why? Because part of your traditional IRA dollars aresimply a loan from Uncle Sam.While you may not have thought about it, many advisorshave. Many advisorsare paid a percentage to manage that IRA money.Would they rather have …

Have you gifted assets to your children?

Have you gifted assets to your children?



If you are like the majority of my clients, you have probably given assets to your children over the past few years. This could include $1000 at Christmas, the IRS gifting exclusion of $14,000, giving them a few acres from the family farm to build a house or giving them a couple hundred dollars here …

Liability Insurance: How Much is Enough?

Liability Insurance: How Much is Enough?


When’s the last time you thought about your risk of being sued?

If you were involved in a car accident that caused serious injuries and you were at fault, you might have worried about being sued.

Or if your family dog, who normally loves nothing more than to cuddle with visitors, suddenly attacks a child in your …