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- AlerStallings

As many as 70 percent of people age 65 and older will need some form of a long-term care at some point in their lives.  With the costs of long-term care constantly increasing, it is important to understand some of the major differences between Assisted Living Waiver Medicaid and Nursing Home Medicaid.  This table highlights some of those important differences:



Assisted Living Waiver

Nursing Home Medicaid

Start Date of Coverage Approval Date Application Date
Medicaid Beds Limited (0-3) Unlimited
Area Agency on Aging Approval Required Not Required


These are just a few of the major differences between Nursing Home Medicaid and Assisted Living Medicaid. It is also crucial to ask right questions like how many Medicaid beds the assisted living facility has available? If none are available, how long is the wait list? Or how long must a patient privately pay before being allowed to apply for Medicaid? By having all the necessary information and consulting an Elder Law attorney, you can avoid the unpleasant surprises that arise by choosing the wrong long-term care facility for a loved one.


- AlerStallings

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 the next twelve years Millie’s bank accounts were nearly exhausted due to the rising costs of assisted living and nursing home facilities. As of January 2018, Millie was paying nearly $7,000 per month in facility costs alone.


We first became involved around January 2016, when we assisted Millie and her family with their application for Veteran’s benefits to help pay for some of Millie’s long-term care costs. Because of her late husband’s wartime service, Millie should be entitled to over $1,100 per month to help pay for her long-term care costs. Unfortunately, a combination of inexplicable delays and bureaucratic red tape have conspired to prevent Millie from receiving the VA benefit that she rightfully deserves (nearly $29,000 in backdated benefits, as of January 2018). Worst of all, if Millie passes away before her application is approved she will receive nothing from the VA, and her family could be asked to cover the mounting nursing home bill that was supposed to be covered by still-pending VA pension.


Around a year after applying—and numerous failed attempts to get a clear answer out of the VA—Attorney Bryan Montana and Benefits Advocate Jana Simons decided that more drastic measures were required. Montana and Simons reached out to Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown’s office to tell Millie’s story. While Senator Brown’s office expressed sympathy for Millie’s circumstances, they were unable or unwilling to help. Montana and Simons made repeated attempts throughout 2017 to resolve the issue through the VA, however, like a bad dream, the same problems continued to reoccur: the case file could not be found, or the case was showing as “closed” in their system. Frustrated with the lack of progress, in December 2017 Montana and Simons decided to reach out to Millie’s local congressman, Jim Jordan (Ohio’s 4th Congressional District), as well as multiple newspapers and media outlets near Millie’s hometown. As of the date of publication of this story, they are still awaiting justice for their client.


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- AlerStallings

If you have children or stepchildren, estate planning is important to ensuring your family’s future.


You might associate estate planning with retirement, or with making end-of-life decisions that provide for your family members. It’s just as important to make a plan that provides for your family members if you’re just beginning to build your family, or if you’re planning to blend your family. Whenever your family begins to grow, it’s time to consider building or updating your estate plan.


Generally, estate planning involves preparing a series of legal documents that can ensure your wishes are fulfilled with regard to important decisions involving healthcare, finances, property, and more. Your first step is taking care of your personal planning needs: that means executing healthcare and financial powers of attorney to your spouse, or another trusted family member, who can make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. These documents enable that trusted person to make decisions for you and your assets that ultimately can benefit your children and your family.


If you have children or are planning to grow your family, choosing a guardian is very important. Choosing a guardian for your children and documenting that directive in your power of attorney and will means that the probate court will include your input when making decisions about the future of any minors in your family. In the event of your death or incapacitation, the court will also look for a trust or will document that allows a trustee or guardian to make decisions on behalf of minors. Because minors cannot own property, setting up a trust and appointing a trustee can ensure that your family has continued access to healthcare, education, and other support through asset distribution by the trustee.


For blended families, the act of appointing a guardian or trustee is even more important. Typically, if you pass away, your child’s other parent will be awarded full custody. Your blended family has its own unique circumstances, so it’s important that your wishes be accurately reflected in your estate planning. You should also consider whether you want a former spouse or partner to be involved, and whether your present spouse or partner is the best person to make decisions for your children.


If you’re growing your family or blending your family, estate planning is an important part of planning for your new future and the future of your children. Call today for expert guidance on family trusts, wills, guardianship, and more.


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- AlerStallings

Retirement! You’ve worked your entire life for this moment. The question is, have you secured your assets sufficiently to protect and fund your retirement for many years to come? 3 key steps to retirement planning, along with some expert help and support will ensure your retirement is ready for the long haul.


Step 1: Update Your Will


When was the last time you looked at your will? Chances are, it was at or around the time your children were born or you purchased a home. Your financial resources have likely changed significantly since then, and so too must your will.


While a will on its own may not be the best way to protect your assets in retirement, it certainly should reflect your current financial situation and priorities. If your life has undergone major changes since your will was last prepared, it’s time to take a look!


Step 2: Protect Your Assets


Asset protection planning encompasses a host of financial strategies to protect and maximize everything you have worked tirelessly for your entire life. From your home to retirement and savings accounts – protecting your assets from taxes, long term care costs and probate is essential.


We all know life can change in an instant, and preparedness is the key to embracing those changes head on. Protect your assets in the event of a major life change, and to secure a long and stress-free retirement. 


Step 3: Tax Plan for Your IRA


Until this time in your life, your IRA has been a point of collection and savings towards your retirement. Now that you are closing in on the work finish line, do you know if your IRA plan is protected from excess taxes and long-term care costs? Probably not!


Many retirees begin taking their minimum distribution at the age if 72 years, but is this plan in your long-term best interest? Suitable IRA tax planning and asset protection planning will ensure sunny days ahead rather than unpredictable financial storms.


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- AlerStallings

Who Is Eligible for Medicaid in OH


If you live in Ohio and you are struggling to pay for medical care in your senior years, you might want to consider whether Medicaid could help you. Medicaid is available to help pay for certain types of care, subject to income limitations, which can be particularly helpful to the elderly. Here is a brief explanation of the eligibility requirements in Ohio. By understanding the qualification requirements, you will be better positioned to determine whether to seek Medicaid assistance.


Qualification for Services


Before considering whether your income level qualifies you for Medicaid, you might want to be sure that the service for which you are seeking assistance qualifies. Generally speaking, Medicaid will be available to help pay for necessary medical care.


In order to qualify for coverage as a senior, there must be both an income guideline met, in addition to having a need for medical care. Necessary medical care includes dental care, assistance with emergency room visits, hospital visits, inpatient or outpatient procedures, preventive health services, long term nursing care and more.


It is also possible to have Medicaid pay for you to receive nursing home levels of care, while you remain living at your home. This is known as PassPort, and is a Medicaid waiver program. However, in order to qualify for PassPort, the following must be met: you must have someone willing to care for you while you reside at your residence, you must meet the income requirements noted below and the cost of your PassPort care must be less than it would cost if you were to be in a nursing home.


Income Requirements


Medicaid is intended to assist those people who may be at a financial disadvantage. To get Medicaid in Ohio, you must be a resident of the state and you must make less than the threshold income level. You must also not have given anything away within the last 5 years . This 5 year “look-back period”, exists because Medicaid wants you to use your money/assets to pay for the care you need and will penalize you for all gifts made during this “look-back period”.


The income cutoff changes every year and depends on the size of your family. For example, in 2020, a person making less than $18,324 per year would be eligible for Medicaid. These figures are before taxes and other expenses are deducted from your check.


If you are not sure whether you qualify for Medicaid, check the Ohio Department of Medicaid web page. It will help you determine whether your income qualifies you, and can provide other valuable information as well.


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- AlerStallings

How is an Estate Planning Attorney Different Than a Financial Planner?


As you approach the later stages of your life, it is important that you take steps to help preserve your assets. Far too many people put this crucial activity off, and then ultimately find that they have little (or no) assets left to pass on to their heirs.

An important distinction you will need to understand is the difference between a financial planner and an estate planning attorney. While a financial planner can be an important part of your overall asset preservation strategy, you simply cannot adequately protect your finances without a good estate planning attorney.



Estate Planners Look at the Big Picture


A financial planner can help you diversify financial assets so as to mitigate certain risks; on the other hand, an estate planner can help you prepare for the future unknown. Whether you are concerned about burning through your assets in the event of an unforeseen illness or designating someone to act on your behalf in the event of your incapacity, an estate planning attorney can help.



Estate Planning: A Plan to Prepare for the Unknown


In estate planning, the goal is to help you prepare for all of those things you simply cannot predict.

Although it is a certainty that we will all eventually pass on, the path between here and there is full of unpredictable circumstances. There are countless ways that you could end up losing the wealth you have worked so hard to amass, before you can pass it on to your heirs.

Estate planning lets you take the uncertainty out of life at any stage. If you are a parent with a minor child, it lets you exercise control over who would care for your child in the event of your death. It lets you choose someone you trust to make tough decisions if you are unable to. And it helps preserve your assets in the event of a costly illness or injury.

If you need help with estate planning, contact us today. We are here to make the process easy, fast, and convenient for you.


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- AlerStallings


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 Living Will is Created to Direct End of Life Decisions


A key difference between a regular will and a living will is that the former is created to direct the disposition of assets while the latter is created to direct the administration of end of life decisions. When a living will is drafted, the goal is to address whether to maintain or cease providing life supporting medical treatment.


While a living will can be drafted at any point during someone’s life, it is most frequently drafted with an eye towards end-of-life care when a person enters the retirement years.


Naming a Healthcare Power of Attorney


If you are assisting an elderly loved one in putting together his or her living will, or putting your own living will together, one thing you will need to give some consideration is making sure they also have a healthcare power of attorney document.  This document will name someone who can act on the behalf of the person who is incapacitated during their lifetime to make facility and treatment decisions.


This agent will be tasked with communicating with doctors and other healthcare professionals in order to ensure that the incapacitated person’s wishes are honored. Given the enormity of this responsibility, you should ensure that your elderly loved one chooses someone he or she trusts.


A well-crafted living will and healthcare power of attorney are an indispensable part of the documents your elderly loved one should have. It reduces uncertainty and helps give him or her peace of mind.


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