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- AlerStallings

Even when you feel confident in the staff and capabilities of the nursing home you chose, it’s hard not to worry about the well-being of your loved one when you’re not there. That’s why it’s important for everyone with a family member in long-term care to know about a new law that took effect on March 23 of this year. It’s called Esther’s Law, and it permits nursing home residents and their representatives to authorize and install electronic monitoring devices in their rooms to keep an eye on their care.  


The law is named for Esther Piskor, who was tragically abused and neglected by nursing home staff in the final few years of her life. Her son, Steve, visited her often, yet staff never mentioned anything out of the ordinary about Esther’s care. He caught the abuse after placing a hidden camera in Esther’s room. Following Esther’s passing, he worked with lawmakers to create and pass the bill in his mother’s honor and empower other families to take similar measures to protect their loved ones. 


Because electronic monitoring impacts other parties—including nursing home staff and fellow residents, particularly those in a shared room—the decision to monitor has some caveats, which the law addresses. For example, the roommate of a resident who wishes to install electronic monitoring must consent to the monitoring before it can be installed. If a roommate cannot consent for themselves, consent may come from their representative. Roommates (or their representatives) also have the right to request conditions to protect their privacy. Those conditions must be honored, and the roommate can revoke their consent at any time. If a roommate does not want the electronic monitoring installed, the nursing home must move the resident requesting electronic monitoring to another room with the resident’s consent.  


As far as the facility is concerned, Esther’s Law allows for notification to be posted outside the resident’s room to inform those who enter that electronic monitoring is being conducted. A resident who uses electronic monitoring may not be retaliated against, nor may their decision be used against them in admissions or discharge. Further, facilities are prohibited from destroying, obstructing, or tampering with the monitoring system or its recordings.  


For many families, this law represents an opportunity to gain insight into the treatment of their loved ones and peace of mind. After working with Ohio families for years on nursing home protection and elder care, it’s a subject that’s close to our heart.  


If you’d like more information on Esther’s Law, contact the Ohio Department of Aging’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program at 1-800-282-1206 or 


- AlerStallings

Recently a client asked us: 


“If my house is in a trust and I sell it to buy a new one, does the five-year clock restart?” 


That is an excellent question, and one that some of you may be wondering as well. So, we thought we’d share the answer here.  


First, for those who aren’t familiar with the “five-year clock” mentioned above, it’s a reference to the five-year lookback period for Medicaid eligibility. In order to stay under the asset limit to qualify for Medicaid, some people may try to gift or transfer their assets to others. Such financial activity in the five years prior to the application date could disqualify an applicant. That’s why when we talk about putting assets in an irrevocable trust—particularly an asset protection trust—we encourage clients to do so at least five years prior to when they could need long-term care.  


Now, back to the question. The client wants to know if they’ll have to wait another five years for the new house to be protected by the trust. The short answer is no. Here are the details. 


Let’s start with the business of selling the home in trust. For the sake of this question, let’s assume the house is sold for a profit, or at least breaks even. The trustee would see to it that the money from the sale is deposited into a bank account owned by the trust. That account would then be used to purchase the new property for the beneficiary. This would not cause the lookback period to reset. 


That’s the answer in a nutshell. Since your circumstances may vary, it’s always wise to consult with an estate planning attorney to ensure the transactions would not put your assets in jeopardy. Here at AlerStallings, we know questions like these come up often, and it’s important to have a trusted resource who can provide timely, accessible guidance. For this reason, our attorneys offer lifetime support for the plans we create and no-fee phone calls, so life’s most important questions never go unanswered. 


Got a question we can help with? Here’s how to get in touch.