Law Office of Richard Mazzio LLC.

                                                     ESTATE PLANNING AND ELDER LAW



IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING MOVING TO AN ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY, DO THESE THINGS FIRST.


Moving to an assisted living facility is a big step in your life. So what factors should you consider before making the move.  I have helped many clients evaluate this decision and listed below are some of the most important things you should do.

 

1.     Decide what are the most important things in you and your love one’s life. What gives you purpose?  Do you like activities? Is your church important in your life? Where are your doctors located? Do you enjoy the company of other people or are you more of a loner?  These questions and more need to be considered.

2.     What are your current and future needs?  Do you have a progressive illness? Do you need to see your doctor on a weekly basis?  Are there different levels of care offered in the facility?  Is the entire facility wheel chair accessible?  Many people move into a facility not realizing that their health can deteriorate quickly.  The last thing you want to do is have to move to a different facility because your current one cannot meet your new medical needs.

3.     Is your facility financially stable?  While many facilities are full others have had a hard time attracting clients.  If you have paid a lump sum to enter your facility and the facility closes or declares bankruptcy what recourse do you have?

4.     Ask friends, Elder Law Attorneys and geriatric social workers for referrals.  No one knows the facility better than someone who has lived there.  If you have friends or family living in a facility, ask their opinion.  In addition, Elder Law Attorneys and geriatric social workers visit these facilities often they are an invaluable resource.

5.     Is there a waiting list? Don’t assume that there is space available.  Ask the facility management if there is a wait and how long it typically takes to be admitted.

6.     Visit the facility a few times.  This is the most important thing that you can do.  Go at different times of day.  Make both scheduled and unscheduled visits.  Show up at meal time and ask facility management if you can eat with the residents.  Observe what the staffing levels are at different times of day.


7.     Talk to current residents.  During your visits ask the residents different questions.  Do you enjoy the food?  What do you like/dislike about the staff?  Do you feel you are well cared for? Have there been any thefts?  Is management accessible?  Ask if there is a Resident Council.  If there is, ask to attend one of their meetings.

8.     Ask to see the most recent state inspection report.  Most states inspect the facilities at least annually.  Ask for a copy of the report and read it.

9.     Get a copy of the contract and show it to an Elder Law Attorney before you sign it.  Are there additional costs and fees if your health situation changes?  What happens if you are unhappy at the facility and want to move?  An experienced Elder Law Attorney can make sure you understand the contract and negotiate changes on your behalf.

 

September 10th, 2018


LONG TERM CARE STATISTICS EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW.


My law office in Basking Ridge, NJ specializes in Estate Planning and Elder Law. One of the most popular topics we cover with clients is long term care and how to pay for it. Listed below are some statistics on long term care that most clients are suprised to learn about.

70% of people 65 or older will require some long term care within the next few years.


Americans age 55 and older have on average $101,000 in savings.

Since the average cost of in home health care is just under $50,000 annually, most Americans are not prepared for this expense.


Long Term Care is not just for the elderly. 41% of long term care users are under the age of 65.


Medicare does not pay for long term care. Medicaid does but you must meet strict asset and income guidelines.


Most private health insurance does not cover long term care.


Relying on family members to take care of you is not always an option. Family members who provide full time care are susceptible to financial, physical and emotional problems.


Long term care does not mean you must go to a nursing home. There are many programs that allow you to remain in your home.


It is never to late to plan. Life expectancy in America is just slightly less than 80 years old. We have done effective planning for people in their mid eighties.

The most important thing you can do for yourself and your family is to plan for long term care long before you will need it. Call my law office at 908 251-0048 and make an appointment. We will discuss your situation and develop an effective strategy to make sure your needs are taken care of.








August 30th, 2018 

A Great Deal of Confusion between Medicare and Medicaid

 

When talking to prospective clients about long term care they will often tell me they have it covered because they have Medicare.  I find this to be a fundamental misunderstanding.  Medicare is a federally funded, state administered health insurance program for individuals over sixty-five or disabled.  But Medicare does not cover the cost of long term care.

In general, traditional Medicare will pay for a skilled nursing facility for a while.  Here is how Medicare works.  If you have had a hospital stay of 3 days or longer and then are moved to a skilled nursing home facility Medicare will pay for the first 20 days.  For days 21 through 100 Medicare will pay a portion of your bill, but you will have a deductible of $167.50 per day.  To qualify for this benefit, you must be receiving “skilled care” and your condition must continue to improve.  After the 100 days you are left paying the bills with your own assets or with long term care insurance. 

Alzheimers is one of the most common medical conditions that causes long term care stays.  Alzheimers has no known cure therefore a patient never truly improves and because of that Medicare is not an option to pay for nursing home care.  The only government program that will pay for extended nursing home care is Medicaid.  Medicaid is a federally funded state administered program that will help pay the cost of long term care.  Medicaid is a need  based program that has stringent income and asset requirements to qualify.  Every day at my Elder Law Practice in Basking Ridge, NJ I help individuals and families develop and implement Medicaid planning strategies.  If you believe you or a loved one will need long term care the time to act is well before a crisis occurs.  Medicaid has very definite time parameters which must be followed.  Please call my Basking Ridge office at 908 251-0048 to set up an appointment to discuss your long term planning needs.




August 21st, 2018


Genworth-The Long Term Care insurance provider has released its annual Cost of Care Survey. The survey states that the cost of a private room in a nursing home is $97,452, which is an increase of 5.5% from last year. The largest increase in long term care costs was for a home health care aide, which increased 6% to $49,162 per year for a 44 hour work week. This is not surprising due to the fact that their is a national shortage of home health care aides.

Here is the Summary of Genworth's long term care costs:

Adult Day Care (5 day week) $18,200
Assisted living (1 bedroom) $45,000
Homemaker Services (44 hour week) $47,934
In Home Health Aide (44 hour week) $49,192
Nursing Home (semi private room) $85,775
Nursing Home (private room) $97,452Genworth-The Long Term Care insurance provider has released its annual Cost of Care Survey. The survey states that the cost of a private room in a nursing home is $97,452, which is an increase of 5.5% from last year. The largest increase in long term care costs was for a home health care aide, which increased 6% to $49,162 per year for a 44 hour work week. This is not surprising due to the fact that their is a national shortage of home health care aides.

Here is the Summary of Genworth's long term care costs:

Adult Day Care (5 day week) $18,200
Assisted living (1 bedroom) $45,000
Homemaker Services (44 hour week) $47,934
In Home Health Aide (44 hour week) $49,192
Nursing Home (semi private room) $85,775
Nursing Home (private room) $97,452


A 2016 study by the Department of Health and Human Services stated that 47% Americans turning 65 today will require long term care services during their lifetime. About 12 % will need between two and five years of long term care. About 13% will require over five years of long term care services.

As you can see from above long term care is quite expensive and most families have not planned for this type of expense. Like everything else in life planning is the key. There are many county, state and federal programs that can help families defray some of the cost of long term care. At the Law Firm of Richard Mazzio LLC. we work with families every day to develop an execute plans that help their loved ones receive the care that they need. Please call our office at 908 251 0048 to see how we can help you with your long term care planning needs.


July 30, 2018

Last week the Wall Street Journal published a very interesting article regarding caregivers for the elderly. Some of the key points of the article were:

---smaller and more geographically dispersed families means fewer unpaid helpers for aging family members.

---Hiring private sector caregivers is not an option for many older adults. Demand for caregivers far exceeds supply. The average full-time Home Health Aide cost $49,000 per year.


---In the next ten years the United States will be short some three million private Home Health Aides.

A private room in a nursing home today can cost close to $100,000 a year.

Adult children of the elderly are more geographically dispersed than ever before, making it harder for them to provide daily care for their aging parents.


So what can de done? The most important thing that can be done now while the older person still has mental capacity is to do some Medicaid planning. Unlike Medicare, Medicaid will pay for most nursing home costs, but pre-planning must be done. Here at the Law Office of Richard Mazzio LLC. we have worked with many families to insure that their loved ones received proper care as they aged. Call our office today at 908 251-0048 and set up an appointment. Let us show you how proper planning can save your family from a great deal of stress and financial uncertainty.








February 19, 2018

The last poll that I read reports that only 44% of American adults have a will.  This is a very unsettling statistic.  Regardless of your financial or marital status every adult should have a will.  If you still need convincing, here are my top ten reasons to have a will.


Top Ten Reasons to Have a Will.

1.     You decide how your estate will be distributed.  If you die without a will the State of New Jersey will determine how your estate is distributed.  Your wishes will not be carried out.

2.     You get to decide who will take care of your minor children.  Absent a will the courts will decide who will raise your children

3.     To avoid a lengthy probate process.  All estates go through probate with or without a will.  Having a will speeds up the probate process.

4.     Minimize estate taxes.  During the planning of your will, steps can be taken to reduce the tax your estate will incur.

5.     You decide who will handle your affairs after death. You can choose an Executor who you trust to make sure your wishes are carried out.

6.     You can disinherit individuals.  Without a will the State of New Jersey decides who receives your property.

7.     You can designate specific items to be given to specific individuals.  If you have a person you want to inherit your paintings or other items. The will is the place to make sure your wish is carried out.

8.     Avoid legal challenges after your death.  Dying with a properly executed will can prevent legal challenges from unhappy family members.

9.     Because you can change your mind if circumstances change.  A will can be changed any time before death.

10. Because tomorrow is not promised.      

The Law Office of Richard Mazzio LLC. is an Elder Law and Estate Planning Practice located in Basking Ridge, NJ.  The above information is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the formation of an attorney-client relationship.  If you would like more information regarding creating a will please call my office at 908 251-0048.

 











January 23, 2018


There is a very important article today in the Wall Street Journal titled: How Immigration Could Affect Grandma's Care.  The author  is Gerald Seib.  Here is the link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-a-heated-immigration-debate-might-affect-grandmas-care

Some of the highlights from the article are:

---10,000 baby boomers a day reach the age of 65

---by 2050, a fifth of the U.S . population will be 65 or older

---the number of people aged 85 or older will make up 4% of the U.S. population by 2050

---the Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 52% of Americans turning 65 today will require long term care.


The article than discusses how a change in U.S. immigration policy may shrink the available pool of care givers and thereby raise the cost of long term care.  Regardless of what side of the immigration debate you are on we all need to plan for our later years and how we are going to care for ourselves and our loved ones.  My practice focuses on this issue and how you can take control of your long term planning needs.  Please call my Basking Ridge office at 908 251-0048  to see if I can help you with your Estate Planning and Elder Law needs.


The Law Office of Richard Mazzio LLC. is an Elder Law and Estate Planning practice located in Basking Ridge, NJ.  The above information is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the formation of an attorney-client relationship. 


 



January 22, 2018


NEWS FOR VETERANS:

​If you are a veteran living in New Jersey, first Thank You for your service to our country.  Second please make sure you take advantage of a new tax program that is in place to offer you an income tax reduction.  The requirements of the program are as follows:

​You are eligible for a $3,000 exemption on your Income Tax return if you are a military veteran who was honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States on or any time before the last day of the tax year. Your spouse (or civil union partner) is also eligible for an exemption if he/she is a veteran who was honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances and you are filing a joint return. This exemption is in addition to any other exemptions you are entitled to claim and is available on both the resident and nonresident returns. You cannot claim this exemption for a domestic partner or for your dependents

Additional information on the program can be found at: http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/military/vetexemption.shtml

​If you have any questions regarding the program or would like additional information regarding estate planning or elder law services please contact our law firm at 908 251-0048.


The Law Office of Richard Mazzio LLC. is an Elder Law and Estate Planning Practice located in Basking Ridge, NJ.  The above information is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the formation of an attorney-client relationship.    ​