A power of attorney is an important estate planning document and can be an essential tool in ensuring that an individual’s wishes are carried out should he or she become mentally or physically incapacitated. A power of attorney is a standardized legal document that allows an individual, known as the principal, to designate a representative, known as the agent, to make financial decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated or unable to act on their own behalf. A power of attorney specifies how much power an agent will have and can be created with limited powers, broad powers and can become effective upon the occurring of an event. Many individuals assume that regardless of whether it is limited or broad that the document will contain the same language and provisions. However, more often than not, this presumption is incorrect and may lead to issues in the future.
Last year, the foreclosure rate in New York State surged and today thousands of residents are at risk of losing their homes. It was recently announced that state-funded resources that provide foreclosure assistance will not receive funding as of October 2017 and will stop accepting clients as of this spring. Currently, there are no plans to replace the funds allocated to foreclosure assistance. Some warn that the lack of foreclosure resources for New York residents can have devastating effects, leading to homelessness and homeowners falling victim to scams.
Many individuals have worked for different companies throughout the years and may have had a 401(k) plan worth a small amount of money when they left. Some people lose track of these accounts over the years or find that their plan was transferred to another administrator. Sometimes, in such a case, the administrator may not be able to locate the plan. Unfortunately, there is no central repository for missing 401(k) funds to date.
As individuals begin to age, long-term care services and how to finance them become major concerns. Many turn to Medicaid to pay for their long-term care needs. Medicaid is a joint Federal and State funded program that provides medical insurance and long-term care payments on behalf of middle- to low-income individuals, including those who are elderly and disabled. However, since Medicaid eligibility is determined by the combined value of income and assets, gifting money and joint accounts may impede a person’s ability to secure Medicaid benefits.
Before a senior gets admitted to a nursing home, he or she will need to sign a contract or other admission’s agreement. A contract is a legally binding document that defines the conditions under which the senior is admitted. It is important for seniors and caregivers alike to review and understand the contract in its entirety to ensure optimal care, protection and provisions. Some of the most important terms of a nursing home contract define the circumstances under which a resident can be admitted, transferred or discharged and how they will pay for the services provided.
When secured creditors place an “all asset” agreement in their financing statement, they should be aware that less may be more. When First Niagara Bank supplemented the typical “all assets” language in its security agreement with a property description, the bank opened the door for some complex litigation.
There are many reasons why elderly persons wind up in nursing homes, including voluntary admittance to obtain assistance with rehabilitation after a hospital stay or problematic behaviors associated with various mental conditions such as dementia. In order to afford nursing home costs, many of these adults rely on Medicaid and Medicare. A nursing home may choose to discharge a person for various reasons, including their coverage is running out or they feel the patient is ready for release. However, if a resident is being discharged, the discharge can be challenged.
As of 2015, new rules under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) went into effect. These rules regulate third-party debt collector communication and disclosure requirements. The aim of these reforms is to prevent predatory practices that deceive consumers for financial gain.
Recently, the New York State Office of the Attorney General announced that a New York nursing home chain, Elant, settled with its office for $600,000 stemming from claims that they benefited financially by prolonging residents’ stays longer than necessary. The nursing home chain admitted that several patients who were meant to be short term were transferred to one of their locations in financial peril. The transfer was against the wishes and consent of the residents and their families, and was meant to generate income for the location and assist in remedying the financial condition. Attorney General Schneiderman remarked that his office is dedicated to combating such practices and will “find those who use patients to siphon off critical taxpayer funds.”
Recently, five former health care workers at a nursing home facility were convicted of several crimes in connection with the death of a 72 year old rehabilitation patient. A respiratory therapist and three nurses were sentenced to various jail terms and probation for the attempted cover–up of the circumstances surrounding the patient’s death. In addition, another respiratory therapist entrusted with the patient’s care was convicted of criminally negligent homicide.