Elder Law - Ask The Expert

Elder Law Expert

Ben A. Neiburger Ben A. Neiburger Elder Law Attorney www.elderlawillinois.com Ben Neiburger, JD, CPA, is a recognized and respected attorney in the areas of Elder Law, Estate Planning and Medicaid Planning, which includes expertise in Special Needs Trusts and Tax Planning. Recently named a 2007 “Super Lawyer” in Elder Law by Law & Politics and the publishers of Chicago magazine, Ben is in continuous pursuit of knowledge and insight to the laws and finances that affect our families and senior citizens. Do-it-yourself Last Will and Testament

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Recent Questions Answered

The bank will not let me use mom’s money to pay mom’s bills, what shall I do?

Many people who call our office express frustration that, even though they are trying to take care of their parents’ affairs, banks, IRA custodians and other financial professionals are not very helpf...Continue

The doctor will not listen to me, and/or my brothers and sisters when we direct mom’s health care, what shall I do?

The document that gives someone else the ability to direct another’s health care is called a power of attorney for health care. When a person signs a power of attorney for health care, that person (as...Continue

Mom has to go into a nursing home and Dad is very worried about finances. What can we do?

Nursing homes can be very costly. Although most nursing homes provide a very high quality of care, that care is incredibly expensive and the cost of care can deplete a normal sized estate quickly. One...Continue

My mother wants to give out her inheritance right now. Can she just write checks to all of her children?

One of the requirements for Medicaid eligibility is that the person who applies for Medicaid cannot have given away assets in an effort to qualify for Medicaid benefits sooner than they would have if ...Continue

Mom fell down and is in the hospital. The hospital wants to discharge mom to a nursing home. What do I do?

First, take a deep breath. Your mother’s health probably got to the point where she no longer needs acute care in the hospital. The next step in the process is for her to go to a nursing home, or reha...Continue

My grandmother recently passed away. We know she had written a will, but we cannot find it. What are our options?

Under the laws of many states, unless you can find the original will, the courts will presume that the person who signed the will revoked it. Hence, most states will treat your grandmother's estat...Continue

Is a spouse responsible for medical bills, now that the sick spouse has passed on?

Under the laws of many states, a surviving spouse is responsible to pay for any "family expenses" of the couple or any expenses for the deceased spouse that the surviving spouse agreed to in w...Continue

My parents are in the their 80's and are in declining health. They live in a small town with few "professional" resources. They want to pay my brother to care for them, and money is not an issue. What is the legal way to do this, considering tax benefits/legality for all of them?

Your parents can certainly pay your brother to provide care for them.  However, it is very likely that your brother will be considered their employee for purposes of income and employment tax...Continue

My mother's caregiver is isolating her from the rest of the family--which I believe is a form of elder abuse. What can be done?

You have a very difficult situation which has no good answers.Your brother has been caring for your mother and you suspect is that he may be exerting a type of "undue influence" on your her. This can ...Continue

My mother lives at a nursing home. What can I do to get a housing opportunity to bring my mom back home and be her primary caregiver?

If you can care for your mother unaided and you are her agent under a power of attorney (or if your mother is mentally competent and consents to it), you can move her home and be her primary caregiver...Continue

A credit card company has turned my mother's account over to a collection agency and a lawyer. She has no assets. What are my options?

I would tell the collection company and the lawyer to go ahead and try to sue your insolvent mother. If she has no money, there is no way that they can hurt her. In addition, many states have laws...Continue

If my father lives with me and I provide full care, can I charge him the average cost of a nursing home in my area? If I end up putting dad into a nursing home at some point, would the money that I collected be exempt from medicaid?

The answers to your question depend on state law. Accordingly, the information I am going to give you may not apply to you. This means you should see an elder law attorney before any money changes...Continue

How can my husband to assume the decision-making responsibility for his father's medical and financial needs?

Your father-in-law has Alzheimer's and his wife, who is in failing health, cannot take care of him. However, she continues to dismiss any in-home help you hire.You have a very difficult situation. The...Continue

I suspect my elderly mother's son of financial abuse. He has "borrowed" thousands of dollars without repaying. How can we recover some of her money?

The answer to your question depends on your local state law. What you might do is report this person to your local elder abuse agency. If they find evidence of financial abuse, they may go after the ...Continue

Can a nursing home apply for a resident's Social Security without resident or power of attorney approval?

You ask if your mother's nursing home can apply to Social Security to have her payments sent directly to them because the state is behind in making its Medicaid payments to them. No. they can't. It...Continue

How do I go about getting a durable power of attorney for my father?

There is a form that you fill out. If your father is still mentally competent you can have him sign the form with witnesses. Your state may have a power of attorney form that is downloadable also. How...Continue

My wife's mother lives with us in our home and pays a portion of the household bills. This year, she also paid half of the real estate taxes on the home. Will any of these payments affect her Medicaid eligibility?

Keep in mind that in many states, and transfer of money or services between family members is deemed to be a gift for medicaid purposes unless there is an provable oral agreement or a written agreemen...Continue

My grandmother is no longer able to care for my grandfather but he is unwilling to move into an Assisted Living facility. What are our options?

You need to get additional professional help to guide you and your grandparents through this difficult time. You may want to contact your local county senior services office to see if a social wor...Continue

My father has dementia and Alzheimer's and is in a nursing home. Mother is still mentally competent but lacks understanding and skill to handle finances and other decisions needed to take care of herself and dad. What do we need to do in order to handle their finances and assets?

To execute a power of attorney, the principal (that is, your grandfather) must be mentally competent and be able to understand the contents of the power of attorney. It sounds like your grandfathe...Continue

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