Home Care Costs Rise Sharply in Annual Long-Term Care Cost Survey

When it comes to long-term care costs, the charges for home care are now rising faster than those for nursing home care, according to Genworth’s 2019 Cost of Care survey.

Five Tips for Starting Retirement Planning in Your 50s

If you are nearing your 50s without a post-retirement plan, this is an opportunity to plan judiciously and start saving for your retirement. Here are five strategic steps for achieving this.

What Is a Supplemental Needs Trust?

Americans are living longer than they did in years past, including those with disabilities. Planning by parents can …

What to Do If You Are Appointed Guardian of an Older Adult

Being appointed guardian of a loved one is a serious responsibility. As guardian, you are in charge of your loved one’s well-being and you have a duty to act in his or her best interest.  

Most Are Taking Social Security at the Wrong Time

A new report finds that almost no retirees are making financially optimal decisions about when to take Social Security and are losing out on an average of more than $100,000 per household in the process.

If You Haven’t Been Regularly Reviewing Your Estate Plan, Start When You Hit 60

If you are over age 60 and you haven’t changed your estate plan in many decades, it’s almost certain that you need to update your documents and start reviewing them every five years.

What Makes a Will Valid?

Movies, television, and books like to present wills in dramatic ways–handwritten notes, videos, deathbed utterances–but what actually makes a will valid? The law varies depending on what state you live in, but there are some basic rules. 

Will My Advance Directive Work in Another State?

If you move to a different state or split your time between one or more states, you should make sure your advance directive is valid in all the states you frequent.

New Rule May Make It Harder for Medicare Beneficiaries to Receive Home Care

It may become harder for Medicare beneficiaries to find home health care due to a new rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Although the rule changes the way home health care providers are reimbursed, it could affect patient care as well. 

Tips on Creating an Estate Plan that Benefits a Child with Special Needs

Parents want their children to be taken care of after they die. But children with disabilities have increased financial and care needs, so ensuring their long-term welfare can be tricky.

Should You Sell Your Life Insurance Policy?

Older Americans with a life insurance policy that they no longer need have the option to sell the policy to investors. These transactions, called “life settlements,” can bring in needed cash, but are they a good idea? 

What Is the Difference Between a Living Will and a Do-Not-Resuscitate Order?

When creating advance directives in order to plan for the possibility that you may one day be unable to make your own medical decisions, there can be confusion about the difference between a living will and a “do-not-resuscitate” order.

A Final Retirement Account Distribution Must Still Be Made After Death

Federal law requires that after you reach age 70 1/2, you must begin withdrawing a minimum amount
from your retirement accounts. But what if you die after age 70 1/2 and before all the account funds have been distributed?

Medicare Beneficiaries Need to Know the Difference Between a Wellness Visit and a Physical

Medicare covers preventative care services, including an annual wellness visit. But confusing a wellness visit with a physical could be very costly. 

Maximizing Social Security Survivor's Benefits

Social Security survivor’s benefits provide a safety net to widows and widowers. But to get the most out of the benefit, you need to know the right time to claim. 

A Tax Break to Help Working Caregivers Pay for Day Care

Paying for day care is one of the biggest expenses faced by working adults with young children, a dependent parent, or a child with a disability, but there is a tax credit available to help working caregivers defray the costs of day care.

Getting Paid as a Family Caregiver Through Medicaid

Caring for an ailing family member is difficult work, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be unpaid work. There are programs available that allow Medicaid recipients to hire family members as caregivers. 

Report Ranks States on Nursing Home Quality and Shows Families’ Conflicted Views

A new report that combines nursing home quality data with a survey of family members ranks the best and worst states for care and paints a picture of how Americans view nursing homes.

Medicaid Home Care

Traditionally, Medicaid has paid for long-term care in a nursing home, but because most individuals would rather be cared for at home and home care is cheaper, all 50 states now have Medicaid programs that offer at least some home care. 

Guns and Dementia: Dealing With A Loved One’s Firearms

Having a loved one with dementia can be scary, but if you add in a firearm, it can also get dangerous.  To prevent harm to both the individual with dementia and others, it is important to plan ahead for how to deal with any weapons. Research shows that 45 percent of all adults aged 65 […]

Costs of New Long-Term Care Insurance Policies Vary Considerably

We’ve all heard the advice “It pays to shop around,” but this has never been more true than with the current market for long-term care insurance. 

Window Closing for Couples to Use ‘Claim Now, Claim More Later’ Social Security Strategy

This is the last year that spouses who are turning full retirement age can choose whether to take spousal benefits or to take benefits on their own record. The strategy, used by some couples to maximize their benefits, will not be available to people turning full retirement age after 2019. 

Have Private Insurance and Are Turning 65? You Need Sign Up for Medicare Part B

If you are paying for your own insurance, you may think you do not need to sign up for Medicare when you turn 65. However, not signing up for Medicare Part B right away can cost you down the road. 

Understanding Medicare’s Hospice Benefit

Medicare's hospice benefit is one of the most comprehensive benefits and can be extremely helpful to both the terminally ill individual and his or her family, but it is little understood and underutilized. 

The Best and Worst States for Protection Against Elder Abuse

The older the population gets, the greater the potential for elder abuse. States have laws in place designed to combat elder abuse, but some states are doing a better job than others.

Charitable Giving Options Under the New Tax Law

The new tax law makes it harder to claim a tax deduction for charitable contributions. While charitable giving should not be only about getting a tax break, if you want to get a tax benefit from your contributions, there are a couple of options. 

Are Medicare Advantage Plans Steering Enrollees to Lower-Quality Nursing Homes?

A new study has found that people enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan were more likely to enter a lower-quality nursing home than were people in traditional Medicare.

Can You Put a Surveillance Camera in a Nursing Home Room?

Technological advances have made it easier to stay connected with loved ones all the time. This has included the ability to install cameras in a loved one's nursing home room. These so-called “granny cams” have legal and privacy implications. 

Medicare’s Different Treatment of the Two Main Post-Hospital Care Options

Hospital patients who need additional care after being discharged from the hospital are usually sent to either an inpatient rehabilitation facility or a skilled nursing facility. Although these facilities may look similar from the outside, Medicare offers very different coverage for each.

Learn About Social Security’s Online Tools

With the aging population becoming increasingly tech savvy, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has moved a lot of services online. From applying for Social Security benefits to replacing a card, the SSA has online tools to help.

2019 Will Bring Social Security Beneficiaries the Biggest Increase in Eight Years

The Social Security Administration has announced a 2.8 percent increase in benefits in 2019, the largest increase since 2012.

Medicare Premium to Edge Up in 2019

After staying the same last year, Medicare’s Part B premium will increase slightly in 2019. The premium will increase $1.50 from $134 a month to $135.50.

Be Careful About Putting Only One Spouse’s Name on a Reverse Mortgage

A recent case involving basketball star Caldwell Jones demonstrates the danger in having only one spouse's name on a reverse mortgage.

How to Handle Sibling Disputes Over a Power of Attorney

When one sibling is named in a power of attorney, there is the potential for disputes with other siblings. No matter which side you are on, it is important to know your rights and limitations.

It’s Now Harder for Veterans to Qualify for Long-Term Care Benefits

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has finalized new rules that make it more difficult to qualify for long-term care benefits. The rules establish an asset limit, a look-back period, and asset transfer penalties for claimants applying for VA pension benefits that require a showing of financial need.

The New Tax Law Means It's Time Review Your Estate Plan

While the new tax law doubles the federal estate tax exemption, meaning the vast majority of estates will not have to pay any federal estate tax, it doesn't mean you should ignore its impact on your estate plan.

Aretha Franklin’s Lack of a Will Could Cause Huge Problems

According to court documents, legendary singer Aretha Franklin did not have a will when she died, opening up her estate to public scrutiny and unnecessary costs and uncertainty. 

Proving That a Transfer Was Not Made in Order to Qualify for Medicaid

Medicaid law imposes a penalty period if you transferred assets within five years of applying, but what if the transfers had nothing to do with Medicaid? How do you prove you made the transfers for a purpose other than to qualify for Medicaid?

When Can an Adult Child Be Liable for a Parent’s Nursing Home Bill?

Although a nursing home cannot require a child to be personally liable for their parent's nursing home bill, there are circumstances in which children can end up having to pay.

Don’t Wait Too Long to Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance

The older you get, the harder it is to qualify for long-term care insurance. If you are interested in buying this insurance, it is better to act sooner rather than later.

Lawsuit Alleges Assisted Living Facilities Discriminate Against Wheelchair Users

A lawsuit in New York state highlights an issue with some assisted living facilities: No wheelchairs allowed. 

New Law Expands Benefits for Chronically Ill Medicare Advantage Beneficiaries

Congress expanded benefits for Medicare recipients with chronic conditions in its latest budget bill. The law gives some Medicare plans the option of covering certain non-medical benefits and also increases telehealth services.

The Little-Known Tax on Roth 401(k) Distributions

There are two main types of employee retirement savings plans: the traditional 401(k) and the Roth 401(k). Distributions from a Roth 401(k) are usually tax-free, but there is a little-known situation where distributions can be taxed.

Court Overturns Obama Rule Protecting Investors Saving for Retirement

A U.S. court has struck down a rule intended to prevent financial advisers from steering their clients to bad retirement investments, but there is a new proposal to address the same problem.

Finding the Best Retirement Calculators

Figuring out how much to save for retirement and when you can safely stop working can be difficult. A growing number of online retirement calculators, many of them free, are available to help.

New Brokerage Account Safeguards Aim to Protect Seniors From Financial Scams

New rules have been put in place to protect seniors with brokerage accounts from financial scams that could drain the accounts before anyone notices.

The New Wave of Alimony in North Carolina Due to the Tax Plan

North Carolina provides two possibilities of spousal support in lieu of a divorce: 1) post separation support; and 2) alimony. Post separation support (PSS) is temporary and it is used to address the immediate needs of the dependent spouse. A dependent spouse is essentially the spouse who makes less money than the other (supporting) spouse. [...]

How Does the Medicaid Look-Back Period Work?

One area that causes a lot of confusion with regard to Medicaid is the look-back period. What exactly does the look-back period mean for Medicaid applicants?

Why You Should Use a Lawyer for Medicaid Planning

An attorney can help you save money in the long run as well as make sure you are getting the best care for your loved one.

Do Professional Athletes Need an Estate Plan?

Well the simple answer is (just like with everyone else) yes! However, when planning for athletes it's a whole different ballgame (pun intended). The goal for most clients is to make sure they have carefully planned the disposition of their wealth to family, friends, and/or charity. The vast majority of wealth with most clients is [...]

3 Reasons Why It’s Important to Have a Trust

What is a trust? Should I have one? What does a trust do for me? These are questions we get all the time from an array of people. Estate Planning is an important issue that everyone needs to take on at one point or another. However most people don't know what tools are out there [...]

What Happens to Your Digital Accounts After Your Death?

When was the last time you "unplugged" and were completely disconnected from the Internet? Do you think you could live "off the grid" for a day? A week? A month? If you're reading this, there's a large probability that you use the Internet every single day. Chances are, you Google everything. Which means that somehow, [...]

Are You Satisfied With Your Estate Plan?

Are you satisfied with your estate plan? Did you even know that you had one? The fact is that every man, woman, and child in the state of North Carolina has an estate plan. But the truth is, you may not like it. Because if you don’t create a Will, set up a Trust, purchase [...]