How to Spot Financial Elder Abuse

How to Spot Financial Elder Abuse

Last week's column discussed telephone fraudsters and other senior scams to watch out for, especially this time of year. Unfortunately, older individuals are easy targets because we're lonely and miss the constant companionship we enjoyed at work. Or we're lonely because the spouse has passed and the adult children have busy lives. How to Spot Financial Elder Abuse That leaves seniors open to a seemingly pleasant, trustworthy, and slick professionals who use the telephone in a friendly and engaging manner and traps us with kind words and attention. Scammers are smart and well-trained. They know exactly what to say to get

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Top 10 Ways to Delay Your VA Pension Application

veteran in uniform

We’ve all heard the horror stories about working with the Department of Veterans Affairs, affectionately known as the VA, especially when it comes to VA pension applications. You send in your paperwork and it either drops into a black hole never to be seen again or you end up in an infuriating back-and-forth game of claim form whack-a-mole. Though you don’t have any control over the employees of the VA and their skill (or lack thereof) at processing applications, you do have control over what you submit. That’s why I thought it would be fun to talk about ways to

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Annuities and Qualifying for Public Benefits

Do you own an annuity? Annuities are a complicated subject and even more so when it comes to their effect on the Medicaid or VA Aid and Attendance application process. How can an annuity impact a person’s ability to qualify for Medicaid or VA benefits in the future? Before I answer the question, let’s start with some basics. Annuities are creditor protected insurance products that guarantee income. A qualified annuity is a financial product that accepts and grows funds. Premiums for qualified annuities are generally paid with pretax dollars, as are any investments purchased for use in a qualified retirement plan. “Qualified” is a descriptor given

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Can I Get Medicaid if I Transfer All of My Assets to My Spouse?

elderly woman isn't feeling well

In the past, to avoid exceeding Medicaid’s income and asset limits, many individuals transferred their assets into the name of other relatives, particularly when nursing home care was immediately needed.  Now, Medicaid takes into account all asset transfers made in the preceding five years prior to an application for Medicaid benefits (this period is called the “look-back” period).  If such asset transfers were made, Medicaid may assess a penalty period, which will delay the commencement of Medicaid benefits. However, as discussed below, it is crucial to understand that not all assets are counted for Medicaid benefits determination and that some

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4 Questions to Ask Before Buying Long-Term Care Insurance

My wife, Gina, and I are in year five of owning and running a home care agency, and we've experienced firsthand the pain of families struggling to pay for it. After Gina and I helped managed care for my mother, Emily, as she transitioned into an assisted living facility near our home, we knew we couldn't afford NOT to have a LTC plan. There are so many options, riders, qualifications and all of this was completely overwhelming. Ultimately, the entire process took us about eighteen months, but we did finally choose a long-term care insurance policy that was right for

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Tips on Saving Money for Retirement

A great question to ask when buying something, especially big ticket items, "Is this the best you can do?" It doesn't hurt to ask. A recent article at Money features Sam Parr, founder of The Hustle, a media company that produces a popular business newsletter, has raised over $1.3 million in funding. Parr credits most of his success to the smart money habits. Save More If you're frugal and shop smart, you can put what you save into a retirement account, don't just leave that extra money sitting in the bank. Put it in a savings account. Aside from saving

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What is Mom’s Password?

What is Mom's Password?

Let’s face it. We live in a sophisticated, technologically driven world whether we like it or not.  Like most things in life, that happens to be both good and bad news. What is Mom's Password? But with technology comes passwords, usernames,  and PIN numbers. Not only are we instructed to keep these in a “safe” place, we are challenged with the task, on a daily and sometimes hourly basis, of remembering what password goes with what. What is Mom's Password? So how do we keep all our passwords and usernames straight while we gracefully age and our short term memories grow a bit

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Will My Advance Directive Work In Another State?

Smiling senior lady choosing travel tour with manager

Making sure your end-of-life wishes are followed no matter where you happen to be is important. 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. An advance directive gives instructions on the kind of medical care you would like to receive should you become unable to express your wishes yourself. It often designates someone to make medical decisions for you. Each state has its own laws setting forth requirements for valid advance directives and health care proxies. For

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How can identity thieves use your personal information?

If an identity thief gets ahold of your information, it can be used in many ways. Your Social Security number can be used to create new accounts, take out a loan or apply for a job. Your bank account can be drained and fraudulent purchases can be made. Someone can use your information to see a doctor or get prescription drugs. If you lose your driver’s license or your wallet is stolen, someone might use your ID to avoid a DUI or speeding ticket or might try to purchase controlled items. If you’re a parent, teach your kids safe online

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