New York Elder Law And Estate Planning Blog

What is the New York State Partnership for Long-Term Care?

In the advanced stages of life, home care, nursing home care and living assistance are some of the various realities that many individuals and families need to deal with. These services are often expensive, which means that many people usually rely on federal and state government assistance to make sure that the final years of life are spent comfortably and respectfully. One such assistance program that people in New York should know about is the New York State Partnership for Long-Term Care.

As some of our readers may know, the NYSPLTC is a program run by the state's Department of Health and combines the benefits of both long-term care insurance and Medicaid Extended Coverage. In addition to assisting in financially preparing for the possibility of requiring home care, nursing home care and living assistance, the NYSPLTC is an effective means of protecting a person's assets in the event that the long-term care needs exceed the period that is covered by Partnership LTC insurance policy.

What is Medicaid planning?

Long-term care costs often blindside those in retirement. Because of this, many turn to Medicaid to alleviate some of the financial burden of long-term care. Medicaid is a government health care program that can help with paying costly care expenses. However, Medicaid is a needs-based program that only applies to people with a limited amount of assets.

Because the qualification requirements for Medicaid are complicated, many individuals and couples begin to make financial plans to qualify for Medicaid years before they need it. This process is sometimes referred to as “Medicaid planning”.

Advance health care directives recognized in New York

As many of our readers know, advance health care directives are legal documents meant to ensure that a person's wishes are fulfilled even when they are unable to make an independent decision due to advanced age or poor health. Three types of advance heath care directives are recognized in New York State: the New York State Health Care Proxy; a living will; and a Do Not Resuscitate Order.

A New York State Health Care Proxy lets people choose health care agents who can make decisions on their behalf when they are unable to make health care decisions themselves. This directive comes into effect when at least two doctors are of the opinion that the person requesting the proxy is unable to make an independent decision. A standard New York State form is available and copies of the form need to be shared with the chosen health care agent, family members and the doctors who provide the care.

Estate tax in New York

In addition to coping with the loss of a loved one, the surviving family members need to comply with certain legal and financial obligations related to the estate of the deceased individual. One such obligation is paying the taxes accrued against the estate of the deceased.

According to current rules, the estate of a New York resident who died on or after April 1, 2014 needs to pay estate tax if the amount of the deceased person's federal gross estate, plus the amount of includable gifts, exceeds the basic exclusion amount, or "BEA," that is applicable at the date of death. The estate of a non-resident who died on or after April 1, 2014 also needs to file estate tax based on the same terms and conditions if that deceased non-resident held any real or tangible property located in New York.

Understanding Medicaid Spend-Down

Medicaid is a program funded jointly by the federal and state governments. The federal government sets certain parameters that all states need to follow, but the actual administration of the program is managed by the state, which means that benefits and coverage for someone in New York may be different from the benefits and coverage of someone living in another state. The main purpose of Medicaid is to provide healthcare coverage for people with limited income.

The most important aspect of Medicaid coverage is income, so that only those people who really need the benefits are able to avail them. If some people have too much income, they may not be able to obtain Medicaid benefits. However, if those people spend their excess income on medical bills, they could possibly be eligible for Medicaid. This is known as Medicaid Spend-Down and every state, including New York, has its own set of laws that define the value of assets an applicant can hold, but still be eligible.

How to choose your health care agent

It can be hard to know who to trust in this life. When it comes to your health and healthcare, figuring out who to trust can become even more difficult. This means choosing a health care agent may be one of the most challenging decisions of your life.

Your health care agent is responsible for making medical decisions if you are unable to or otherwise incapacitated. This means they will have to make difficult and critical decisions about your health and life. It is incredibly important that you select someone you can depend on. But how can you know who is the best choice?

These common estate planning mistakes can be costly

When it comes to creating an estate plan, many New Yorkers feel overwhelmed. This is normal. There's a lot to account for in these plans.

A solid estate plan is crucial to meeting all your goals. Leaving directives unclear or property unaddressed can be expensive mistakes.

Discussing power of attorney information important for care

When making important decisions that involve other people, it is often wise to discuss the situation with the other parties involved. For example, if a New York resident wants to appoint a loved one or other trusted party to make medical decisions for him or her in the event of incapacitation, it is important to talk about those wishes. In some cases, the person given power of attorney may need to broach the topic.

While it is beneficial to create a power of attorney document to put someone in charge of important medical decisions, that person also needs to know the right decisions to make. Unfortunately, even after making appointments, few individuals actually talk about their specific care wishes with their appointed agents. If parties have not made appointments, it is even more likely that loved ones do not know their wishes.

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