It’s Medicare Open Enrollment Time: Is Your Plan Still Working for You?

Senior couple discussing over medical bills in living room

Every year Medicare gives beneficiaries a window of opportunity to shop around and determine if their current Medicare plan is still the best one for them. During Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, which runs from October 15 to December 7, beneficiaries can freely enroll in or switch plans.  During the seven-week period, you can return to traditional Medicare (Parts A and B) from a … Read More

What is an Elder Law Attorney and Do I Need One?

elder law attorney

hen Should I Hire an Elder Law Attorney? What does Medicaid planning involve? Do I Need a Durable Power of Attorney? ow do I Find an Attorney Qualified to Handle My Elder Law Needs? Find answers to these questions and more.

How to Have a Financial Management Conversation with an Elderly Loved One

Older man sitting and talking with son while they touch hands

Guest Blog By SilverBills Having a conversation with an older adult relative about financial matters may be challenging. However, conversations such as these are essential as they provide an opportunity to talk about what a loved one may need help with as he or she ages. Starting these conversations can sometimes be problematic, as the idea of allowing others to … Read More

President Biden Proposes Billions in Increased Funding for Home Health Care

a woman healthcare professional taking the blood pressure of an older man in his home

President Biden has introduced a plan to spend $400 billion over eight years on home and community-based care for the elderly and people with disabilities. The money would go to expand access to care and support higher-paying caregiving jobs.  As the elderly population grows, our long-term care system is becoming increasingly strained. The AARP found that in 2020, more than … Read More

How You Can End Up in Medicare’s Doughnut Hole, and How You Get Out

photo of an elderly woman wearing bright blue and pink holding two pink donuts, looking concerned

Medicare prescription drug (Part D) plans can have a coverage gap—called the “doughnut hole”–which limits how much Medicare will pay for your drugs until you pay a certain amount out of pocket. Although the gap has gotten much smaller since Medicare Part D was introduced in 2006, there still may be a difference in what you pay during your initial … Read More

How to Spot the Signs of Elder Abuse

Elder care can be challenging for families to navigate. Whether they arrange care at home or decide to move a loved one into a facility, families want to make sure their loved ones are well cared for. Unfortunately, elders’ social isolation, mental impairment (such as in instances when they are facing dementia), and reliance on others for care makes them … Read More

Paying Family Members to Provide Care for Special Needs Individuals

The Special Needs Alliance recognizes, paying a relative to care for a family member with disabilities can solve several challenges. This solution allows the individual requiring care to remain at home, where they likely feel most comfortable. As The Caregiver Space observes, paying a family member also acknowledges the important work they do and compensates them for the financial sacrifices … Read More

COVID-19 Virus Concerns for a Law Practice

The legal needs of New Mexicans did not go away when COVID-19 came calling and disrupted everyone’s lives. In fact, the virus made legal issues more urgent, particularly for individuals who needed an estate plan or Powers of Attorney. Many of our clients are older adults, one of the most at-risk groups for the virus. Rather than delay addressing their … Read More

A Lesson in Elder Financial Abuse: It Can Happen to Anyone

Larry was 84-years old when he passed away last year.  His wife of 62 years died in 2018.  His only child, David, lived overseas and he had no other living family.  Larry was fiercely independent and was reluctant to ask for assistance with anything.  Concerned for his well-being and knowing that he would never consider moving into an assisted living … Read More

How to Make Life More Enjoyable Through Prolonged Quarantine

Older woman checking phone at home while ironing

As quarantine for COVID-19 continues, many people are wondering how much longer they can stand it. But there are ways that seniors, caregivers, and parents can help make the stay-at-home orders bearable for those that still need to stay home. Excitement as States Reopen The Governor of New Mexico recently announced that the state was lifting some restrictions that had … Read More

5 Ways to Be a Better Caregiver When a Loved One Gets Sick

Did you know, more than 40 million Americans are caring for a loved one, whether it be an elderly parent or another family member. No one is ever prepared to become a caregiver. Caregiving is often a full-time job, yet many people who are caring for a loved one find they must continue to work to pay their own bills. … Read More

What Happens to My Debt When I Die?

I have a classic lawyer answer to this question- it depends.  Here are some factors to consider when thinking about this question: Do you co-own the debt with another person? Is it a joint credit card with your spouse?  Did your parents co-sign the loan with you? If so, that person may continue to have an obligation to pay the … Read More

Care-Taker Roles Reverse

Generally speaking we don’t plan on spending a Saturday afternoon in the local Emergency Department.  However, as parents age, we as their adult children find ourselves more and more in the care-taker role, which often means accompanying them to doctor’s appointments and sometimes to the Emergency Department.  As I sat with my mother and father in the Emergency Department on … Read More

Who Should I Appoint As My Fiduciary?

As part of a comprehensive estate plan, each one of us should appoint fiduciaries to act on our behalf in the event that we are no longer able to do so during life or at our death.  Simply appointing a spouse, child, sibling, or good friend may not be the right choice in all situations. What many people do not … Read More

Intra-Family Conflict After Death – It Can Be Expensive

We all hear horror stories about siblings becoming estranged after the death of a parent because they couldn’t agree about who should get their mom’s teapot.  Unfortunately, most estate planning and probate attorneys can tell you these stories have a basis in fact.  What you might not realize is that those family conflicts can also become incredibly expensive.  It is … Read More

Serving the Public Good

Lawyers have an ethical responsibility to provide pro bono services to indigent or other deserving clients.  Rule 16-601 says that a lawyer should aspire to at least 50 pro bono publico (“for the public good”) legal services per year.  “For the public good” means undertaking professional work voluntarily and without payment. Recently in Albuquerque, the guardianship and conservatorship community was … Read More

Reverse Mortgages – What Are They and Are They Right For You?

What is a reverse mortgage? Created in 1989 by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, a reverse mortgage is a home-equity loan for homeowners that are aged 62 or older. A reverse mortgage allows a homeowner to access the equity in their home, by turning equity into tax free cash. The homeowner does not have to make a … Read More

Giving Myself Elder Law Advice

There is a saying that when a lawyer represents themselves they have a fool for a client.  Giving myself elder law advice as I navigate the aging process with my elderly parents is proving it. How many times have I sat at a conference room table and given sage advice to adult children of parents with dementia about where their … Read More

The Alzheimer’s Association Report – Increasing Costs and Impact

The Alzheimer’s Association released a report on March 7, 2017 with updated statistics related to the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s dementia and the growing cost and impact of the disease on families and the economy.  Some startling findings: Unless a cure or improved treatments are discovered, the number of people age 65 or older with Alzheimer’s dementia may nearly … Read More

When is a trust necessary or helpful?

There are many causes of mental and physical incapacity and there are many people who are very bad a managing money, and for one reason or another, should not be left in charge of their own investments.  In these cases, a trust may be a good idea.  It can be a revocable trust or it can be an irrevocable trust. … Read More

Having Difficult Conversations with Your Aging Parents

When Elder Law is a primary focuses of your law practice, you often have clients come to you to discuss their aging parents. They start seeing the signs: the yard is not being cared for the house is in disrepair and is not the neat and tidy home you are used to seeing the refrigerator is full of food that … Read More

How is a revocable trust funded? Should all assets be transferred to a revocable trust?

Trusts are funded by re-titling or transferring title by deed or assignment of individual assets to the revocable trust.  Assets may include stocks, bank accounts, real estate, timeshare interests, or business interests. Once assets are transferred into the trust, a schedule of assets should be attached to the trust document as this assists the trustee in the management of the … Read More

Proud to be a Certified Elder Law Attorney

Last week I received an email from the new President of the Board of Directors of the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF). As a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) myself, his words struck a chord with me. As CELAs, we take pride in the fact we are uniquely trained to work with the elderly, their families, and special needs clients. … Read More

Protecting Your Testamentary Wishes As An Older Adult

Just because you have retired and grown older does not mean you have lost the ability to make decisions about your life or to decide for yourself who will inherit your assets when you die. Perhaps you do not have children or grandchildren and want to leave your assets to a friend or charity. Perhaps you feel your children and … Read More

Elder Abuse, Financial Exploitation, and Undue Influence

Elder abuse in the form of financial exploitation can be devastating to the victims and their families.  It is pervasive throughout New Mexico and the nation. Most of us are familiar with the harm that can be caused by telephone scams or overly friendly neighbors and caregivers, who may persuade older adults to hand over funds or change their wills. … Read More

Estate Planning- Not Just for the Rich and Famous

Estate Planning- Is It for Everyone? Estate planning is not just for the rich and famous.  Ask yourself this – -Do you have now or have you had a spouse/partner? -Do you have children or grandchildren? -Are they under age 18? -Are they adults that behave like children? -Do you own your home? -Do you own a vacation home or … Read More

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

In his latest book – Being Mortal – Dr. Atul Gawande explores disability, diminished capacity and the onset of dementia, not as medical issues but as the natural processes of aging. He urges his readers to confront their own anxieties and reexamine their relationships with their loved ones as life forces them to abandon their independence and become dependent upon others. Meaning … Read More

A Loved One Has Just Been Diagnosed With Dementia, What Should You Do?

Realizing that a loved one has dementia is heartbreaking and overwhelming and most families find that there are many more questions than answers.  One of the best initial steps families can take is to contact their local Alzheimer’s Association chapter.  The New Mexico chapter has locations in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Farmington and Roswell.   You will not find … Read More

Scams Targeting Seniors

An elderly man receives a phone call from someone identifying themselves as an employee at the Las Vegas jail.  The caller tells the man that his grandson was arrested for DWI and cannot be released without a $1,500 payment.  When the man asks for details the caller says that grandson is not allowed to use the phone and the payment … Read More

Planning for Long Term Care

Helpful Tips to Help You and Your Loved Ones Plan For Long Term Care Caring for a disabled family member can be exhausting and navigating the system for public benefits to provide for your loved one’s ongoing financial security only increases the burden.  Here are some helpful tips to get you started with long-term care. Start Planning EARLY! Nobody knows … Read More

What My Family Should Know

My adult daughter asked me once what medications I was taking.  I told her that I took two prescription medicines.  She asked me what they were and what they were for.  I told her that one was a medicine for hypertension and that the name started with a B, and the other was for high cholesterol, and the name of … Read More

Continuing Care Retirement Facilities

We all live where we want to, until we can’t anymore.  Then, housing becomes a much bigger issue than we ever thought it would be.  It is not about which town, or which neighborhood, or split level or ranch.  It is about what type of housing will accommodate us as we age, and, to be honest, as we grow more … Read More

Who Is Protecting Seniors?

Ads have been running on TV paid for by the Coalition to Protect Seniors, Inc., which state that people on Medicare should oppose health care reform because it will take away $445 million in Medicare benefits.  Our law firm works very hard to protect seniors, and we have studied the Affordable Care Act, and we do not think that it … Read More

What It Takes to Stay at Home

As we age, we can lose many of the faculties that we have taken for granted for years such as, hearing, sight, balance, memory and mobility, to name a few. Even with very good health, these functions upon which we have depended for years can fail us. The familiarity of our homes becomes one of the things that we can … Read More