Pierro, Connor & Associates – Monday, February 03, 2014 

Preparing a Will is a great way to begin any estate plan, but for the reasons expressed below it pays for many to take the plan to the next level and establish a Revocable Living Trust as well.  

Every Will must be offered for probate and found to be valid by the local Surrogate’s Court before the named executor can be appointed, the debts of the deceased and expenses of the estate paid and the assets distributed.  The length and cost of the probate process varies but is almost always significantly lengthier and more expensive than the administration of a Revocable Living Trust. 

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Paul Walker, an actor who starred in popular movies such The Fast and Furious, died tragically in a car accident at the age of 40. Walker was unmarried at the time and had one daughter with former girlfriend Rebecca Soteros. Walker’s entire estate, which has been reported to be about $45 million, is left to his 15 year old daughter Meadow. Walker’s father has filed the will with court and has been appointed executor of his estate. There is some controversy over the fact that Walker requested that his own mother be appointed guardian of Meadow, and not Soteros. There is likely to be a court battle among Walker’s parents, Meadow’s mother, and Walker’s recent girlfriend, Jasmine Pilchard-Gosnell, who was left nothing in his estate plan and was helping to raise Meadow. 

Are there lessons to be learned from the Walker estate in planning our own estates? 

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Attorneys who practice in the area of personal injury litigation are familiar with the 2006 decision in Arkansas Department of Human Services v. Ahlborn which holds that under the Medicaid anti-lien statute a Medicaid agency is only entitled to recover a portion of a personal injury judgment or settlement that is “designated as payments for medical care”. Recently, the United States Supreme Court reaffirmed that holding in the North Carolina case of WOS v. E.M.A by rejecting a North Carolina statute that provided for a statutory presumption that 1/3 of a tort recovery was the amount due under the state’s Medicaid subrogation claim because of the provisions of the anti-lien statute.

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The New York State Bar Association’s Elder Law Section’s informational pamphlet “Why Your Medicaid Application Should be Entrusted to an Elder Law Attorney” is made available to you to assist you in understanding the benefits of utilizing a qualified Elder Law Attorney for your Long-Term Care Planning and Medicaid needs.

In New York, it is not required that an attorney assist with the Medicaid application. In fact, you can prepare the application yourself. There are many entities, agencies, or divisions within hospitals and nursing homes which may offer to prepare and submit the application for you for free or for a reduced fee. However, you must exercise great caution when accepting that help, as those entities and agencies are not obligated to advise you of your rights and are not permitted to give legal advice or implement legal strategies. Using these services might expose you and your family to risk.

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Radical Changes Hit Medicaid Upstate; Affordable Care Act Altering the Way Care is Provided; Medicare Budget Woes Cause Reductions in Coverage for Skilled Care; Long-Term Care Insurance Policies Undergo Market Changes; The Federal LTC Commission Swings and Misses; More.

If I told you all those changes have taken place over the last 12 years you would say that’s a lot, but the fact that they have taken place over the last 12 months is astounding. As I sat to write the introduction to our 19th Annual Elder Law Forum, I was stumped – not because I had too little to work with, but because I had too much. So I decided to take on the issues one at a time, in a series to update you on the state of Long-Term Care in New York State, and its impact on consumers, providers, insurers, taxpayers, government, workers and even attorneys.

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