Nikki Leith from Wall Group Law in Edmonds, WA talks about senior legal matters that affect the family. The firm handles estate planning, elder law and probate. Oftentimes you’re not dealing just with the client, but also the client’s family.
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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
And Welcome back to the program everyone. We are here with a wonderful Nikki lead from pracy wall law in Edmonds, Washington. Welcome back. Thank you. You know, Nikki, I you said some really important things in our previous statement and I really wanted to take some time to talk to you about one of the things we just glossed over, but it’s being mindful of your parents money. I think one of the things you know when you talk about yes, you have to take mom and dad in, but there’s other side of it too, is oftentimes adult children are having to financially supplement their parents, and that’s going on more and more often. I know I just started working with the family that all four siblings now are pretty much sheltering the load of assisted living for their father right and you know, and then I’ve had another situation where father’s in and mother are just due to care issues. Mother’s being very stubborn. She’s in Kansas, my father is here in Washington to come home with his kids and he needs care and mother’s digging in her heels and saying I’m not moving out there, I’m staying in our house. And so here’s these you know, I’ve seen so many families get torn up, like would you talked about one need from one? Yeah, and and there’s so many different, for an aspects to care that. You know, one of the things I think we oftentimes forget is that we sometimes think we can just go on, you know, an online site like legal zoom or something like that and just pull up at power of attorney and everything will be fine. And yet there is not a single family that is a like, is it? No, absolutely not. Everything every family is different, whether that be just the care they need or, you know, personalities or which children are involved or not involved. I mean sometimes it’s pretty rare, but there are times where there are no new family members involved in mom or Dad’s care and so we’re starting at square one with sort of where to go from there. And you know, at least in my situation, I didn’t know there was other resources out there and I didn’t know what questions that I needed to ask. And you know, if I had, I you know, they always say Hindsights, two thousand and twenty right, I always think, you know, if I would have known then what I know now, I would have made so many decisions differently. Right and had I not had I just gone and met with a good attorney up front. When I first started caring for my parent, it would have made all the difference in the world. It would have changed the way I handled her money. It would have changed the way I handled my own life. There’s all different types of aspects that I think we could share with our listeners today about. You know, I guess one of the things what are the most common issues that you see for families if they don’t take care of things? Yeah, so, you know, we get to a point where you know, we’re taking care of mom or dad, the money’s running out and then they think, oh shoot, we need to start looking into Medicaid. Medicaids a complicated topic. The rules are are pretty strict, so I can’t do too much of a deep dive into that. But we do get in those situations where, okay, we have to start looking for state assistance and the tricky part is is that maybe there’s something that you’ve done within the last five years that might disqualify you. At this time. I’m getting Medicaid, but yet you need it now. Yea or yeah, they say it’s a five year look back where they chant back at you that your your loved ones fan finances right throughout the year and are the last five years. And I know that for me with my mom, that’s exactly what happened right now. And we had US my sister in law actually had deposited her divorce money into my mother’s bank account and then withdrew it again, and I had no idea that that had happened, and so they kept denying her and I’m going, like she was, I want to know where hundred and some thousand dollars went, and I just kind of set there and go, what are you talking to you about? Right? Yeah, so there’s so, there’s that. Yeah, those there’s sad and you know, in addition to that, I would say I often get you know, maybe mom or Dad’s been at home for a while and they say, okay, now we’re need to start looking the cares is so needed that I can’t provide that anymore. We need to start looking around, and I say we’ll make sure. If I know Medicaid is going to be something on the horizon, you need to ask if they take Medicaid and because not everywhere does and that’s something that sucks. Don’t know either. And then if they do, take Medicaid if you find somewhere that does. A key question is to ask the the facility or community, what’s your private pay policy, because often they’ll say, yeah, we take Medicaid, but it’s it’s not a medicaid rule, it’s just the facility or communities policy. Yes, we take Medicaid, but you have to privately pay for x number of months, for months or you’re used to be, you know, it used to be pretty sure, but we’ve seen that length of time get longer and longer. So then you at least know where you’re in for. You know, don’t I always tell folks, you know, try not to wait, if you can, until that minute where you’re in dire streets and you’re needing something before you start sort of looking around and at least looking at options. That I was told. I was told by a placement advisor not too long ago. That really the time to start. Even if you know mom or dad are going to eventually need skill care, find them a place when they have at least a hundred thousand dollars worth of assets. That’s good advice, right, because you know and they have, they probably own a home. If you wait in that home and you do a reverse mortgage and you exhaust all that equity, what happens is you’re going to go right in. The State is going to have to pay you and then you’re sitting by yourself in your home and which you can’t you don’t own anymore. Right. It’s like yeah, exactly, yeah, and I need care. It’s good. It’s always it gives you a cushion having some still having some assets. It gives you a little bit of a cushion, buys you some time before you have to make a, you know, a gametime decision, and maybe it’s not the right place for you, but you just think, oh, I need to I need to apply right now, I need to get in there right now. Mom Or dad needs it now. If you can avoid that, you know. Often you know, things happen, so you can’t always reject what’s going to happen. And Yeah, look around and see what’s out there. Sooner than later, I would say. And again we are talking to Nikki leath from Tracy while law in Edmonds, Washington, and Nikki, you guys again. I’m just for the point of our listeners. You guys serve pretty much the greater puget sound and beyond. We do. Yeah, we even though you’re based in Edmunds, so that’s a wonderful thing. On your firm does veterans benefits, aid and attendance benefits. You guys do Medicaid Planning and you do all elder law and a state planning, including all those documents that you guys that we as family members need, which is so important, and you bring such an amazing vast experience with heart and I am so impressed with your firm and you know, having an opportunity to meet with Pam was really special for me. Yes, well, he’s very great. Yeah, so obviously families today are, you know, out there. No one of the things that I think happens, which is I’ve worked with a family not too long ago where mom or you know, dad needs care. Mom still in the house, mom’s healthy, right, yeah, right. Then they say to me, Oh my God, but if we put dad in care because he needs care, hmm, mom’s going to lose the house because they can afford to places. That’s not that’s generally not true. You know, there’s again touching on Medicaid a little bit, the rules are different for for married couples, right, as opposed to individuals, you know, and as the rules currently stand, they’re always changing. That’s the thing is the rules are always changing thoughts. So it’s a good idea to make sure that your met with someone to be up to date on what those medicated rules are. But we are seeing that, you know, the state doesn’t want to Impov wish a well spouse right just because the you know, the Medicaid spouse is needing this care, you know, and the rules are, like I said, different depending on what assets you have. Certain things you’re exempt. There’s ways to avoid getting a lean against that home, you know, if you put it in just mom’s name as opposed to, you know, both of their name. So there’s there’s things that you can do working with the rules, with what they are, there are much more strict for individuals. I’m lying for Medicaid. Even in terms of how much you can have an asset right, it’s pretty, you know, pretty strict. So I’d say it’s a good idea to sit down and and talk with somebody about your particular family’s particular situation. But yeah, it’s, you know, I would I’d be hesitant to say, you know, don’t just Google something and think that that’s the answer. I would say, you know, and every state is different. So maybe you google something in some other state of more margive and in California and you’re a watch and we’re up here. Yeah, California law exactly. It’s different depending on their situation. So here’s another scenario. I’m going to throw it you. HMM, okay, and I don’t. But this is another ant question I get from families or they think that they have everything covered. Oh, I’m just a signer on my mom or Dad’s all of their bank accounts. What is the legal risk for doing that? Well, you know that. So we see a lot of that. We see were the center daughters assigner, which can be helpful. It can be helpful depending on the situation. We also see, you know, they think, Oh, I’ll just add my child’s name as an owner on the account, my adult child, and that again we’re getting into like what does that mean then for resources that are available? Does that? You know, on and things? It’s a liability factor. Let’s see exactly. It’s a mom or dad have a car accident because they’re not driving as well, and all of a sudden mom or dad gets sued for a hundred fifty thousand dollars. Guess who else gets sued because they’re on the bank account right. Bank accounts up for yea, YEP, except for grabs, basically. So wouldn’t mean that they could potentially go after the assets of the other signer too? I’m assuming right. It would depend. You’d have to get in OK, the details of the yeah, circumstance, but I mean it does open up doors for for a liability. You know, and I always tell people, the power of attorney. Again, it comes back to the power of attorney. It does. It protects you. You know, banks, they they’ve, I think banks have been sued so many times that they’re you know, they really pay attention to those types of documents. There in your file there, and if you have one, give a copy to your bank. You know, when anyone who’s involved in your finance as a financial advisor, they need to know that you have this document in place in the event there’s something going on where they’re like, well, I don’t know about this decision. Is there somebody else involved? Yeah, because if you don’t have one and you don’t have anybody a pointed and you’re in a position where you’re needing somebody to help you out with those decisions. That’s when you start step into that realm of Guardian ship up and that’s a step whole separate court proceeding different. Yeah, more currently, very very much. So. Yeah. So how do we reach to Oh, okay, well, you can call our office, our phone number. There’s four and five, six seven zero, one hundred and five six zero, our lovely Paralegal, Jessica, or tell the answering the phone. So you can call us. Our website is wwway wall lawcom. Can that’s yes, a well, it’s tracie Wa l l lawcom. So there’s three L’s in a row. I always tell people don’t forget first three else. Yeah, and it’s Tracieie. Yes, let’s Tracy. So yeah, I give us a call or visit the website. We have some questions and answers on the website as well. So there’s just some information out there about some of the topics we talked about today. Nikki, thanks so much for thank you so much for having me. This is a lot of fun. Thank you great. We look forward to having you back against so great
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Founder and CEO of Answers for Elders, Inc., Suzanne Newman proclaims often, “Caring for my mom was the hardest thing I ever have done, but it was also my greatest privilege.” Following a career of over 25 years in sales, media, and marketing management, Suzanne Newman found herself on a 6-year journey caring for her mother. Her trials and tribulations as a family caregiver inspired an impassioned life mission outside of the corporate world to revolutionize the journey that so many other American families also find themselves on. In 2009, she became the founder and CEO of Answers for Elders, Inc., subsequently hosting hundreds of radio segments and podcasts, as well as authoring her first book. Suzanne and Answers for Elders, Inc. have spent 14 years, and counting, committed to helping families and seniors along their caregiving journeys by providing education, resources, and support. Each week on the Answers for Elders podcast, Suzanne is joined by vetted professional experts in over 65 categories including Health & Wellness, Life Changes, Living Options, Money, Law, and more. Suzanne lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband, Keith, and their two doodle dogs, Whidbey and Skagit.
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