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Meet the Team: Deb Pingel

Deb Pingel a Wisconsin Native joined our team in 2020. Customer Service has been instill in Deb for her whole life. From babysitting, helping elderly through church, to customer service, Deb is in the front of the line to help others. Most recently she managed the online shopping at a local grocer, helping get groceries for the customers that were not comfortable shopping during the pandemic. Having a history of Medicaid Planning on the annuity side will bring another great dynamic to the Medicaid team. Deb loves being a wife, mother to her children as well as her fur babies. Deb received her Degree from UW-Milwaukee in Science and Arts.

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Meet the Team: Christine Oyler

Christine Oyler joined Bellomo & Associates, LLC in April of 2016 in the Medicaid Department.  She graduated from York College of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing.  Christine’s previous work experiences consist of working as an RN in Labor & Delivery, a LTC facility with adults that have neuromuscular disorders and as an Infection Control Practitioner.

Christine shares Bellomo & Associates belief that education empowers people to make the best choices for themselves and their families and this is why she loves providing workshops educating individuals on Medicaid.  She loves being able to help assist others through the Medicaid process. Christine loves spending time with her family.  She also enjoys taking daytrips and traveling, especially to the beach and Disney World!

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Why Estate Planning & Elder Law Should Be A Team Sport

It is very common in our practice to meet with husbands and wives or single individuals about their estate planning. In our practice, if a client comes to a workshop, we also provide a free consultation, which is informative and detailed.

Often, however, people do not tell their family, financial advisors, or accountants that they are coming.

Ben-hershey-417730-unsplashFrequently, they will decide to move forward with our office to put a plan in place unbeknownst to family and advisors. 

This can create a problem later on in the process or after the process is complete, when they finally talk to their financial advisors, accountants, or families about what they did and why. Families and professionals are often very protective of their loved ones and clients, and often are concerned that people are out to get them and therefore are distrustful.

Our team’s mantra is that estate planning and elder law is a “team sport”.

At the free consultation, which we call our vision meeting, we encourage people to bring their team, which could include any or all of their family and financial professionals. Although up to each client, we generally find that when the entire team understands the “what and why” of an estate plan, the entire process is much easier for all involved, which eliminates a lot of heartache and pain later on.  

The more the important people in your life are involved, the more likely it will be that everyone is on the same page when you make a decision. Of course, the decision of who to involve, and to what extent, is always entirely yours.

We'd love you to join us for one of our free education workshops just to come and discover who we are and how important estate planning and elder law are.  Just click here and pick the day and time that work best for you.  We'll save you a seat!

 

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Essential Estate Planning Documents

The question estate planning and elder law attorneys are often asked is, what documents do I need?  The answers to that simple question can be complex and a bit confusing. There is no one-size-fits-all to estate planning, or one cure-all for everyone’s needs.  Ultimately, estate planning is all about personal goals and attitudes, and what a person wants to accomplish.  

Glenn-carstens-peters-190592-unsplashHowever, over the years it has become very clear to me that at a minimum every client should have a last will and testament, a financial power of attorney, and a medical power of attorney (healthcare proxy) and living will, known as an advanced healthcare directive.

A financial power of attorney is essential to protect you if during your lifetime you become incapacitated. It allows you, while still healthy, to name an individual to manage your day-to-day affairs and financial affairs while incapacitated, even if just temporarily. Being married does not always guarantee that your spouse has the right to make those decisions on your behalf.  A financial POA is not expensive, and can save the heartache and emotional tear of a guardianship.  

A healthcare power of attorney names one or more individuals to make healthcare decisions when you are unable to do so; without it, there may be no one to make such decisions, or doctors may look to people who are not the ones you would prefer. A living will allows you to decide now your end of life healthcare decisions and whether you would like heroic and lifesaving measures. Not forcing loved ones to have to make end of life decisions and “pull the plug” is a wonderful gift from you to your loved ones.

In order to assure that in time of need or upon death your wishes are followed, and your family is covered, you should work with an attorney to put at least these essential documents in place.  

We can help with any and all your estate planning needs!  If you have questions just fill out our simple form here and we'll be in touch!

 

 

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How to Spend Down to Qualify for Medicaid

A recent nj.com article, “Spending assets before Medicaid kicks in,” considers the consequences of long-term care. Without long-term care insurance, in addition to potentially depleting one's savings, what other assets, such as one's home, are at risk if funds are needed to pay for long-term care?

Unfortunately, many people fail to consider the cost of long-term care until it's too late. This care can cost more than $100,000 a year in some areas. Long-term care facilities will need to be paid for using a resident's assets to move in and remain at the facility. Those assets include Social Security, pensions, real property, investments and any other assets.

Money-2724241_640There is the option of purchasing long-term care insurance that will help to offset the cost of services. However, if they do not purchase sufficient coverage, then it may not cover the entire expense. As a result, residents must use their assets for the uncovered portion of the resident fees. Therefore, residents must "privately pay" with all of their assets.

Once a resident's assets have been exhausted, he or she can apply for Medicaid.

To be eligible for the Medicaid program, the applicant’s assets must be valued at less than $2,000, including bank accounts, investments, real property and any other assets.

Medicaid looks at each application with what’s known as a five-year “look back” to determine whether an applicant has made any transfers of property or gifts in an effort to gain eligibility. However, this may mean they are ineligible or have a penalty period imposed.

When determining your Medicaid eligibility, your primary residence is an exempt asset provided that you or your spouse (if any) reside in the house or intend to return to the house to live. However, Medicaid will have an automatic lien on any interest in a residence in your name that’s equal to the amount of Medicaid funds you receive. When the home is sold after you pass away, Medicaid will execute the lien, unless your spouse remains an owner of the home.

In many instances, long-term care facilities will require that a resident "spend down" his assets for a specific period of time (often one or two years), before the facility will consider offering a Medicaid bed to a resident. Note that care facilities aren’t required to accept each and every Medicaid approved resident. Every facility is licensed, and its license states the minimum number of beds at the facility that must be set aside for Medicaid eligible residents. Because of this, wait lists for Medicaid beds are not unusual.

If you want to know more about planning for your legacy and protecting your family assets, join us for a FREE educational workshop.  Just click here to save your seat today.  We'll see you there.

Jeffrey Bellomo, Esq.

 

Reference: nj.com (November 6, 2017) “Spending assets before Medicaid kicks in”

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