Archives by: Laurie G. Steiner

Laurie G. Steiner

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About the author

Laurie G. Steiner is a member of the law firm of Solomon, Steiner & Peck. She is a certified elder law attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation and the Ohio State Bar Association. She practices in the area of elder law, Medicaid, VA and disability planning, and estate and trust planning and administration. She can be reached at 216-765-0123 or at http://www.ssandplaw.com/

Laurie G. Steiner Posts

Friendship Days: Take Time to be Kind

July/August 2017 Legal

As we celebrate our freedom living in the U.S.A. in July, remember that the world generally seems too filled with hate, fighting and mistrust. We all need to stop and reverse this trend, and one way is to join in on the International Day of Friendship.

In 2011, the United Nations declared July 30 the official International Day of Friendship. Prior to this date, many countries celebrated as well. For example, Paraguay first celebrated this day on July 30, 1958. The United States, countries in South America, India and Malaysia celebrated on various dates in July, August and September. World Friendship Day is a celebrated on June 30 in the United States, and here in Ohio, Oberlin celebrated annually on April 8. In 1998, the U.N. secretary’s wife, Nane Annan, named Winnie the Pooh as the Ambassador of Friendship at the U.N. Who doesn’t love Winnie the Pooh?

It is interesting to note how some associations observe Friendship Day with different customs, by giving the festival different names, and by holding it in on various days or months.

For example, National Friendship Day is the first Sunday in August, Women’s Friendship Day is on the third Sunday in August, the third week of May is the Old Friends, New Friends Week, and February is designated International Friendship Month.

Friend Time

But there is a specific date for the world to promote friendship among all people, cultures and countries. The day is for promoting peace and freedom and for building bridges among different people. People can view it as a day of respect for others and a day to celebrate diversity. Get involved with The World Friendship Crusade, a foundation that promotes friendship and fellowship among all human beings, regardless of race, color or religion. 

The United Nations is encouraging governments and local groups to hold events and activities to promote mutual understanding.

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Retirement Jobs

Legal May/June 2017

Legal

Want to Have Fun in Retirement?

Keep Working (Just a Bit)

 

By Laurie G. Steiner

You finally retired from your job.

For some, that is a welcome relief — the end of a career they are happy to put behind them. For others forced to retire when they didn’t want to, depression and frustration may set in. For still others, retirement might mean financial ruin because of health care costs.

If you have energy to burn, want to try something new, or need a job to make ends meet, finding your passion is the key to enjoying work after retirement. Working at a job that you’re passionate about can be invigorating, meaningful and engaging while keeping your mind and body sharp. Research shows that people who work well into their 70s, 80s and even 90s live longer than those who don’t work.

What You Know

Ageism can be a barrier to finding a new job. Focus on your accomplishments and achievements, not necessarily your skills. Highlight decision-making and supervising abilities. Who can benefit from your talents and experiences? If you need help, start online with workforce50.com or the Encore Career Network at matureservices.org.

Ideas for post-retirement employment:

  • Write (especially if you were an English teacher). This could include writing training manuals for a company or copy for product marketing. Consider contract or freelance opportunities.
  • Teach or consult. Share your knowledge from your work years with students or others in your field.
  • Count. If you have a flair for numbers, become a bookkeeper or tax preparer. You could be a lifesaver for someone who can’t balance their checkbook.
  • Sell. Retail jobs offer some of the most reliable jobs for retirees. Meet new people and stay connected to your community. Some, such as Starbucks, offer health benefits.
  • Make. Crafters and artists can make and sell at local craft shows or online on Etsy.com.
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Joint and Survivorship Accounts

Legal March/April 2017 Money

Pros, Cons and Everything In Between

The Scoop on Joint and Survivorship Accounts

 

 

 

 

The Goal for Most People? Avoid Probate.

One method:

Joint and Survivorship accounts

Got it. How does that work?

Two people set it up

When one dies, the other owns it

Good for spouses

 

So what can go wrong?

Multiple owners—who gets what?

Parents leave to one child, not others

Creditors of one owner can attach the account

Divorce of one owner

Lawsuits

 

What is better for non-spouses?

Payable on Death to Child

Transfer on Death to Child

Transfer on Death to Child or by Naming the Child the Beneficiary

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Estate Planning for Second Marriages – “What to Do Before Saying “I Do”

Legal May/June 2016

Remarriages are on the rise. Four of every 10 marriages are now remarriages, and half of previously married seniors have remarried again, according to a Pew Research Center study.

Let’s say partners each have children from a first marriage, and they are getting married. What issues do they need to think about? In addition to all of the family dynamics, there are many economic and personal issues they need to consider, such as:

• Income taxes

• Prenuptial agreements

• Pension, 401k and Social Security benefits

• Cost-sharing

• Estate planning documents

DOUBLE-CHECK DOCUMENTS

Consider the following real-life example. A couple remarried in their 50s. They each had children from a first marriage. The husband died 20 years later. He wanted to provide for his second wife.  His will stated all of his assets went to his wife, with the understanding that on his wife’s death those assets would go back to his children.

However, what actually happened is when the husband died, the surviving wife — who lived a long time after that — simply combined their assets. On her death, the money went to her children. The husband’s children got nothing. They did not believe their father meant to do that with his assets. He didn’t, but he didn’t plan properly.

So, what should he have done? He should have set up what is commonly called a marital trust. The trust would have held the assets for his second wife when he died, but upon the wife’s passing the assets would go to his children. The trust document prohibits the widow from transferring the assets to her children.

LIFE CHANGES REQUIRE UPDATES

As for other important documents, everyone should have a durable financial power of attorney, durable health care power of attorney and a living will declaration. When you divorce or get married, update documents to reflect your new situation.

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Crazy Laws – Keep Your Retirement Dreams – but Watch Out

January/February 2017 Legal

As you plan for retirement, it just might be the time to try to realize your lifelong dreams. You’ve put them off long enough; now you actually have the time. Great idea. But please be sure to follow the law when you do. There are some crazy laws on the books that just might put a damper on your plans.

BINGO, RABBITS AND A MUSTACHE PROBLEM

For example, if you love to play bingo, and just never had time before, don’t retire to North Carolina. It’s illegal to play bingo there for more than five hours in a row. Or, if you would rather sing when you move there, you’d better be really good. Singing off-key also is prohibited.

If you vacation in Wyoming, and like to take pictures, remember that it’s illegal to take a picture of a rabbit from January to April without a permit. In Idaho, you can eat all the potatoes you want, but never wear a fake mustache in a church.

Alaskan cruises are beautiful, and you may dream of a long vacation by sea and by land. However, if the weather proves to be a bit too cold for you, be careful if you stop at a bar for some warming spirits. You are not allowed to be drunk in a bar. And right here in Ohio, it’s illegal to get a fish drunk.

AND THERE’S MORE, OF COURSE

If you enjoy the holidays and wish they could last forever, don’t move to Maine. Decorations have to be removed and stored by Jan. 14. On the other side of the country, they don’t like folks with a sweet tooth; lollipops are banned in Washington.

Florida women might have their dreams dashed because unmarried females cannot parachute on Sundays. The need to protect women is somewhat understandable.

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Year-End Donations – Give Wisely – Don’t Get Scammed

Year-End Donations – Give Wisely – Don’t Get Scammed

As the holidays approach, people start thinking about making charitable donations. But take care with those well-meaning plans. Each year, crooks use scams to cheat people and to steal millions of dollars intended for charities.

The problem is that these scams are hard to identify. For example, the Federal Trade Commission in May filed a lawsuit against the Cancer Fund of America, the Children’s Cancer Fund of America and the Breast Cancer Society.

These charities, which have existed for years, have raised more than $200 million, yet only about 3 percent of their money went to cancer patients, research or treatment, according to the FTC. The trouble is that when someone gets a phone call from an organization such as the Children’s Cancer Fund of America, it sounds legitimate and well-meaning, so people donate money.

DOORSTEP SCAMS

Some scams are closer to home. A few years ago, a teenager along with an older gentleman, asked local business owners to contribute to a Muscular Dystrophy Association bike ride. In exchange, donors were promised discounted Cedar Point season passes. Instead, the scammers pocketed the cash.

This is a big problem with a solution. Look at the FTC and Ohio Attorney General websites to help identify scams targeting people who want to donate to charities. For example, the FTC recently issued a warning about charity scams in connection with recent floods in Louisiana.

SO WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU WANT TO CONTRIBUTE TO CHARITY?

Here are five steps to take to make sure your money goes to the charity you want

1 Research the Charity.

If you are not familiar with the charity you can research it on the FTC website, consumer .ftc.gov. You can also research on the Ohio Attorney General’s website, ohioattorneygeneral.gov, to find charities registered in the state.These websites have links to organizations such as Charity Navigator, Charity Watch and Guide Star, which provide valuable information about charities, including how much they spend on charitable activity versus payroll and other overhead.

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Cases & Controversies – An Open Enrollment Guide for Newcomers

Cases & Controversies – An Open Enrollment Guide for Newcomers

For you pros at Medicare open enrollment, you know that this is when you review your Medicaid Advantage Plan, Supplement and Drug plans to make sure you are set for another year.

For newbies, there are some legal issues regarding Medicare coverage that don’t get much publicity but are very important.

SKILLED NURSING AND WHAT’S COVERED

Many people incorrectly think that Medicare won’t pay much for skilled care such as rehabilitation, therapy, wound dressing and other daily health needs in a skilled facility or at home. Services and Medicare billing are stopped quickly because they think that Medicare will not pay anymore if the patient is not showing “improvement” or he “fails to progress.” This idea has become pervasive in health care, and people simply accept it as the law.

However, “improvement” is not the standard by which Medicare can stop paying for skilled nursing care; it never has been. A 2011 federal class action lawsuit against Medicare was filed to help clarify coverage for millions of seniors. The government settled the case in 2012 by agreeing that under federal law people cannot be denied coverage for skilled care just because they have reached a plateau and are not improving.

Coverage is necessary if the person needs skilled care to maintain his or her condition, prevent complications or to not backslide. This is a maintenance standard, not an improvement standard.

Medicare also was required to educate all seniors receiving Medicare and all Medicare skilled care providers about the corrected policy. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) agreed to do so.

In 2014, they released instructions and updated Program Manuals for Medicare billing and appeals agencies. They issued a fact sheet to inform providers and the public about the change. They were supposed to spot check nursing homes, home health care agencies and other providers to make sure they were using the correct standards.

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Good Advice – When (and How) to Find a Competent Attorney

Good Advice – When (and How) to Find a Competent Attorney

Do you know whether you need estate planning or long-term care planning, and how to find a competent attorney?

Most people don’t. Clients often think they need to protect assets from a nursing home only to learn that what they really need is a new will, trust and powers of attorney.

MAKE A PLAN FOR YOUR ESTATE

Estate planning is the process of providing for yourself and your family in the event of your retirement, disability or death. Through a properly crafted estate plan, you put your legal and financial affairs in order so that the assets you have accumulated during your lifetime will be preserved and transferred to your heirs with the least amount of tax, financial and emotional cost. The most common estate planning tools available include a will, a trust, a durable power of attorney, a health care power of attorney and a living will declaration.

Sit down with your family to plan out some of the most important issues you face. Who will handle your affairs when you are incompetent or dead? How do you want to pass your assets to the next generation? What kinds of medical treatment do,you want or not want at the end of life? Your plan will vary depending upon your family situation, assets, and goals and plans for the future. The more your net worth, the more complicated and more important the planning becomes.

Long-term care planning includes many of the same things that you need for estate planning. In addition, a big focus is how to protect and preserve assets if you need long-term medical care.

LONG-TERM CARE PLANNING

Often, long-term care planning means trying to qualify for Department of Veterans Affairs or Medicaid benefits — the only government programs that will pay for long-term care at home, in assisted living and nursing home care.

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