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Donít Be a Joe or Helen!

By Susan Piette, JD

(Page 3 of 3)

4. Fact/Question:

Helen no longer has the capacity to execute a will. What are the ramifications of her failure to do so?

Answer: Helen will not be able designate who will inherit her assets when she passes. Although her guardian will be authorized to utilize her assets for her while she is alive, any assets remaining at her death will pass under state intestate laws, resulting in some of the same unintended results as occurred when Joe passed.

5. Fact/Question:

Daughter provided caregiver services and expended (and continued to expend) personal funds for the benefit of Helen without documenting the arrangement. Can daughter be reimbursed?

Answer: Yes, but if daughter accepts payment(s) for services and expenditures without a properly documented caregiver agreement and then if Medicaid is needed as a source of funding for skilled nursing care for Helen, such payment(s) may be determined to be an inappropriate transfer of funds and cause an ineligibility period of Medicaid benefits resulting in the family having to pay for skilled nursing services that Medicaid would have otherwise covered.

Joe and Helen failed to put in place a ďSENIOR PLANĒ Ė whatís your SENIOR PLAN?

We all want peace of mind about our welfare and our assets. You are the only one who can make important decisions about how you would like to live. Those decisions MUST be documented. In this case, information is power! Anyone who is aging, or has elder parents, should engage in non-crisis planning and review their SENIOR PLAN with an experienced elder law attorney. Donít be a Joe or Helen!


Susan Piette is an attorney with the law firm of Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin, assisting parents and their children with estate planning for over three decades. Contact Susan at or 215-661-0400


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