Is Suicide Ever Okay?

HNW Elder Care Law

This blog was written by an elder law colleague of mine, Victoria Collier, Esq., who lives in Georgia.  I met Victoria years ago but knew nothing of her personal life.  I did not realize that her life was directly impacted by the suicide of her mother while young.  I encourage you to read her post below.  It is a very thoughtful insight to suicide by a now middle-aged woman with her own children. “Death is a difficult topic. But death by suicide is a very controversial topic, one that I am going to start here as it is very close to my heart. I grew up hearing, “suicide is the most selfish act” and as an adult I have heard …

Hey Doc, You Better Report Me to Motor Vehicles or You’ll Get Sued if I Hurt Someone

HNW Elder Care Law, Elder Law

I read an interesting article written by a personal injury attorney involving a case he settled when a physically and cognitively impaired patient killed a person in a motor vehicle accident. The driver’s doctors were sued for negligence because they failed to report the driver to the NJ Department of motor vehicles. Read the article; it’s very interesting. Do doctors owe a duty of care—outside the doctor/patient relationship—that supports a cause of action by third-party motorists? With more than six million licensed drivers in New Jersey, it is statistically inevitable that medically impaired drivers will cause some auto accidents. Indeed, a 2009 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that from July 3, 2005, to Dec. 31, …

Should New Jersey’s Department of Motor Vehicles Be Alerted to An Aging Parent’s Unsafe Driving?

HNW Elder Care Law, Elder Law

Many clients want to avoid going to the DMV about their parent(s).  He or she may be mentally sharp, but their vision is deteriorating.  There are fresh dents on their car and he/she caused an accident just a few weeks ago.  They refuse to talk about their driving skills though, and neither will forgive themselves if he/she hurts someone else.  Is there a way to anonymously report their unsafe driving to the DMV? I have had these discussions with many clients.  I have some clients who recognize that their driving skills are declining and voluntarily give up their car keys.  They are far and few in between though.  It’s emotionally tough to give up driving and touch getting around NJ …

Short-Term Care Insurance:  An Alternative to the Long-Term Care Variety

HNW Elder Care Law, Elder Law

Truth be told, I really had never heard about short term care insurance. I’m a really big advocate for long term care insurance though many clients choose not to purchase it. Generally the reasons offered are price and/or insurability. So an alternate solution for some people who may need care in the future but are unable to buy long-term care insurance is short-term care insurance that will cover nursing home and/or home care for one year or less. These policies are more popular because long-term care premiums are expensive. This type of insurance is generally cheaper because it covers less time. Purchasers can choose the length of coverage they want, up to one year. The underwriting and medical qualifications are …

NJ Allows Terminally Ill to Get Life-Ending Meds

HNW Elder Care Law, Hospice Care Planning

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Monmouth County, Freehold, NJ Elder Care Attorney Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday signed legislation making New Jersey the seventh state to enact a law permitting terminally ill patients to end their lives. Murphy, a Democrat, signed the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act in private. His office would not answer why the signing was not public. The law goes into effect in August. He earlier indicated he would support the bill, but in a personal statement, Murphy — a lifelong Catholic — revealed that he wrestled with whether to sign the legislation. The state’s Catholic Conference testified against the measure. “I have concluded that, while my …

How to Use a Reverse Mortgage for Elder Care Medical and Home Expenses

HNW Elder Care Law, Elder Law

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. a Freehold Township, Monmouth County New Jersey Elder Care Attorney Reverse mortgages have been an on again, off again way for individuals to stay at home for as long as possible. In 2006 with the enactment of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA), the Federal Government gave permission to all states to create Long-Term Care Insurance Partnership programs.   Each state’s Long-Term Care Partnership Program is designed to encourage residents to engage in Medicaid Asset Protection by purchasing Qualified Long-Term Care Insurance.  Each state’s Partnership Program allows individuals to protect assets that otherwise might have to be paid to a nursing home prior to obtaining eligibility for Medicaid benefits.  A Partnership-qualified policy enables policyholders to protect …

Elderly and Disabled Planning – What Are the Tax Implications?

HNW Elder Care Law, Elder Law

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. a Freehold Township, Monmouth County New Jersey Elder Care Attorney Planning for individuals who need elder care is generally not particularly tax driven.  However, there are some special tax benefits (and liabilities) that should not be overlooked.  While income and self employment taxes are not dependent upon age, persons over 65 and those who are blind are entitled to an increase in their standard deduction in filing their income tax returns.  Widows and widowers may use joint income tax returns for two years following the death of the spouse. Taxpayers who are supporting dependent family members may be entitled to additional dependency exemptions on their income tax returns.  These include parents and grandparents, among others.  There …

Appealing Denial of Medicare Coverage

HNW Elder Care Law, Elder Law

  There are times when Medicare issues a decision unfavorable to the coverage of your case.  Whether it is classifying you in a hospital as a patient undergoing “observation status” versus being an “in-patient” or terminating rehabilitation services because you are not improving, their decision can be financially devastating.  But their decision is not final.  If handled properly, there are ways in which you can appeal their unfavorable decision. The Medicare Appeal Process The first two stages of the appeals process are informal and usually occur hand-in-hand with one another.   Most are also unsuccessful.  Medicare contracts with third-party companies called Medicare Administrative Contractors and Quality Improvement Contractors, or MACs and QIOs respectively (as they are called), which review appeals of …

Must a Doctor or Hospital Comply with a Patient’s Living Will and Advance Healthcare Directive Under New Jersey Law

HNW Elder Care Law, Elder Law

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. a Freehold Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey Elder Law and Healthcare Directive Attorney This recent case raises issues concerning the legal obligations imposed on health care providers when a patient’s health care directive conflicts with the healthcare providers’ professional opinion(s) that the requested care is medically ineffective and may cause harm. Here are the facts, Elizabeth Alexander, a 70 year old woman suffering from end stage terminal pancreatic cancer, died four days after she was transferred from a skilled nursing facility to a hospital.  Elizabeth had an advance health care directive stating she wanted all measures taken to prolong her life.   Defendants declined to provide Elizabeth with certain advanced life support measures on the basis …

Can a Creditor Execute a Judgment Against a Life Estate in New Jersey Real Estate?

HNW Elder Care Law, Elder Law

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. a Freehold Township, Monmouth County NJ Elder Law Attorney A client has a life estate in his home with the remainder interest (a remainder interest is an “ownership interest”) having been given to family members, specifically his children. I was asked to determine if a legal judgment would attach to his real estate during his life time or after his demise. The answer is:  A life estate does not give a creditor of a person who has a life estate a right to execute their judgment against his life estate and certainly no right to execute against the remainder interest of his real estate.  The reason is that the holder of the life estate’s interest dies …