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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 10, 2006 / 14 Tamuz, 5766

Lack of planning creates financial mess

By Jan L. Warner & Jan Collins


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q: My husband and I haven't lived together for 27 years, but we never got a divorce. We have three grown children. When we parted ways, he bought my interest in the home where he now lives. I retired after working for a bank and live alone. I bought my own home, which is paid for, and I have a pension, savings and a small vacation home. I heard he has had a live-in girlfriend for the past dozen or so years, but I have not seen or heard from him since I left.


Last week, one of our children called and told me that their father (now age 68) had a stroke that left him paralyzed and totally incompetent, meaning he would be put in a nursing home for the rest of his life.


I decided to make the trip to see him and was shocked not only by his condition but also by the financial mess. Apparently, Medicare will pay in full for only the first 20 days, and then the cost will be more than $6,000 per month. His income, including Social Security and his pension, is only $2,200 monthly. He owns a half-interest in his home (he gave the other half to his girlfriend, who also has her name on all of his bank accounts), $25,000 in the bank and $15,000 in an IRA.


Since he never signed a financial or health-care power of attorney, I, as the "wife," am the only person to whom the nursing home and doctors will talk. They sent me to the Medicaid office to talk about his future care, and I learned that for him to qualify, his assets could not be more than $2,000 plus his house, which does not count. But they also tell me that my assets count, too — even though we have not lived together for 27 years, and I acquired the vast majority of what I now have with my own money. While I feel bad for him, I'm not willing to give up 27 years of hard work to pay for his care. Can I divorce him now? Is there anything I can do short of divorce?


A: Your question raises a myriad of complicated issues, many of which could have been solved by a modicum of planning. Leaving aside for a moment who will be making his health-care decisions, under federal law, at the time a Medicaid application is filed, the "nursing home" spouse will be able to keep $2,000 in countable resources along with certain excluded resources, such as a primary residence. Since you and he are still married, in Medicaid's eyes you are the "community spouse," and your assets are relevant to your husband's qualification. Depending on the limits set by his state of residence, as community spouse you can have a "spousal share" of between $19,908 and $99,540 of countable resources (2006 figures) without affecting his Medicaid eligibility. There are also income rules that, because of space, will not be addressed here.


Clearly, had you and he divorced, none of these questions would have arisen because federal law does not allow states to consider the income or resources of nonspouses in either determining an adult person's eligibility for Medicaid or collecting reimbursement for amounts paid by the state for services provided to that person. For that very same reason, his girlfriend, who owns a half-interest in his home, cannot be made to support him, but your husband's gift to her of a half-interest in that home could well penalize him, depending on when the gift was made and the value of the home. Whether you can divorce an incompetent spouse will depend on the law of his state of residence, and we suggest you contact an experienced matrimonial lawyer immediately.


In our view, because your husband has no power of attorney, one of your children should apply to be appointed as his "conservator" by your local probate court. In this way, one of the children will be able to make independent decisions about selling his assets. If health-care decision-making is an issue, one of the children can be appointed as guardian by the probate court or, under the adult health-care consent act in your state, if you refuse to act, your children are next in line.


Because you and your husband have conflicting interests, the ability to plan will be made more difficult, and many of the potential planning techniques used to protect assets have been lost due to last-minute scrambling.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JAN L. WARNER received his A.B. and J.D. degrees from the University of South Carolina and earned a Master of Legal Letters (L.L.M.) in Taxation from the Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a frequent lecturer at legal education and public information programs throughout the United States. His articles have been published in national and state legal publications. Jan Collins began co-authoring Flying SoloŽ in 1989. She has more than 27 years of experience as a journalist, writer, and editor. To comment or ask a question, please click here.

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