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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 Dec. 19, 2005 / 18 Kislev, 5766

Power of attorney can be a powerful solution

By Jan L. Warner & Jan Collins


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Question: My husband suffered a stroke at age 67 which left him with permanent brain damage, paralysis, and unable to take care of himself. He was discharged from the hospital to a nursing home for rehabilitation and, when he reached maximum improvement earlier this month, his Medicare and Medigap coverage stopped. I just received a bill for the balance of this month at $180 per day - that will be in addition to adult diapers, prescriptions, etc. We are far from able to afford this, and I have health problems of my own. I looked into Medicaid, but they say we have too many assets.


The home is worth $125,000 and in his name. He has an IRA with a $75,000 balance, a CD with $60,000, and a car. I have nothing in my name except a joint checking account into which his Social Security and mine (total of $1,455.00 monthly) is deposited. He refused to sign a power of attorney and is now unable to do so.


At 65, with nothing in my name and being unable to even pay the bills, I borrowed money from my son to hire a lawyer and was appointed as my husband's guardian. My husband's will leaves everything to me, but that is not doing me any good now. So my lawyer asked the judge to allow me to transfer the home and part of the money into my name to protect it, but she refused, saying that I could stay in the house, but I would have to make a budget and take enough money from my husband's IRA and CD to pay his expenses and mine. I was told that if the house was sold, the money would be kept in his name and used up in the same fashion. I was told that I was a "fiduciary" for my husband, and could not be allowed to transfer his assets into my name.


I have been married for 45 years and I have nothing to show for it. If my husband lives long enough, everything will be gone, and I will be destitute. The judge says that she must protect my husband's assets. Is there anything that can be done to protect me?


Answer: Unfortunately, situations like yours are becoming more and more common because individuals like your husband refuse to plan in advance by signing durable financial powers of attorney. Based on the length of your marriage, your husband should have shared the economic fruits of both of your labors with you and, in our opinion, should have granted you broad gifting authority in a durable power of attorney that would have allowed you to transfer assets into your name - other than the IRA which is not transferable — without the necessity of court intervention just to pay your bills.


While current Medicaid law assesses periods of ineligibility for Medicaid benefits when a spouse transfers assets for less than fair market value within 36 months before the Medicaid application is made, the law also recognizes that it would be against public policy to force you, the "community spouse", to use all the combined marital assets to support the "institutionalized spouse" (your husband), therefore impoverishing both of you. For that reason, federal law includes "Community Spouse Resource Allowance" and "Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance" provisions for spouses who are left in the community.


Under current law, there is no period of Medicaid ineligibility if an institutionalized person transfers his or her interest in a home and other assets to his or her spouse. Our research indicates that even without a durable power of attorney, this type of planning can be done for an incapacitated person through "substituted judgment" exercised by a guardian so as not to deprive the incapacitated person of the legal rights that are available to competent individuals. "Substituted judgment" means that courts have the authority to deal with the property of an incompetent person just as that person would have done so if he or she was functioning at full capacity.


Because current state and federal Medicaid laws allow transfers of assets between spouses without penalty, we believe that these transfers should be allowed, and are not contrary to public policy or your fiduciary duty to your husband. We believe that equal protection and inherent fairness require that your husband be given the same opportunity to use planning techniques as those who have capacity. Since your life expectancy is significant, your economic survival in later years requires that your lawyer revisit these issues with the judge.


Taking The NextStep: The last thing people need at times of crisis is the inability to take appropriate actions without court intervention. The problems and expense faced by this family could have been totally avoided had there been in place a durable power of attorney with appropriate gifting provisions. The cost of taking this important step is much less than the alternative. An appropriately drafted durable power of attorney is the most important planning tool available to families in crisis.

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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