Elder Law

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Assisted Suicide Now Legal In Washington, D.C.

By Michael T. Lahti

The Washington, D.C. city council recently passed an aid-in-dying law that was signed by the mayor. Congress had 30 days to overturn it; but the 30 days period expired last week, and the law became effective on February 18, 2017.  

Although there was a resolution from the House Oversight Committee, the resolution wasn't voted on by the House, so the law became effective.  This makes Washington, D.C., the seventh place in the U.S. to legalize assisted suicide.  

Read more . . .

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Durable Powers of Attorney Have a “Shelf Life”

By Mia H. Lahti

For years we’ve been telling our clients to sign and update durable powers of attorney. The reason is that older powers of attorney can become “stale”.

We found an article in the New York Times last month that sheds light on new problems that can still arise after you’ve updated and signed a “POA”.  The article discussed how occasionally financial institutions will not honor a POA that’s not on the institution’s own form.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Florida Changes its Designation of Health Care Surrogate Law

By Michael T. Lahti

In a substantive change to its laws, Florida now allows a Designation of Health Care Surrogate, or“DHCS,”, to be effective immediately upon signing, rather than empowering the surrogate only when the patient's physician(s) have determined that he or she is no longer capable of making those decisions.

This question gives the client the choice of using that new approach or continuing the traditional requirement of a finding of incapacity. This is a new theory that will require some fleshing out from experience to see how it works in the real world; the legislature was quick to point out in its suggested form under §765.203 that the principal's decisions are controlling ("While I have decision-making capacity, my wishes are controlling and my physicians and health care providers must clearly communicate to me the treatment plan or any change to the treatment plan prior to its implementation.")

Read more . . .

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Very Significant Changes Possible in Rhode Island

By Michael T. Lahti

The Rhode Island Reinventing Medicaid Act of 2015 (the “Act”) contains legislation that could have a profound effect upon residents in Rhode Island.  The legislation appears to be hastily drafted and, frankly, contains parts that are more restrictive than federal law provides, which might lead to parts being pulled from the legislation or if passed, struck down.  In a nutshell, the legislation is attempting to turn Rhode Island into a very “unfriendly” state for seniors who need nursing home care.  Here is a quick listing of some of the key points of the legislation. 

Read more . . .

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Important Nursing Home Planning Legislation to Track

By Michael T. Lahti

A new bill has been put forth in Congress that would modify the way a “healthy” spouse’s income from an annuity would be treated when a “sick” spouse is in a nursing home. Specifically, the proposed change would require part of the income to be available to the spouse in a nursing home (where it would need to be spent on care).

Read more . . .

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Major Legal Changes Proposed for Veterans

By Michael T. Lahti 

Comprehensive proposed changes to the Veterans Administration (“VA”) laws were published on January 23, 2015.  The changes would affect how the VA covers net worth, asset transfers and income exclusions for needs-based benefits.   The rules were issue to “maintain the integrity of the pension program and to implement recent statutory changes” and to “respond to recent recommendations made by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), to maintain the integrity of VA’s needs- based benefit programs, and to clarify and address issues necessary for the consistent adjudication of pension and parents’ dependency and indemnity compensation claims.”

Read more . . .

Friday, January 16, 2015

Snow-Bird Issues

By Michael T. Lahti

Many clients for many reasons move to Florida.  Some typical reasons include better weather, better taxes, and better asset protection.  We provide counsel to our clients on the right way to do this.  Some clients inquire about having one spouse reside “north,” while the other resides in Florida.  I have always preached caution when clients want to do this, and a recent Rhode Island administrative hearing decision shows why.

Read more . . .

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