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Ohio Trust Law News

Wednesday, 13 July 2011 14:47

dollar_signOlder adults caught a break when a controversial amendment to Ohio’s trust law was removed at the last moment from the State budget bill.  The amendment would have deprived widows or widowers over 65 of the chance to set aside a little money to help take care of themselves if they needed Medicaid.  If one is in a nursing home or an assisted living facility, qualifying for Medicaid  means having less than $1,500 in assets, and only $40 - $50/month “spending money.”  Hardly enough to pay for TV or phone service, get one’s hair done, and buy a box of candy.  We look for the proposal to be introduced again, but at least it will not be buried in a 5,000-page piece of legislation.


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What is a Certified Elder Law Attorney and Why Does it Matter?

Thursday, 26 May 2011 11:38

attorney_with_coupleOnly 25 lawyers in Ohio are Certified Elder Law Attorneys (CELAs) and one of them are here at Hickman & Lowder.  But what does that certification mean?  Aren’t certifications as common as plaques on the wall?

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Is Preparing Your Will Worse Than a Root Canal?

Wednesday, 18 May 2011 06:55

dentist_toolsA recent survey conducted by Rocket Lawyer indicates that 57% of adults do not have a Last Will and Testament.  The same survey determined that 32% of Americans would rather prepare their taxes, get a root canal, or give up sex for a month than create or update their Will.  Is preparing your Will that bad?

We don’t like to think so, especially if you consider the alternatives.  In Ohio, if you pass away without a Will, the State essentially prepares one for you by enforcing the intestacy statute.  The law will distribute your assets equally to your children at your death if you do not have a living spouse.  This is especially troublesome if you have a child dependent on public benefits (the inheritance could jeopardize their Medicaid, Waiver, or SSI eligibility) or if your child is not capable of managing assets.  If you are survived by your spouse, and that spouse is also the parent of all of your children, then the spouse receives your entire estate.  If your surviving spouse is not the adoptive or natural parent of one or more of your children, then a formula is imposed to divide the estate among your spouse and eligible children.  The state will continue to go up and down the family tree to find an heir, and in rare cases where there is not an heir, the estate will “escheat,” or be distributed, to the state.

Sometimes a spouse doesn’t want to leave all of their assets to their surviving spouse or children, especially if their surviving spouse or child is in a nursing home, disabled, or unable to manage the assets.  We work with the elderly and people of any age with disabilities, and their loved ones, to help determine how assets can be distributed at the owner’s death.  This is accomplished by a Will, beneficiary designations, and other estate planning documents.

So cancel that voluntary root canal appointment and make time to review your estate plans today!

- Posted by Amanda Buzo

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CMS Approves Individual Option Waiver Amendment

Wednesday, 11 May 2011 14:10

The following information appeared in the May 11, 2011, issue of Pipeline, a publication of the Ohio Department of Disabilities:

On May 6, DODD received notification that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved the most recent amendment to the DODD-operated Individual Options (IO) waiver. In accordance with the approved amendment, the following changes will be in effect as of July 15, 2011:

Freedom of Choice Form
County Boards of DD no longer will be required to send the Freedom of Choice form (indicating that an individual wishes to be on a waiver instead of residing in an institution) to DODD’s Medicaid Waiver Unit as part of the Initial and Re-Determination Waiver Packets. County Boards must continue to maintain copies of the signed Freedom of Choice form in the individual’s file at the local level, however.

Four New Services
The following four new services will be available under the IO waiver pending approval of corresponding Administrative Rules, which are currently being reviewed by JCARR:

Remote Monitoring: The monitoring of an individual in his or her residence by remote monitoring staff using one or more of the following systems: live video feed; live audio feed; motion sensing system; radio frequency identification; web-based monitoring system; or, other device approved by the Department. The system shall include devices to engage in live two-way communication with the individual being monitored as described in the individual's ISP. To address potential issues of privacy, informed consent for using this service will be documented in the ISP. Remote Monitoring shall be used only to reduce or replace the amount of Homemaker/Personal Care an individual needs.

  • Remote Monitoring Equipment: Defined as the equipment used to operate systems   such as: live video feed; live audio feed; motion sensing system; radio frequency identification; web-based monitoring system; or, other device approved by the Department. It also includes the equipment used to engage in live two-way communication with the individual being monitored. Individuals will be required to lease, rather than purchase, Remote Monitoring Equipment. 

Community Respite: Services provided to individuals unable to care for themselves, that are furnished on a short-term basis due to the absence (or need for relief ) of those persons who normally provide care for the individuals. Community Respite shall be provided only outside of an individual’s home in a camp, recreation center, or other place where an organized community program or activity occurs. Community Respite is limited to 60 calendar days of service per waiver eligibility span.  

Adult Family Living: Similar in nature to Adult Foster Care, Adult Family Living means personal care and support services provided to an adult by a caregiver who is related and lives with the individual receiving services.  Adult Family Living is provided in conjunction with residing in the home, and is part of the rythm of life that naturally occurrs when people live together as a family. 

Respite service as currently defined under the IO Waiver has been modified in the following ways:

  • The service name has been changed to Residential Respite;
  • The types of providers have been amended. This service now may be provided in unlicensed residential settings; and
  • A 90 calendar-day limitation has been placed on the use of this service.

In addition, clarification has been made regarding the subject of guardians being paid providers, which states that unrelated guardians cannot provide waiver services to those individuals for whom they are guardians.

Posted by Franklin Hickman

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