Speaking Engagment with Kris Maser

Date/Time: Monday, July 22, 2013 • 11:00 am – 7:00 pm

Location: Wayzata Town Hall

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The annual event supports NPFM’s Respite Care Grant Program. Registration & lunch begin at 11 am, the shotgun start is a 12 noon and dinner is served at 6 pm.

Facts About Alzheimer’s Disease:

  • The largest cost in the care of a person with Alzheimer’s disease is in long-term care in a nursing home. The average monthly cost of a nursing home in Minnesota is in excess of $5,000.00.
  • In Minnesota there are nearly 200,000 people who are caregivers for persons with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
  • In the United States there are an estimated 5.4 million people who have Alzheimer’s disease.
  • 1 in 8 older Americans has Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Nearly 1/3 of all persons with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease live alone without caregivers nearby.
  • The proportion of people with Alzheimer’s disease doubles every 5 years after the age of 65. For people over the age of 85, one out of every 2 people have dementia or some form of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care valued at $210 billion for persons with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.
  • Payments for care are estimated to be $200 billion in the United States in 2012.
  • Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States
  • Alzheimer’s disease is among the top 10 diseases in the United States that cannot be prevented or cured.

10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease:

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life.

2. Challenges in planning or solving problems

3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work or leisure.

4. Confusion with time or place.

5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.

6. New problems with words in speaking and writing.

7. Misplacing thinks and losing the ability to retrace one’s steps.

8. Increase in poor judgment.

9. Withdrawal from work or social activities.

10. Changes in one’s mood or personality.

Dealing with the Denial of Your Long-Term Care Insurance Claim

With the current cost of long-term care services, may people choose to purchase long-term care (LTC) insurance policies to help subsidize these costs. While LTC policies are integral to many life care plans, LTC claims are often denied, leaving the insured in the difficult position of paying significant out-of-pocket expenses that should have been covered by the LTC policy.

When LTC claims are denied, the insurer has an obligation to specify the exact basis for its denial. Typically, this is done in what is called a denial letter. If the specific reason for denial is not given, you should immediately seek the basis for the denial from the insurer.

Once you know the basis for the denial, many policies allow the insured to provide the insurer with additional information to support the claim. If you have additional information that you believe supports the LTC claim, you may want to provide the insurer with this information.

Most policies also provide for an internal appeal of the denial. The time by which you must appeal a denial of LTC benefits is usually found in the policy; however, if it is not, you should clarify the appeal time with the representative who sent the denial letter. An appeal is typically a written statement outlining the basis for the claim and the LTC policy covers the claim.

Once all appeals allowed under the policy have been exhausted and the insurer continues to deny benefits, you may file a lawsuit against the LTC insurer for breaching its LTC insurance contract.

Strategies for dealing with a denial of LTC benefits vary depending on the basis for the denial, but you do not have to accept a denial of LTC benefits. If you believe that benefits should be paid under the policy, you should not let the insurer simply deny benefits. Doing so could have a significant negative impact, both financially and emotionally.

Isaac I. Tyroler
Associate Attorney
Maser Amundson, P.A.

Effective January 1, 2013 Annual Exclusion Rate for Gifts Will Increase to $14,000

Effective January 1, 2013, the annual exclusion rate for gifts will increase to $14,000, up from $13,000 in 2012. What does this mean?

This means that a person can gift $14,000 per year to any individual without having to file a gift tax return. So I could gift $14,0000 to each of my children and my husband could also gift $14,000 to each child. So effectively a couple could transfer $28,000 to each child without having to file a gift tax return. Assuming the children are stable and can handle money appropriately, this may be a means, among others, to reduce the Minnesota estate tax that would be imposed on estates in excess of $1,000,000.

Kris L. Maser
Attorney at Law

Lessons Learned for the Care Provider Team (Part 2 of 2)

…continued

The GP recently modified a prescription given by the nephrologist and changed the dosage of Sophie’s blood pressure medication. Even though Sophie’s grandson knows what medications she has, he is not sure that she is actually taking them.

Sophie and her grandson live together. Grandson works during the day and is frequently out in the evening. Grandson cooks dinner for Sophie when he is home in the evening.

It took the combination of Sophie’s grandson, two daughters and daughter-in-law to piece together information about Sophie as to what was happening at home and with her care providers. In the end, Sophie was fine and her medications were adjusted to avoid this situation happening again.

What my friend learned from this event is as follows:
1. Perhaps more than one person should be on the health care directive, either acting together or as an alternate.
2. The health care directive should be reviewed more frequently and discussion should include Sophie and her family. (Sophie’s health care directive was executed 20 years old.)
3. The health care proxy should be able to be contacted and available. The proxy was unavailable for some time.
4. The family needs to develop a plan for Sophie’s care.
5. Someone needs to monitor Sophie’s medications and set up the medical alert bracelet.
6. The family needs to discuss the role of the grandson in living with Sophie.
7. Communication among family members and organization of Sophie’s care is an ongoing responsibility.

Kris L. Maser
Attorney at Law

Lessons Learned for the Care Provider Team (Part 1 of 2)

Another uneventful Sunday was planned by a friend of mine. She was to meet Sophie, her 90 year old mother-in-law, at church for the Sunday service. But this Sunday didn’t go as

Kris Maser Attorney at Law

planned. Sophie arrived late and found her daughter-in-law already in the pew. The church service began with the call to prayer and as the congregation stood, Sophie collapsed in the pew.

911 was called, the paramedics arrived and Sophie was taken to the hospital. A decision was made to keep Sophie overnight in the hospital for observation and further tests. At the hospital, the daughter-in-law discovered that although she thought her cell phone was up to date on all the family’s contacts, it wasn’t. A call was placed to a family member to locate other family members and the health care proxy.

The grandson arrived at the hospital, then one daughter, then much later a second daughter (the health care proxy). In the interim, daughter-in-law is asked a number of questions about Sophie’s health status. The daughter-in-law couldn’t answer most of the questions.

In the course of this hospitalization they learned that daughter #1 takes Sophie to her general practitioner, daughter #2 takes Sophie to her nephrologist. Daughters are often mad at each other and don’t always communicate with each other.

To be continued…

Eleanor Roosevelt Quote – Food For Thought

Kris Maser Attorney at Law

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift; that’s why they call it the present”

I just ran across this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt as I was crabbing to a co-worker about how hot it will be today. I stopped crabbing and got to work. I’m happy to be here today. Glad to see my co-workers and thankful my family is safe.

What is a Trust Protector?

Kris Maser Attorney at Law

A Trust Protector is neither a trustee of the trust nor a beneficiary of the trust. Generally, the Trust Protector should also not be the grantor, the grantor’s spouse or any other person who has contributed or will contribute funds to the trust.

The Trust Protector is the person named in the trust to provide independent oversight to accomplish the stated purpose of the trust. Trust protectors can enhance the trust’s original purpose specifically when the Trust Protector is included in a Special Needs Trust. For example, a Trust Protector in a Special Needs Trust could be given the responsibility to over see the beneficiary’s needs and advise the trustee as to what is needed for the care and comfort of the beneficiary. The Trust Protector could also be empowered to determine appropriate placement for the beneficiary and to follow up on the care provided to the beneficiary.

Do Your Homework When Working With A Financial Advisor

Kris Maser Attorney at Law

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc., (FINRA) the brokerage industry’s largest regulator, has issued a warning against financial advisors using authoritative-sounding titles like “certified senior advisor” or “certified retirement counselor” because the use of these misleading designations has become so wide spread. Sometimes these designations are no more than “weekend” designations obtained by attending a hotel seminar. Some of these designations don’t require a high school education or a college diploma.

Go to FINRA Regulatory Notice 11-52 for more information.

When working with a financial advisor please do your homework: ask for references, review the financial planner’s background including the time she/he has been in business as well as his or her education history.

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