The Importance of a Power of Attorney

In previous editions of the Elder Law Today, we have emphasized the importance of having a power of attorney. Without a comprehensive power of attorney, many people are unable to handle the financial affairs of their loved ones, nor make health care decisions without court intervention (conservatorship and guardianship). Unfortunately, it continues to be our experience that many people, including financial advisors, accountants and even some attorneys do not understand what exactly is a power of attorney and why it is so important to have one. Clients often come into our office assuming that, just because they are married or are a joint owner of assets, they are able to sell or transfer

The New Michigan Trust Code

On April 1, 2010 the new Michigan Trust Code (MTC) took effect. According the MTC committee, the new trust code represents a continuation of the modernization of Michigan’s law governing estates and trusts which began in 2000 with the Estates and Protected Individuals Code (EPIC). The primary purpose of the MTC is to provide a single, comprehensive source of law for trusts in Michigan. Although there are some important new provisions, the MTC generally preserves existing law absent some significant reason to change. In light of the new law, it may be a very good idea to review your trust to determine if any changes are necessary. Fortunately, you are not required to amend your trust, al

So What is Elder Law and Why Are You an Elder Law Attorney?

What is Elder Law? More than 20 years ago, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) began. Its primary purpose was to improve the quality of legal services provided to seniors and individuals with special needs. Since that time, NAELA has grown to over 4,000 members and each State Bar, including Michigan’s, now has an Elder Law section. Despite more than 20 years as a recognized legal specialty, most people still do not know exactly what is elder law. In fact, I am often asked what it is that I do as an elder law attorney. When most people hear the phrase “elder law”, generally what comes to mind is something to do primarily with seniors, like Medicare or Social Security.

The Michigan Choice Waiver Program

In previous issues of Elder Law Today, we have written about the Michigan Choice Waiver Program (MI Choice Waiver Program). This program provides home and community based long term care services to persons who are elderly or physically disabled. It is designed to allow persons to receive nursing home type services in their own home, licensed Adult Foster Care (AFC) or Home for the Aged (HFA) rather than having to reside in a nursing home. In a nutshell, the program supports individuals who would otherwise need nursing facility services. A fundamental problem with the program however, was the waiting list that quickly developed due to the number of people trying to qualify. It was not unc

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