All posts by cconboy

When a loved one gets ill, most families are venturing into unchartered waters. The options for long term care are extensive and finding the right fit can seem like an impossible task during this emotional time. A good first step before looking into long term care options is to make sure that your loved one’s health has been properly assessed. Once a medical professional has completed an examination, he or she will be able to determine the level of care that your loved one will require. This will arm you with vital information and help to narrow your search. You can then assist your loved one in finding the best care arrangement to suit their needs.

At Zacharia Brown, when we meet with families to discuss care options, many people indicate that their elderly loved one would like to remain at home, if at all possible. If your loved one does want to stay at home, there are different types of assistance available to help them remain there safely. In-home assistance can be provided by home health care agencies for daily living tasks like cooking, cleaning, dressing, grooming, bathing and even companionship. Most of these agencies offer assistance from a minimum of 2 hours up to a maximum of 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Additionally, for care outside of the home, Adult Day Care centers offer meals, activities and often transportation.

An Independent Living Community is an option for healthier individuals who choose not to remain in their home. These communities offer maintenance-free lifestyles, social activities and other amenities. Another choice for people entering into a care community while still in good health is a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). These CCRCs offer amenities similar to those found at the Independent Living Communities, but they also provide residents with a comprehensive, lifetime range of care from independent living to nursing care at the same campus. Most CCRCs require a one-time entrance fee in addition to a monthly rental fee.

An Assisted Living Community may be an appropriate option if your loved one needs assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, incontinence care, and meal preparation. Memory Care, also known as Alzheimer’s care or dementia care, is a long-term residential care arrangement specially designed for residents with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other cognitive impairments. Memory Care is often provided within a separate section of an assisted living community or skilled nursing facility. This type of residential care may be the best option for an older adult with severe memory loss or cognitive decline who is no longer able to live independently.

Finally, a Nursing Home is often the first stop for those who need to receive physical, occupational, and other rehabilitative therapies due to a serious medical event or after surgery. For many, the therapy and rehabilitation is not enough and permanent placement in the nursing home is required. Skilled Nursing Care is a permanent placement for those who require continual nursing care and have significant difficulty coping with the required activities of daily living.

The knowledgeable and compassionate attorneys at Zacharia Brown are well equipped to help you evaluate the many care options available to your loved one and find the best solution for your family. Please contact us at 724.942.6200 or visit PittsburghElderLaw.com  to make an appointment today.

Last week, we discussed the importance of creating a Life Care Plan to assist families in finding an appropriate Long Term Care solution for their loved one. This week, we will begin to explore some of the things you may want to consider when examining a transition to long term care.

When researching housing options for older individuals, there are several steps involved in finding a good match. The first step in this process is often dictated by the health of the prospective resident(s), and will determine the type of living arrangement that is most suitable. There are many different types of housing options to choose from ranging from no assistance at all (Independent Living); to varying degrees of assistance (Home with home care agency assistance, adult day care and/or respite care, Continuing Care Retirement Communities, Assisted Living, and Memory Care); to the highest level of assistance (Skilled Nursing Care and Rehab); and finally end of life care (Palliative Care, Hospice Care and Respite Care). We will discuss each of these options in more detail next week.

Just as there are various considerations when looking for your first home (neighborhood, schools, friends, family, etc.), there are also important considerations to be examined when choosing what may be you or your loved one’s last residence. One issue to be weighed is whether it is best to remain close to one’s current hometown and friends or to relocate to be close to family. For some seniors, their children have remained close to home so this is a non-issue. However, when children have moved away, this may become one of the more difficult choices to be made and will very likely affect a person’s transition into a new residence. Many seniors have formed close bonds with longtime friends and taking them away from that support and continuity may have a detrimental effect. However, if many of their friends have moved or passed away, it may in fact help their transition to be closer to the love and support of their children and grandchildren.

If a loved one is still in relatively good health and they do not require skilled nursing care, other personal preferences that can be taken into account are meals, transportation and activities. Some seniors are very social and will enjoy participating in trips, group activities and mealtimes. Others may prefer a quieter environment where they are left to form their own friendships, cook their meals and socialize at their own pace. Choosing an environment that does not fit with one’s personality may result in a tough transition and an additional move. The best way to determine if a residence is a good fit is to visit the community on several occasions and ask plenty of questions.

Finally, the most important step in starting this process is to contact Zacharia Brown and meet with a knowledgeable Elder Law Attorney and our experienced Elder Care Coordinator. We work closely together as a team to educate and guide you through the legal, financial and personal considerations to ensure the best transition possible for you and your family. Please contact us at 724.942.6200 or visit PittsburghElderLaw.com  to make an appointment today.

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In the area of Estate Planning, one common misconception many people share is that the entirety of their assets will be distributed in accordance with their Last Will and Testament. For instance, if a person’s Will states that their estate is to be divided equally between their three children, many people incorrectly assume that each child will receive 1/3 of ALL of that individual’s various assets. This may not be the case!

So what exactly does a Will provide? Your Last Will and Testament is a legal document which allows you to express in writing how and to whom your “estate” will be distributed. The assets that comprise your “estate” include personal property, real estate, and bank/investment accounts. Your estate does NOT include any assets that contain a proper beneficiary designation such as insurance polices, IRAs, Retirement Plans and certain other bank/investment accounts. These assets will pass outside of your Will and are distributed directly to the beneficiary that you have designated.

At Zacharia Brown, we know that it is extremely important for you to understand which legal documents and agreements control how and to whom your assets will pass. Once you have this knowledge, you will be able to make informed decisions regarding your overall estate plan and how the entirety of your assets will be distributed upon your passing.

OUR For more information on Wills and Zacharia Brown, please visit us at PittsburghElderLaw.com or call us at 724.942.6200. For ongoing news, seminars, events and updates, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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In the estate planning world, many people seek our counsel with regard
to creating or updating their Will or Trust. And while these documents
do serve specific functions regarding disposition of assets upon one’s
passing, many clients are neglecting to inquire about one of the most
important estate planning documents they will ever need, a Durable
Power of Attorney.

So what exactly is a Durable Power of Attorney? This powerful document
allows you to appoint an Agent to act on your behalf with regard to
Financial and Medical matters should you be unable to make and/or
communicate decisions on your own.

A Durable Financial Power of Attorney (POA) allows your Agent to have
access to your financial accounts and records so that he/she can
manage and make informed decisions regarding your financial affairs if
you are unable to do so. This document is not only essential in
allowing for day to day management of your finances, but also in
implementing asset protection planning for long term care.

A Durable Medical Power of Attorney (POA) and Living Trust allows an
Agent, also chosen by you, to have access to your doctors, medical
records and wishes for life sustaining treatments in order to make
medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated.
Having these documents in place ensure that you alone are the one who
is choosing a person to oversee your medical decisions, rather than
having someone appointed by a court.

When meeting with clients, the attorneys at Zacharia Brown take time
to discuss exactly why these documents are so important, especially
with regard to Estate and Elder Law Planning issues. We also stress
that since the law in this area is constantly evolving, it is
essential to get high-quality Power of Attorney documents from an
experienced Elder Law attorney.

For more information on Durable Powers of Attorney and Zacharia Brown,
please visit us at PittsburghElderLaw.com or call us at 724.942.6200

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At the start of a new year, it is inevitable that people will make one or several resolutions to accomplish in the year ahead. Unfortunately, in many cases, these resolutions fall by the wayside and are never completed. The start of 2017 is a perfect time to examine your personal situation and come up with a list of things to accomplish.

One important goal that should be at the top of everyone’s list is a review or creation of your estate plan, including a Will and/or Trust, Durable Financial and Medical Powers of Attorney, along with a Living Will/Health Care Directive. Creating these important documents will ensure that your wishes are carried out in the event something happens to you. Without these documents, important decisions regarding your healthcare and financial matters may be decided by someone you would not have chosen.

While many people believe that the creation of an estate plan is an onerous prospect, in reality, it is fairly painless process. At Zacharia Brown, we ensure that your time spent with us is both productive and easy so that we can prepare these important documents and put your mind at ease. Please contact us at 724.942.6200 or visit our website at PittsburghElderLaw.com to set up an appointment and keep this important New Year’s Resolution.

You will be glad that you did!