The information discussed and/or provided is not intended as legal advice and persons should not rely on anything posted on this blog. Please also be advised that no attorney-client relationship is established until the firm has been contacted by telephone and an appointment made to discuss your situation with us.

When You Should Take Social Security Retirement Benefits

January 19, 2017

Social Security presents people with a choice as to when to take Social Security retirement benefits. People can elect to take retirement benefits as early as 62 years old, at full retirement age, or as late as 70.

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Estate Planning Isn’t Just for the Elderly

January 12, 2017

The recent deaths of Carrie Fisher at the age of 60 and George Michael at the age of 53 are a reminders that death or incapacity does not necessarily wait until old age to strike. If even wealthy, well-connected individuals still seemingly in the midst of productive lives can be struck down, then the same could happen to any of us. It is important for all adults to plan, not only for death, but also a potential incapacity due to illness or disability.

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Providing for a Disabled Child’s Future

January 5, 2017

When planning for the support of children with disabilities a living, or stand-alone, special needs trust can be an important tool. On a basic level, a special needs trust is a trust designed to receive and hold assets while still allowing the trust beneficiary to maintain eligibility for government benefits. In the absence of a trust, gifts or assistance given to a disabled individual could endanger their eligibility for means-tested government benefits. In terms of Medicaid coverage, a loss of eligibility could mean they lose access to health care until they regain eligibility.

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Signs of Elderly Financial Exploitation

December 29, 2016

The accumulation of a lifetime’s savings, increased likelihood of diminished mental capacity, and an increased physical dependence on others make the elderly popular targets for financial exploitation. This post will discuss some of the signs that an elderly loved one may be experiencing financial exploitation.

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Special Needs Trust Fairness Act Signed

December 15, 2016

Included in the 21st Century Cures Act, the legislation known as the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act was signed into law earlier this month.

In short, a Special Needs Trust can now be established by a disabled person directly. A Special Needs Trust is a specific type of trust that allows for disabled individuals to hold and receive assets while still maintaining eligibility for government benefits.

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Court Blocks New Regulation Banning Arbitration in Nursing Home Contracts

December 8, 2016

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) had issued a new regulation that would have effectively banned mandatory arbitration clauses in nursing home admissions contracts.

A previous blog post discussed some of the problems with forced arbitration in nursing home contracts: Dangers of Forced Arbitration in Nursing Home Contracts

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Small Increase in Social Security Benefits for 2017

November 28, 2016

After benefits for 2016 saw no increase, Social Security benefits are set to rise by 0.3 percent in 2017. The current average benefit check is $1305.30 per month. The 0.3 percent increase will mean that the average benefit check will only receive an increase of $3.92 per month.

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Types of Dementia

November 21, 2016

The risk of dementia, broadly defined as a loss of mental function to the point where symptoms hinder a person’s ability to live and function independently, grows significantly as people age. As many as five to eight percent of people over 65 have some form of dementia. Over half of people 85 or older may have some form of dementia.

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Estate Planning and Second Marriages

November 7, 2016

The standard estate plan for two spouses is for each spouse to leave everything to the surviving spouse and then for the surviving spouse to provide for any children and other beneficiaries in their estate plan.

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Pain, Compassion, and the Elderly

October 28, 2016

When it comes to interacting with the elderly, and especially those suffering from forms of dementia, it is important to realize the extent to which chronic pain may be impacting their lives. Grumpier attitudes and newly aggressive behaviors should not be taken as personal insults but should instead be looked at with compassion as these worsening tendencies may be signs that someone is suffering through pain. Some people believe pain is something you do not complain about and just try to live through. Some people suffering from dementia may have difficulty communicating that they are living with pain. Either way it may be up to a person’s loved ones and those around an individual to detect that they may have a problem with pain.

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Martha C. Brown & Associates, LLC assist clients with Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Jefferson County, Franklin County and the surrounding areas including Arnold, Ballwin, Barnhart, Bellefontaine Neighbors, Black Jack, Bonne Terre, Brentwood, Bridgeton, Cedar Hill, Chesterfield, Clayton, Crestwood, Creve Coeur, Crystal City, Des Peres, DeSoto, Ellisville, Farmington, Fenton, Festus, Ferguson, Florissant, Fredericktown, Frontenac, Hazelwood, Herculaneum, High Ridge, Hillsboro, House Springs, Imperial, Kirkwood, Ladue, Lake St. Louis, Manchester, Maplewood, Maryland Heights, Mehlville, Normandy, O'Fallon, Olivette, Pacific, Pevely, Richmond Heights, St. Ann, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Peters, Ste. Genevieve, Sunset Hills, Town & Country, University City, Union, Valley Park, Washington, Webster Groves, Wentzville , Wildwood.