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Top Five Questions to Ask Nursing Home Administrators About the Pandemic
If you have a loved one currently in a nursing home, you may be concerned about the care received, risk of exposure to COVID19 and other deadly illnesses, and precautions being taken to ensure safety.

If you have a loved one currently in a nursing home, you may be concerned about the care received, risk of exposure to COVID19 and other deadly illnesses, and precautions being taken to ensure safety. Here are 5 questions to ask the nursing home administrator:

1. Has anyone tested positive? Start by asking if anyone has tested positive for COVID19. This includes patients, providers and staff.

2. What preventative measures are in place to detect infections? Ask if they are using thermometers to take the temperature of staff and visitors. Have they added plastic barriers at the front desk to prevent the exchange of respiratory droplets between staff and visitors, including delivery services and others that come into contact with the staff.

3. Are they using personal protective equipment (PPE) correctly and effectively? Do they have enough supplies? Make sure they have the resources they need in regards to PPE like masks, gloves and shields so that they can follow CDC guidelines and change between each patient interaction.

4. How often does the nursing home communicate with patients’ families and what efforts do they make to keep everyone connected and up-to-date? Learn the frequency and method of communication for updates on the virus as well as the rules for maintaining contact with loved ones.

5. Are they adequately staffed?Ask for patient to provider ratios to ensure the facility is not short staffed. Not having enough staff leads to exhausted, overworked and disgruntled employees who may not provide the level of care needed to stay safe during a pandemic.

For more information on long-term care planning, Medicaid planning or other Elder Law issues, please contact Stouffer Legal at 443-470-3599 in the Greater Baltimore area.

July 8, 2020
Live Webinar July 14th at 6pm-Now is the time to protect and plan!
Our webinars are designed to be educational, interactive, informative and generate relevant discussion for attendees. Modern Estate Planning is more than just preparing a will and putting it in a safe.

Live Webinar July 14th at 6pm-Now is the time to protect and plan!

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for July 14th at 6:00 PM

How to Protect your "Stuff" in 3 Easy Steps (Estate Planning Workshop)

This webinar covers frequently asked questions and common misconceptions regarding: Wills & Trust, Asset Protection, Nursing Home Issues, Medicaid Qualification, and Estate Taxes.

Please click to register for our webinar:

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for July 14th at 6:00 PM

Our webinars are designed to be educational, interactive, informative and generate relevant discussion for attendees. Modern Estate Planning is more than just preparing a will and putting it in a safe. Find out how a comprehensive Estate Plan will protect your assets and your family. Our experienced attorney, Wilson McManus, will be sharing stories on how Estate Planning is beneficial and sometimes crucial. In an Estate Plan, you need to know the Rules: Who's "Rule-book" controls your Estate Plan? Yours? The Governments? Someone else? You need to know your Predators: Who's a Threat to Your Stuff? The Government? Long-term Care Costs? Your Family? You need to know your Options: What Plans are out there? Does a Will work? What about a Trust? Which kind of Trust?

Please click to register for our webinar:

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for July 14th at 6:00 PM

Our workshops fill up fast, so please call (443) 470-3599 today to RSVP.

July 7, 2020
Avoiding Caretaker Burnout: Causes and Solutions
Many seniors rely on caretakers to assist them with daily living. These caretakers may be paid or unpaid, family or no relation. Regardless of the situation, many caretakers give so much time and energy to those in their care that they often neglect their own needs.

Many seniors rely on caretakers to assist them with daily living. These caretakers may be paid or unpaid, family or no relation. Regardless of the situation, many caretakers give so much time and energy to those in their care that they often neglect their own needs. This can lead to caretaker burnout, a feeling of listlessness and lack of motivation resulting in mistakes, neglect and danger.

Causes of Caretaker Burnout

Lack of Privacy: A senior who needs around-the-clock care may be harmful to himself or others if a caretaker does not stay close by. This can lead to a lack of privacy for the caretaker to tend to his or her own needs.

Unreasonable Demands and/or Unrealistic Expectations

A caretaker who continues to give and give without receiving any appreciation or support may become resentful. The demands may come from the senior (who may or may not understand the impact of the demands) or from other family members (who may simply not understand the difficulty involved). This sets unrealistic expectations and the caretaker will often feel that the services provided are not measuring up.

Inadequate Resources

Caretaker burnout may result in situations where there is not enough money to pay for the needs of the senior and/or adequately compensate the caretaker. Other resources such as comfortable living spaces, easy access to food and medication and other caretakers to substitute in and take over when needed can also quickly spiral into burnout.

Some warning signs that a caretaker may be experiencing burnout include inability to complete daily tasks, lack of concentration, irritability or frustration towards the senior and others.

Solutions

1. Examine the caretaker’s schedule and make sure it is reasonable. Find replacement care when needed to give the caretaker necessary time off.

2. Consider delegating some of the tasks to other providers such as pharmacy and grocery delivery services, housekeeping and lawn services.

3. Ensure the caretaker properly takes care of his or her own health by eating nutritious meals, seeking healthcare services and finding time to exercise and socialize.

For more information on taking care of seniors and any questions about Elder Law, estate planning or long-term care planning, please contact Stouffer Legal at 443-470-3599 in the Greater Baltimore area.

July 6, 2020
What Happens to Timeshares During Probate?
Timeshares can be tricky because they often require huge maintenance fees and may not be used as often as intended when purchased.

Timeshares can be tricky because they often require huge maintenance fees and may not be used as often as intended when purchased. There are three common types of timeshares:

Fixed Time Period: You own a fraction of the overall property but receive a deeded contract for a specific unit for the same time period each year.

Floating Time Period: You own a fraction of the overall property and receive a deeded contract for a specific unit but you are allowed to choose different time periods from year to year.

Right to Use: This is a membership based contract where you lease, rather than own, the right to use the property according to the specific terms of the agreement.

The type of timeshare that you inherit will impact how it is handled during probate. If you inherit a deed based timeshare and it was not placed into a trust, it can be very cumbersome for the executor to sell, transfer or otherwise dispose of the timeshare, especially if it is located out of the state of Maryland. It is extremely difficult to sell a timeshare. There simply is not a high demand in the resale market. The maintenance fees imposed are a huge deterrent. Beware of companies claiming to buy you out of a timeshare. There are many scams associated with this practice.

If none of the beneficiaries plan to use the timeshare and no one wants to take responsibility for the maintenance fees associated with the property, then there may be a way to revert the timeshare during the probate process so that the property owner cancels the agreement based on the death of the owner.

The Maryland Real Estate Time-sharing Act regulates timeshare law under Maryland Code Title 11. If you need assistance in administering an estate that includes a timeshare property, contact the experienced attorneys at Stouffer Legal at 443-470-3599.

June 30, 2020
Using Intra-Family Loans to Accomplish Estate Planning Goals
Lending money to family members can be a very effective way for wealthier family members to help less wealthy family members buy homes, start businesses or get out of debt without the burden of outright gifting. There are rules they must be followed or the loan could be treated by tax authorities as a gift.

Lending money to family members can be a very effective way for wealthier family members to help less wealthy family members buy homes, start businesses or get out of debt without the burden of outright gifting. There are rules they must be followed or the loan could be treated by tax authorities as a gift.

First of all, interest must be charged at the federally mandated rate, known as the Applicable Federal Rate (AFR). The IRS sets the AFR as the minimum interest rate allowed for private loans. These rates are published monthly on the IRS website. Each month the IRS publishes 3 AFRs: short-term, mid-term and long-term rates and the term of the loan must correctly correspond to the AFR. If the interest on a loan is lower than the applicable AFR, it may result in a taxable event for the parties involved.

The 3 AFR terms are defined as:

Short-term: term is less than 3 years

Mid-term: term is up to 9 years

Long-term: term is more than 9 years.

Due to economic issues resulting from the COVID19 pandemic, the rates in April 2020 for a short-term loan were 1.18% and were lowered by the IRS in June 2020 to 0.23%. This is still well below bank loan rates and can help a family afford a home or business investment that could not otherwise be secured by traditional lenders. It may also simply be used to assist family members struggling with financial issues resulting from the pandemic.

The lender and borrower must construct the loan using the AFR that is published by the IRS at the time when the lender initially makes the loan. With such low rates, now may be the right time to consider making an intra-family loan to spread liquidity among family members.

The first $15,000 could be given as a gift and any amount above that structured as an intra-family loan. The IRS’ annual gift exclusion permits a taxpayer to gift up to $15,000 annually to each family member without penalty. Essentially, an individual could gift $15,000 to every person they know, but once any one gift recipient receives more than $15,000 from an individual donor in the calendar year, that donor must file a gift tax return. See IRS Publication 559

To discuss how to take advantage of the low AFRs by incorporating intra-family loans into your overall estate plan, contact Stouffer Legal at 443-470-3599 in the Greater Baltimore area.

June 30, 2020
Funeral and Internment Benefits Available to Veterans
The United States Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) offers financial assistance for burial and other related costs for veterans, their spouses and their dependent children.

The United States Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) offers financial assistance for burial and other related costs for veterans, their spouses and their dependent children.

Free Burial

Currently, the VA manages 136 national cemeteries, four of which are located in Maryland. While eligible veterans, spouses and dependents may qualify for a free burial in a national cemetery, three of the four located in Maryland no longer have burial space. Baltimore National Cemetery offers cremation only. Veterans can choose internment in a state VA cemetery. Several in Maryland still offer both burial and cremation options. See the list of Maryland VA cemeteries.

Burial Flags and Certificates

The National Cemetery Administration will provide at no cost a United States flag to drape over the coffin or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran so long as the veteran was discharged for reasons other than dishonorable. An engraved paper certificate signed by the current President of the United States will also be given to any veteran who meets the national burial requirements.

Free Headstone/Marker

The VA will furnish a headstone or grave marker. Families can choose a flat marker in granite, marble or bronze. Upright markers are available in granite and marble. For veterans who are cremated, bronze markers are provided to mark columbaria. There is no charge for the headstone or marker, but the family must pay for its placement in a private cemetery.

Funeral Expenses

The VA also reimburses for certain funeral expenses of a veteran. The amount is determined by statute and some restrictions apply. Learn more here.

At Stouffer Legal we extend our gratitude to those who serve our country and the families that support their efforts. For more information on veterans’ benefits as part of a comprehensive estate plan, please contact our offices to schedule a consultation with an experienced and caring attorney at 443-470-3599.

June 30, 2020
Live Webinar July 7th at 10am-Now is the time to protect and plan!
This webinar covers frequently asked questions and common misconceptions regarding: Wills & Trust, Asset Protection, Nursing Home Issues, Medicaid Qualification, and Estate Taxes.

Live Webinar July 7th at 10am-Now is the time to protect and plan!

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for July 7th at 10:00 AM

How to Protect your "Stuff" in 3 Easy Steps (Estate Planning Workshop)

This webinar covers frequently asked questions and common misconceptions regarding: Wills & Trust, Asset Protection, Nursing Home Issues, Medicaid Qualification, and Estate Taxes.

Please click to register for our webinar:

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for July 7th at 10:00 AM

Our webinars are designed to be educational, interactive, informative and generate relevant discussion for attendees. Modern Estate Planning is more than just preparing a will and putting it in a safe. Find out how a comprehensive Estate Plan will protect your assets and your family. Our experienced attorney, Wilson McManus, will be sharing stories on how Estate Planning is beneficial and sometimes crucial. In an Estate Plan, you need to know the Rules: Who's "Rule-book" controls your Estate Plan? Yours? The Governments? Someone else? You need to know your Predators: Who's a Threat to Your Stuff? The Government? Long-term Care Costs? Your Family? You need to know your Options: What Plans are out there? Does a Will work? What about a Trust? Which kind of Trust?

Please click to register for our webinar:

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for July 7th at 10:00 AM

Our workshops fill up fast, so please call (443) 470-3599 today to RSVP.

June 30, 2020
Live Webinar June 24th at 10am-Now is the time to protect and plan!
This webinar covers frequently asked questions and common misconceptions regarding: Wills & Trust, Asset Protection, Nursing Home Issues, Medicaid Qualification, and Estate Taxes.

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for June 24th at 10:00 AM

How to Protect your "Stuff" in 3 Easy Steps (Estate Planning Workshop)

This webinar covers frequently asked questions and common misconceptions regarding: Wills & Trust, Asset Protection, Nursing Home Issues, Medicaid Qualification, and Estate Taxes.

Please click to register for our webinar:

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for June 24th at 10:00 AM

Our webinars are designed to be educational, interactive, informative and generate relevant discussion for attendees. Modern Estate Planning is more than just preparing a will and putting it in a safe. Find out how a comprehensive Estate Plan will protect your assets and your family. Our experienced attorney, Wilson McManus, will be sharing stories on how Estate Planning is beneficial and sometimes crucial. In an Estate Plan, you need to know the Rules: Who's "Rule-book" controls your Estate Plan? Yours? The Governments? Someone else? You need to know your Predators: Who's a Threat to Your Stuff? The Government? Long-term Care Costs? Your Family? You need to know your Options: What Plans are out there? Does a Will work? What about a Trust? Which kind of Trust?

Please click to register for our webinar:

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for June 24th at 10:00 AM

Our workshops fill up fast, so please call (443) 470-3599 today to RSVP.

June 23, 2020
Estate Planning Issues Arising from Adoption
The process of building a family through adoption creates new legal family ties while simultaneously severing old ties. These legal ties create a host of rights and interests in the context of estate planning which impact more than just the parties involved in the adoption.

The process of building a family through adoption creates new legal family ties while simultaneously severing old ties. These legal ties create a host of rights and interests in the context of estate planning which impact more than just the parties involved in the adoption.

Adoption creates a new parent-child relationship, and it may also create new legal relationships with siblings, grandparents and other extended family members thereby giving the adoptee certain rights and interests such as inheritance rights. This also works in reverse – once adopted, the adoptee, severs any legal relationships with biological family members. This prevents the adoptee from inheriting as well as other rights and interests formerly arising out of the biological relationship.

To illustrate how this could play out, suppose a child tragically loses both biological parents and is subsequently adopted into a new family. The child may continue to have a relationship with his biological grandparents. Now suppose the biological grandfather dies leaving a Last Will and Testament that purports to leave all assets to his grandchildren. The adoptee is no longer legally his grandchild even though he is biologically his grandchild and they maintained a close relationship. The child will not inherit anything in this situation.

Estate planning documents must be drafted to clearly reflect a person’s intentions, especially when adoptive family members are part of the equation. If you have a situation where you or a family member adopted a child or a child has been adopted out of your family (such as a step parent adoption), you need to discuss your situation with an experienced estate planning attorney. An attorney can help you clarify your intentions as they relate to adopted family members and ensure that your estate plan accurately reflects those desires. At Stouffer Legal we have a great deal of experience in addressing issues presented by adoption. Please contact us today for a consultation at 443-470-3599.

June 17, 2020
Live Webinar June 24th at 10am-Now is the time to protect and plan!
Our webinars are designed to be educational, interactive, informative and generate relevant discussion for attendees. Modern Estate Planning is more than just preparing a will and putting it in a safe.

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for June 24th at 10:00 AM

How to Protect your "Stuff" in 3 Easy Steps (Estate Planning Workshop)

This webinar covers frequently asked questions and common misconceptions regarding: Wills & Trust, Asset Protection, Nursing Home Issues, Medicaid Qualification, and Estate Taxes.

Please click to register for our webinar:

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for June 24th at 10:00 AM

Our webinars are designed to be educational, interactive, informative and generate relevant discussion for attendees. Modern Estate Planning is more than just preparing a will and putting it in a safe. Find out how a comprehensive Estate Plan will protect your assets and your family. Our experienced attorney, Wilson McManus, will be sharing stories on how Estate Planning is beneficial and sometimes crucial. In an Estate Plan, you need to know the Rules: Who's "Rule-book" controls your Estate Plan? Yours? The Governments? Someone else? You need to know your Predators: Who's a Threat to Your Stuff? The Government? Long-term Care Costs? Your Family? You need to know your Options: What Plans are out there? Does a Will work? What about a Trust? Which kind of Trust?

Please click to register for our webinar:

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for June 24th at 10:00 AM

Our workshops fill up fast, so please call (443) 470-3599 today to RSVP.

June 16, 2020
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