News and Events

Stay Up To Date

Recent News and Event

Top 5 Misconceptions About Aging
Each day almost 10,000 U.S. residents turn 65 years of age. Those 65 and older will make up roughly 20 percent of the total U.S. population by the end of this decade.

Each day almost 10,000 U.S. residents turn 65 years of age. Those 65 and older will make up roughly 20 percent of the total U.S. population by the end of this decade. It is important to keep this population active and engaged so that they thrive. One of the key components to making this happen is to promote a healthy, positive attitude towards aging.

There are many widespread misconceptions about aging that need to be re-examined:

1. Seniors lose interest in the outside world and do not need close relationships. No matter our age, humans are social animals and need connection. This need for meaningful relationships does not abate with age. It does become more difficult however, as some of the friends and family pass away. It may be more challenging to make new friends. Many seniors are finding that the use of technology can counteract some of the loneliness and help them stay engaged with others.

2. As you age, you get more and more set in your ways. Keeping similar routines and maintaining consistent daily habits may help some seniors maintain their independence longer; however, that does not mean they are not open to trying new things and up for an adventure from time to time. Encouraging elderly family members to travel to visit relatives, attend family get-togethers or simply try a new restaurant will help provide much needed stimulation and enjoyment. A change of scenery often helps elevate mood so suggest trying something fun and different.

3. Physically slowing down and mental decline are inevitable. To some extent this may be true, but there are ways to stay healthy longer. Maintaining a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and doing activities that stimulate the brain will help prevent some of this slowing down process.

4. Seniors cannot make decisions for themselves. Unless a medical doctor has performed a variety of cognitive tests and determined that the senior lacks capacity to understand and make decisions that would be in his or her best interest, then it is wise to allow the person to provide input in decisions. A lifetime of education and experience should not be overlooked.

5. Regardless of a senior’s attitude, they cannot stop the aging process. While our bodies continue to age, a recent study from Yale University shows that perceptions on aging do impact longevity and ability to thrive. Participants who answered questions more positively outlived those who answered more negatively by an average of 8 years. The seniors with a positive bias were also more likely to participate in preventative health care and make better choices about diet, exercise and lifestyle.

Having positive perceptions about aging, maintaining close relationships, staying active and making your own decisions leads to longevity and vitality. At Stouffer Legal we care about our seniors. To help a senior loved one with long-term care planning, estate planning or developing a care plan, contact the elder law attorneys today. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at (443) 470-3599 or emailing us at office@stoufferlegal.com.

June 16, 2021
Live Webinar June 22nd 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 22nd at 10am

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 22nd at 10am

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 22nd at 10am

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

We can't wait to see you!

Today is the right day to take your first step. Click below to register for our next free workshop and learn what everyone is talking about. Attending our next free Workshops is the best way to Get Started on your New Estate Plan!

REGISTER FOR A WORKSHOP

June 15, 2021
What You Need to Know in 2021 About Medicare Plan D: Prescription Drugs
Private insurers contract with the federal Medicare program to offer limited insurance coverage of prescription drugs for qualifying elderly and disabled persons. This is known as Medicare Part D.

Private insurers contract with the federal Medicare program to offer limited insurance coverage of prescription drugs for qualifying elderly and disabled persons. This is known as Medicare Part D.

For Medicare to Pay Your Prescription You Will Need to First Pay:

Monthly Premiums

For Medicare recipients who elect to participate in Part D, they will pay a monthly premium (currently averaging $30).

An Annual Deductible

In addition to the monthly premium you will also be required to first meet a specified deductible (which in 2021 cannot be more than $445).

Co-Payment

For each prescription, you still must make a co-payment (typically 20-25%). Due to the Affordable Care Act, in 2021, until your total out-of-pocket spending reaches $6550, you pay 25% for both brand name and generic drugs. Once your total out-of-pocket spending exceeds $6550, you reach what they refer to as “catastrophic” coverage. At this point, you only pay a small co-payment, the amount of which is determined by the type of drugs you take.

Keep in mind that only payments for drugs that are covered by your particular policy count towards the out-of-pocket threshold. If your employer or another insurance policy contributes towards these expenses, that too does not count toward your threshold. Any prescription drugs received from other countries, like Canadian pharmacies, will not be covered by Medicare nor count towards your threshold.

Before choosing a policy, it is important to know what prescription drugs you need and compare those specific drugs between policies. The same drug may vary in price from one plan to another. A comparison tool is available on Medicare’s website.

Anyone who has either Part A or Part B can enroll in Part D; however, Part D does not cover medications that could have been paid through Part A or Part B. Again, doing your research on the specific prescription drug is imperative to getting the right Medicare coverage. During your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) contact the company offering the plan you selected as the one that best fits your needs and complete an online application. Do so in a timely manner to avoid late enrollment penalties.

For more information on services for the elderly including long-term care planning, estate planning and retirement planning, contact the knowledgeable attorneys at Stouffer Legal in the Greater Baltimore area. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at (443) 470-3599 or emailing us at office@stoufferlegal.com.

June 14, 2021
Live Webinar June 15th 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 15th at 10am

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 15th at 10am

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 15th at 10am

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

We can't wait to see you!

Today is the right day to take your first step. Click below to register for our next free workshop and learn what everyone is talking about. Attending our next free Workshops is the best way to Get Started on your New Estate Plan!

REGISTER FOR A WORKSHOP

June 14, 2021
Webinar: Saturday, June 12th 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.

Webinar – Click Here to Register for June 12th at 10am

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:

Webinar – Click Here to Register for June 12th at 10am

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:

Webinar – Click Here to Register for June 12th at 10am

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

We can't wait to see you!

Today is the right day to take your first step. Click below to register for our next free workshop and learn what everyone is talking about. Attending our next free Workshops is the best way to Get Started on your New Estate Plan!

REGISTER FOR A WORKSHOP

June 11, 2021
A Lost Will Can Create Many a Problem
If you have created a will but have lost track of it problems can arise as the Napa Valley Register discusses in its column "Is lost will still valid?," where a couple had questions on what might happen to their will.

States vary on the requirements for what can be submitted to the courts if a will has been created but the original cannot be found.

If you have created a will but have lost track of it problems can arise as the Napa Valley Register discusses in its column "Is lost will still valid?," where a couple had questions on what might happen to their will.

The couple had left the will with the attorney who drafted it for them. The attorney, however, had retired and the couple had no idea what happened to their will or how to find the attorney to ask.

It is always a good idea to keep the original copy of your will safe and secure. In some states the original has to be produced for the will to be used in probate. In other states the original might not always be necessary, but the circumstances when a copy of the will can be used are restricted.

While the advice given was specific to California, it is generally good advice anywhere in the U.S. in this type of situation.

Attorneys are required to keep their files even after they retire. The normal practice is to have another attorney take care of the client files and to inform the state bar association of the arrangement.

Therefore, this couple should call the bar association and make inquiries. If that does not produce the whereabouts of the will, the couple can always get a new will or hope the probate court will accept a copy of the will at the appropriate time.

Call (443) 470-3599 today and schedule a consultation with Maryland Attorney Britt L. Stouffer to learn more about Estate or Elder Law and how she can help you.

June 10, 2021
Immediate Versus “Springing” Power of Attorney
A power of attorney document names someone you trust to act on your behalf. The language used in the document will determine the powers given to the trusted individual and the circumstances in which the power is conferred.

A power of attorney document names someone you trust to act on your behalf. The language used in the document will determine the powers given to the trusted individual and the circumstances in which the power is conferred. It may be something as simple as the power to conduct a one-time transaction because you will be out of the country or it may allow someone to manage your financial affairs for the remainder of your life due to an incapacitating illness.

Power of attorney documents can be either immediate or “springing”. An immediate power of attorney takes effect as soon as it is properly signed and executed. A springing power of attorney only becomes effective at such time as the principal is deemed as incapacitated. Any financial institution presented with a springing power of attorney will require proof of incapacity, typically in the form of a doctor’s letter.

While a springing power of attorney is often beneficial when someone becomes unexpectedly incapacitated, they are not without their problems. A few issues to consider include:

- Delay: Getting the proof of incapacity from a doctor may cause delays. These delays can be disruptive to financial affairs which may result in late fees, missed opportunities or worse.

- Privacy: HIPAA laws may create even more hurdles for getting the necessary incapacity info from the medical providers and into the right hands to effectuate the springing power of attorney.

- Defining Incapacity: Your springing power of attorney document will need to provide a definition of what incapacity means in order for the power of attorney to spring into effect. These definitions can vary based on the level of care needed, duration of the problem, etc.

These documents should be prepared long before incapacity occurs. Without financial and medical power of attorney documents in place, family members will endure the hassle and expense of obtaining guardianship. Being proactive is crucial because the principal must be competent in order to create and execute a power of attorney. He or she must be able to fully understand the powers being conveyed, when they are conveyed (immediately or springing) and to whom they are being conveyed (agent). A principal may select one agent to serve under the financial power of attorney and someone else to serve as healthcare agent under the medical power of attorney. Any of these documents can be revoked or revised by the principal as long as he or she is still competent.

To recap the different types of power of attorney options:

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney allows your agent or attorney-in-fact to act for you now and continue to act for you if you should become incapacitated at some point in the future.

Springing Power of Attorney

A springing power of attorney does not become effective unless and until the principal becomes incapacitated. It “springs” to life when it is needed.

Non-durable Power of Attorney

A non-durable power of attorney takes effect immediately upon signing, but does not remain in effect once the principal is deemed incompetent. This is typically used in a simple, one-time business transaction.

To learn more about the use of power of attorney documents, contact the estate planning attorneys at Stouffer Legal in the Greater Baltimore area. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at (443) 470-3599 or emailing us at office@stoufferlegal.com.

June 9, 2021
Live Webinar June 15th 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 15th at 10am

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 15th at 10am

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 15th at 10am

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

We can't wait to see you!

Today is the right day to take your first step. Click below to register for our next free workshop and learn what everyone is talking about. Attending our next free Workshops is the best way to Get Started on your New Estate Plan!

REGISTER FOR A WORKSHOP

June 8, 2021
Estate Planning for Single Parents
All parents weigh very important decisions when it comes to their children’s future and well-being. Creating an estate plan allows parents to voice those decisions and help ensure specific instructions are carried out even if the parents are no longer available due to death or incapacity.

All parents weigh very important decisions when it comes to their children’s future and well-being. Creating an estate plan allows parents to voice those decisions and help ensure specific instructions are carried out even if the parents are no longer available due to death or incapacity. Since it is much rarer for both parents to die simultaneously, when one parent dies, the other is typically available to help the children move forward with many of the same consistencies. They often remain in the same home, school and community. This may not be the case for a single parent. It is critical for single parents to carefully think through an approach to help their children transition in the best possible way.

Naming a Guardian

One of the most important considerations is naming a guardian. This may be the other parent. In the case of divorce, a separation agreement may already designate the other parent as full custodian in the event of the other’s death. If this is this case, that will trump another person named as guardian in your will or trust, unless it can be shown to a court that new circumstances have arisen causing this arrangement to not be in the child(ren)’s best interests. If no such agreement exists, and the other parent is no longer available, then you can name someone to take over as legal guardian. You can also list alternates. It is important to consider the relationship this person has with your child(ren) as well as the ability to provide appropriate care.

Setting up a Trust

You can either set up a living trust or include the formation of a testamentary trust in your will. Either way, you need the assets that will provide financial means to your child(ren) placed in a trust. You can name who should serve as the trustee and you can provide very detailed instructions for how these funds should be used to benefit your child(ren). For example, you can allocate certain amounts towards their special interests and activities. You can set aside money for higher education, future vacations, a car or any other items that you wish. This of course all depends on the amount available beyond the basic care and maintenance needed.

The trust can also provide instructions regarding visitation rights and outline who can make important decisions and provide advice for your child such as where they attend school, religious practices, medical decisions and day-to-day routines. Keep in mind that all of these instructions may not be enforceable, but they help give a caregiver and the trustee a clear picture of the future you envision for your child so they can attempt to create that future as closely as possible.

There are many ways to set up a trust. Your estate planning attorney will start by asking you to consider basic questions about what happens to your child after you pass away. Depending on your financial situation, the issues with the other parent, and the support system available a large number of scenarios may be available. Each one of these can be carefully considered until you decide what will work best for your family. The estate plan will be created to help reach those goals and give you peace of mind that you have done your best as a single parent to shape your child’s future when the unthinkable happens. Hopefully, it will not. But having a solid plan in place is far better than the alternative. Contact the experienced estate planning attorneys today at Stouffer Legal to get started. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at (443) 470-3599 or emailing us at office@stoufferlegal.com.

June 7, 2021
The Basics of Medicaid Estate Recovery
Medicaid is a health insurance program for low-income individuals funded by federal, state and county funds. Certain children, elderly, blind and/or disabled who are U.S. citizens, nationals, permanent residents, or legal aliens may be eligible to receive payouts from Medicaid.

Medicaid is a health insurance program for low-income individuals funded by federal, state and county funds. Certain children, elderly, blind and/or disabled who are U.S. citizens, nationals, permanent residents, or legal aliens may be eligible to receive payouts from Medicaid. The financial requirements to qualify are complicated with many nuances.

One such trap in which to be wary is a practice referred to as Medicaid Estate Recovery. Under current federal laws, each state is required to attempt to collect back any money spent. In other words, while Medicaid will pay out for long-term care, this right of estate recovery, will come back with claims against your estate when you die to recover the money spent for your care prior to death. If you did not take proper steps to protect your home, it may have to be sold when you die to repay the state for the Medicaid services given.

For example, a widow lives in a home valued at $65,000 and has $1000 in her bank account. Due to illness, she moves into a skilled care facility and lives there for the last year of her life. When she dies, the Medicaid program makes a claim against her estate for $75,000 based on the amount spent for her care. The estate pays the claim by selling the house and taking any money left in her bank account. Her adult children do not inherit a dime and lose the opportunity to reside in the family home.

Several advocacy groups are speaking out against this practice and requesting Congress to eliminate the Medicaid Estate Recovery requirements. They argue that only a small fraction of the money spent is actually recovered but it causes tremendous hardship on the nation’s poorest families. Recent data shows that only 0.55 percent of the total Medicaid spending is recovered from estate recovery programs.

These advocacy groups call for the elimination of this requirement so that low-income families can begin to retain wealth and pass it on to future generations. Under the current laws, families remain poverty-stricken and this leads to exacerbated wealth gaps, especially in families of color.

In March 2021, Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) submitted a report to Congress outlining the three primary ways they recommend changing the current laws. Entitled “Medicaid Estate Recovery: Improving Policy and Promoting Equity”, the report lists these 3 recommendations for change:

1. Allow Medicaid Estate Recovery to be optional by each state.

2. Allow states to pursue only the cost of care, not the amount of capitation payment, when the cost of care is less.

3. Amend hardship waivers to bar estate claims against A) a sole income-producing asset of a Medicaid recipient’s heirs; B) homes of modest values; and C) any estate less than a specified threshold value.

We will continue to follow the updates on Medicaid Estate Recovery as Congress considers these issues moving forward. At Stouffer Legal, we care about our seniors and monitor the issues that impact them and their families. For more information on elder law services in the Greater Baltimore area, contact our office for a consultation. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at (443) 470-3599 or emailing us at office@stoufferlegal.com.

June 4, 2021
We can't wait to see you!
Today is the right day to take your first step. Click below to register for our next free workshop and learn what everyone is talking about.

Attending our next free Workshops is the best way to
Get Started on your New Estate Plan!
REGISTER FOR a WORKSHOP