Author Archives: heidi

About heidi

Heidi Webb is an Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Small Business Law attorney serving Daytona Beach and surrounding areas.

April 16th is National Healthcare Decisions Day!

Why do you need to take care of your Healthcare Surrogate Designations?

We all plan on living long, happy lives, but we should always be prepared for when unexpected problems arise. When you designate a healthcare surrogate, you are preparing yourself and your loved ones for potentially stressful situations. You are also ensuring that your healthcare decisions are in the hands of someone your trust.  You are making your own difficult decisions.

In the event you reach the point that you are not able to handle your own medical decisions because of injury, illness or your advanced age, having the appropriate legal paperwork in place are essential parts of your lifeline. If you don’t want to write down your wishes in regards to your medical care, you want to ensure you have someone named to oversee your medical care.

If you don’t have a healthcare surrogate designation in place, your important life-changing events could be left up to estranged relatives, judges or doctors who know nothing or very little about your preferences. To ensure your wishes are followed, you should complete two critical healthcare documents in Florida.

You need to have a designation of healthcare surrogate completed. The second form you complete should be a living will, which determines what kind of medical treatment you would or would not like to receive in Florida. When naming your healthcare surrogate, you can name any person you trust, most people choose a spouse, parent, adult child or close friend to handle the job. Florida law declares that the person you name as your surrogate cannot witness the document.

If you have not named a healthcare surrogate, you should schedule an appointment with a Florida estate attorney, who can guide you through the process and make other suggestions regarding making preparations for the futures of you and your family.

About Heidi S. Webb, Attorney at Law: Heidi Webb is an Estate Planning and small business attorney located in Daytona Beach, Florida. See what clients are saying about Heidi, follow her on Facebook, and connect with her on Google+ or LinkedIn

 

Ask Heidi: What is a Medicaid Spend-down?

A Medicaid Spend-Down is a process that allows you to legally spend down your assets in such a way so that you can legitimately qualify for Medicaid.

Why Shquestionmarkould You Care?

People are living much longer than they did in previous generations.  As a result of this, we are seeing a sharp increase in people who are needing home nursing care as well as long term care.  Many families have unfortunately had to take on the financial burden of these services which can cost well north of $5,000 a month.  This additional burden has ruined families not only financially, but also emotionally.  But many can breathe a sigh of relief because help is available from the government in the form of Medicaid.

Medicaid is a government program that was created to help struggling and low income families with healthcare costs [check out last week’s blog for more on Medicaid].  It is important to understand that in order to qualify for Medicaid you must meet specific income requirements and have limited assets.  If you exceed these limits but still need to have access to Medicaid an attorney may be able to help you find ways, such as a spend-down, to legitimately qualify by reducing your available income and assets.

It is very important to seek the advice of an attorney trained in Estate Planning or Elder Law to help you navigate the process of a Medicaid Spend-Down. It must be done in accordance with the laws and guidelines currently in place of YOUR State or the consequences could have a much greater financial impact.

 

ASK HEIDI: Medicare versus Medicaid

Welcome to the inaugural post of my new weekly series:  ASK HEIDI   Question-Mark

I find some questions pop up more than others and I will start the series answering THOSE questions, but going forward I hope folks will email, tweet, private message, or post questions on my Facebook and I will answer them anonymously on here.

To kick things off I thought I’d start with something that I think everyone under the age of 65 confuses:   Medicare versus Medicaid.  The names are so similar they beg confusion, however, Medicare and Medicaid are very different. Granted, both are kinds of health insurance offered through government entities, but they have extremely different eligibility requirements, provide different levels of coverage and when planning ahead it’s crucial to understand the nuances.

What is Medicare?

Medicare, a federal health insurance program, is offered to those who are 65 and older or to those who have been declared disabled by the Social Security Administration. Medicare is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Income or personal assets do not impact eligibility.

When you become enrolled in Medicare, you automatically have Part A, which covers hospital care, skilled nursing facility care, hospice and some home health services. Part B, which is medical coverage, costs $104.90 per month during 2015. Medically necessary services and preventive services are covered by Part B.  You can enroll in Part A without enrolling in Part B.

If you are needing prescription coverage, you can enroll in Part D, which also is optional. There is a charge for Part D coverage, but you may qualify for reduced or free premiums depending on your income. There are several different providers offering Part D coverage, so you need to compare the coverage with your prescriptions to ensure you make the best selection for your needs.

                                     *Official site https://www.medicare.gov/

What is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a health insurance that is offered through a partnership between the state and federal governments. It provides health coverage to those who meet special eligibility requirements. It was created to help improve the health of those who otherwise may not be able to seek medical care due to limited financial resources.  

Because Medicaid is offered through a state partnership, its guidelines and eligibility requirements vary from state to state. In Florida, the Agency for Health Care Administration is responsible for Medicaid. During 2014, the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care (SMMC) program was implemented, which means if you are eligible for Medicaid you enroll in a health plan.

Sometimes people apply for Medicaid to cover the costs of long-term care, such as services provided by a nursing home. Medicare does not cover those expenses for you [after a limited initial period], so if you don’t have adequate insurance coverage of your own, you may have to apply for Medicaid to cover the costs of your medical coverage if you need long term care.

                                       *Official Florida Medicaid site http://www.fdhc.state.fl.us/medicaid/

Combination Coverage

You can be eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. In those situations, the two providers work together to cover the costs of medical expenses. You need to show proof of both kinds of coverage to your medical providers.

Important Things to Remember

Your income and assets do not affect your eligibility for Medicare, but they do however impact your Medicaid eligibility.  Medicaid is only offered to those who are low income, meeting the eligibility guidelines set by your state, and do not have assets that exceed the specified limits. Medicaid eligibility and some ins and outs are issues I hope to touch upon in this series but if you feel you could benefit from personalized information, I am happy to schedule a free 30 minute consultation to see if I can offer assistance.

About Heidi S. Webb, Attorney at Law: Heidi Webb is an Estate Planning and small business attorney located in Daytona Beach, Florida. See what clients are saying about Heidi, follow her on Facebook, and connect with her on Google+ or LinkedIn

 

 

 

Divorce Changes Your Will

Do I Need These? The Living Will, Healthcare Directive and DNR Order

If I had to pick the most frequently asked question in my Estate Planning practice this would be it.  Do I Need a Living Will, Healthcare Directive and DNR Order?  The answer:  Yes. No. Maybe So.  I know, not helpful.  Like many things there’s more to it.  For starters, many people assume they are all the same document, but they are very different.   With that in mind I decided to write this blog to look at each one separately and discuss when or why you may want each.

Living Will

A Living Will, also known as an Advanced Directive, is a legal document that allows you to clearly indicate your wishes for end-of-life medical care in the event you become incapacitated and there is no hope of meaningful quality of life even if you survive. The Living Will applies only if you can no longer state your wishes.  I often refer to this as the “there is no hope, pull the plug” document and I really believe every adult should have one. 

People of any age and even those in good health NEED to have a living will done and make sure it is easily accessible in the event of a medical emergency or accident.  Once completed make sure your loved ones know your wishes and give your primary physician and local hospital a copy to keep in your medical file so your wishes can indeed be carried out.  Not convinced? Take a moment and read about Terry Schiavo

Healthcare Directive

A Healthcare Directive, also called Healthcare Surrogate or Power of Attorney,  is a legal document in which you name a person to act as an agent for you and make your medical decisions in the event you are unable to do so yourself.   It also allows this person to communicate with healthcare providers and receive medical records that would otherwise be precluded under HIPAA regulations.

A Healthcare Directive can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be in regards to your care. It can include your input on life support equipment, blood transfusions, long-term care facilities and so forth or a more generalized power over all things healthcare.   A healthcare directive is beneficial to anyone at any age because medical emergencies can occur at any time. I strongly encourage this document be included in any Estate Planning you do.

DNR

A DNR is a Do-Not-Resuscitate order. Written by a medical doctor, it instructs any other healthcare providers to not perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) or any other extraordinary lifesaving measures in the event a patient stops breathing or if a patient’s heart stops beating.  A DNR is attached predominately to a patient’s file and if you are a caregiver it is something you would want to make all providers aware of as, of course, the medical providers’ inclination is to save lives at any cost.

When would this be needed?  In general, most people don’t require this document if they are in good overall health.  If someone suffers from terminal illness or is elderly, a DNR may be appropriate.  As an example, an elderly gentleman who resides in a nursing home and who is suffering from dementia may have his life sustained by CPR, but the lifesaving act itself can break bones or cause additional problems that result in an even worse quality of life.

Decisions

Ultimately, you need to decide which document or documents you want to have in place and then there’s the hard part…. act on it 🙂 .  If you just aren’t sure and want to talk through it all, give me a call and we can sit down (free of charge) and I can go over the finer points.  In the meanwhile, remember, if a medical emergency ever arises your loved ones will already be under enough stress without having to make these major life decisions for you, it truly is a gift for you to make your wishes clear by having these documents taken care of now.

P.S.  While having this conversation is always a good time to consider things like organ donation http://www.organdonor.gov, if you haven’t already!

Heidi Webb Daytona Beach Attorney

 

About Heidi S. Webb, Attorney at Law: Heidi Webb is an estate planning and small business attorney located in Daytona Beach, Florida. See what clients are saying about Heidi, follow her on Facebook, and connect with her on Google+ or LinkedIn.

HIS HERS OURS: Estate Planning for the Blended Family

“Here’s the story of a lovely ladybrady bunch
who was bringing up three very lovely girls
all of them had hair of gold, like their mother.
the youngest one in curls.

Here’s the story of a man named Brady
Who was busy with three boys of his own.
They were four men living all together
yet they were all alone

Till the one day when the lady met this fellow.
And they knew that it was much more than a hunch,
That this group must somehow form a family,
That’s the way we all became the Brady bunch.”

~~credits to Sherwood Schwartz creator of the Brady Bunch and lyricist

I’m sure I’m dating myself with that one, but it just seemed an appropriate opening.  I’m always saying how Estate Planning is very important, regardless of your age or the size of your family.  Let me follow that up by saying Estate Planning is extremely important when you have a blended family.  Statistics show that about 15 percent of the U.S. population has been married more than once. Blended families are commonplace in today’s world. But from a legal standpoint they bring a whole slew of issues that really are best addressed while you are alive, rather than fought over after you are gone.

What makes a blended family different? At least one and often both adults enter into the marriage with assets from previous marriages.  When you enter into a second marriage, often both parties have children from previous relationships. Then, the couple sometimes has children together. While you want to make certain your spouse is properly cared for in the event of your death, you want to ensure that your minor children are cared for as well, and you may have concerns as to whom will manage your kids’ money if you’re gone or will your adult children get an inheritance or not?  Do you want to provide for your step-children whom you’ve helped raise for most of their lives?  A lot of these things won’t happen or will happen in a way that may surprise you if left to Florida Intestacy Laws.  According to research, the biggest mistake made when making a Will with a blended family is that people fail to be specific when leaving property to “children”.

Creating the Right Plan.  It’s a must.

Making sure your assets will get distributed so that everyone is cared for can be a challenging situation. You need to indicate what goes to whom as leaving it up to the family to divide things and sort things out is not a responsible decision. Your spouse and children should not have to work out the situation on their own. Instead, you need to ask for direction so you can derive the right plan for your needs.

Effective Estate Planning for a blended family can be tricky.  An experienced and knowledgeable attorney in your corner can help you sort through your goals and make the best possible plan for your family.

About Heidi S. Webb, Attorney at Law: Heidi Webb is an Estate Planning and small business attorney located in Daytona Beach, Florida. See what clients are saying about Heidi, follow her on Facebook, and connect with her on Google+ or LinkedIn

Words To Live By

I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once.

                                                                           ~J. Yane

WARNING: Cheeseburger Toppings Say A Lot About Your Personality  

37582_516864494282_203101201_30587669_5762779_nPeople are always looking for ways to predict things. Ever since Nostradamus, folks have been overly obsessed with knowing what’s going to happen. We have the Farmer’s Almanac, palm readings and horoscopes. Many important people who are deserving don’t have a day of the year named after them but a groundhog does; why? because he predicts things. Along those lines, did you know that one of the most popular sections of any magazine is its personality prediction test?  hmmmm.  But here’s something you probably haven’t considered:  those gourmet cheeseburgers you just ordered speak volumes about yourself and the person across the table.

So you like it extremely well done? In that case ‘how are you Mr. or Ms. Conservative?’ You are the type of person that buttons the top button on a Polo shirt and it’s not uncommon to see you sporting a cloth mask over you face when out in public to prevent germ transmission. Voting republican for you is not a choice, it’s instinctive.

Did I just see you reach for the hot sauce? You got into trouble a lot as a kid and still prefer things a little on the wild side don’t you? 

So you like ketchup on top AND a little spicy mustard. You are a person who is responsible and slightly conservative, but watch out for that spontaneous and fun side which periodically comes out to play.

I see yours has melted cheese dripping down the sides and grease soaking up into the bun. Most likely you are a person that believes a home is meant to be lived in and cleaning comes about as often as Christmas.

Hot sauce, grilled onions and Chipoltle Mayo, I am not even going to begin to get into that one.

I could go on but you get the idea, who knew that a gourmet cheeseburger could give away so much about your personality? A good reason to never order one at a business meeting, but if you do, remember that person sitting across the table from you will know a lot about your personality before your first bite.

p.s. remind me to tell you about IBM and the salt shaker ‘test’ some day.

Heidi Webb is a Cheeseburger connoisseur residing in Ormond Beach Florida & working in Daytona Beach, Florida.  And while she is a self-proclaimed expert of where to find the best cheeseburger in Volusia County, she does not limit herself to that area and has been spotted enjoying burgers as far south as Key West, as North as Montpelier, Vermont and on the west coast in San Diego California.  When she is not enjoying a great cheeseburger she practices law and is licensed in both Florida and New Mexico, specializing in Estate Planning, Wills & Trusts, Probate and Small Business matters.

Living Wills – You Don’t Have to Like Them, but You Shouldn’t Ignore Them Either  

There is nothing more certain in life than the simple fact that we were born and we will one day die. Yet, while birth is celebrated as much as any occasion in life, death is viewed as something you should never talk about and many people absolutely refuse to plan for it.  This is especially true for today’s aging population who were taught to ignore death when they were growing up.  As a result of this, often times it leaves some extremely stressful and agonizing choices for the dying person’s loved ones, who are already suffering having to watch their loved one slip away.  A couple hours of deep thought and a trip to see your lawyer about a Living Will would not only make it easier on the ones you are leaving behind, but also let you be the one who decides how your last few days will play out.

Alexandria National Cemetery, VA

Alexandria National Cemetery, VA

I just recently read the story of a dying World War II veteran who was alive after surviving three strokes, vegetative but still technically alive. They were asking his wife to make a choice and none of the options were great. In an already difficult time they were now asking her basically which way her husband should die, because no matter what they did death was inevitable. She made the most difficult choice and chose to comfort him as much as possible but to stop any other treatment, but it was a choice for her that no doubt will leave her wondering if she had done the right thing and possibly feeling guilty because of that. A Living Will would have taken that ultra-tough decision out of her hands and put it in her husband’s, where it belonged. Guilt is nothing anyone should ever have to carry around, especially when a signature on a carefully thought out legal document would prevent it from ever happening. Simple, yet so few do it.

Death is coming for us all, we don’t have a choice in that matter; but we do have a choice in how it all ends and that choice will save your loved ones from an even heavier burden in an already difficult time. The next time you take that long hot shower to relax or sit down in one of your favorite places, take some time to think about a Living Will seriously.  After that go see your lawyer and get it done legally on paper. You will not only feel better about having that unpleasant chore out of the way, but you will also have the peace of mind that sometime down the road you will have done a truly wonderful thing for your family.

Heidi Webb is an Attorney practicing in the Daytona Beach area.  She serves clients from all of Volusia & Flagler Counties, as well as across the State of Florida.  She focuses her practice on Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts, Probate & Small Business matters.  Contact her today for a free consultation.

Words To Live By

I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.

                                                                                         ~Woody Allen