Nicaud & Sunseri Law Firm, LLC
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Making The Complex Understandable

Louisiana Legal Blog

How does Medicaid reduce the cost of nursing home care?

When you're growing older, one thing you realize is that nursing home and assisted-living care are all fairly expensive. Someone who is 65 years old in 2019 has close to a 70% chance of needing at least some kind of long-term care, while around 20% of people will need it for five years or longer.

There is no question that nursing home care has the potential to destroy a family's financial security. The costs can range into the thousands each month. One way to offset those costs is through proper Medicare and Medicaid planning.

Banks beef up training to allay financial abuse of seniors

Increased incidents of people taking advantage of seniors has prompted financial institutions to beef up employee training to thwart these incidents. Louisiana seniors and their families might take comfort knowing that more frontline staff in banks across the state and indeed, in the country, are getting additional training to stop the financial abuse of elders. About 90% of all banks train their staff, compared for just more than 70% two years ago.

Some institutions have even designated one or two employees to seniors in particular. These clients -- who may be having problems -- will now have someone to whom they can address questions. Now when banks believe seniors may be victims of fraud, they will make phone calls and meet with people in person. Banks are also offering seminars for seniors and community outreach programs since financial scams are harder to pull off when seniors are educated.

Divorce: What it is and what it is not

There are a number of reasons a couple decides to end a marriage. Although some Louisiana couples may share some of the reasons when making the decision to divorce, it's helpful to know what divorce actually means and what it does not mean. Divorce isn't an end-all for the problems a couple may have faced, so it's important to have realistic expectations about what divorce can accomplish.

Divorce can provide a new start by putting an end to a marriage that wasn't working. Divorce is often looked upon as a last resort when all other avenues have come to a dead end to repair a relationship. It may make things more difficult in the short term, but will help each individual to start fresh and perhaps provide a better living circumstance for any children involved.

Estate planning for the newly or soon-to-be divorced

Newly single individuals have a lot to think about. It's likely Louisiana residents who have recently divorced or separated from their partners or recently widowed aren't giving much thought to estate planning, but that may be a big mistake. Single people need estate plans as much as their married counterparts. When a spouse dies, an existing estate plan may just need updating, but if a person divorces, that's a whole different story.

Once a person becomes comfortable with new-found singlehood, he or she might want to sit down with an estate planning attorney to discuss estate planning options. The estate plan of a person whose divorce is pending may look to limit his or her soon-to-be former spouse's inheritance and powers. Most estate planning documents can wait to be changed until after a divorce is finalized.

Protect your loved one against exploitation in old age

Financial exploitation is a problem that seems to be growing, and it targets those who have disabilities. Many elderly people suffer from disabilities and illnesses that make it easy for others to take advantage of them, which is why it's so important to be certain of who you entrust to care for them.

It is normally trusted individuals who are part of the vulnerable person's life who are found to be exploiting them. Those individuals may include people like:

  • Bank employees
  • Pastors
  • Nurses
  • Doctors
  • Neighbors
  • Caretakers
  • Acquaintances
  • Friends

Family law: Those things co-parenting is not

Raising a healthy, happy and well-adjusted child is a difficult process. Family law rules in Louisiana provide a guideline for parents to do just that. However, when divorce is part of the equation and co-parenting comes into play, it can be more difficult and, at times, seem overwhelming. Many parents in this situation have an idea of what co-parenting means, but they should also have a handle on what it does not mean.

First, parents should understand that co-parenting is about their children, not about them. Consequently, parents must strive to do what is in the best interests of their children even when they are having trouble agreeing on their own issues. It is also not to be done without a set of rules since children thrive on structure and consistency, so parents should set boundaries and have rules regarding bed time, phone time and the like. It is also not a competition between parents.

Keeping estate planning a private matter in Louisiana

There are things most people would like to keep private. Estate planning is likely one of them. There are ways to keep estate plans private in Louisiana. The first thing to know is the differences between wills and trust-based estate plans. Wills have to go through the probate process and, as such, become public record once they're filed in probate court, and that means anyone can go in and ask to see the contents of any will on record.

The first thing to understand is the differences between wills and trust-based estate plans. While the contents of a will become public, revocable trusts do not. They're essentially contracts between the grantor and the trustee. The grantor has the right to make all decisions regarding the trust while he or she is alive, and the major difference between a will and a revocable living trust is that the trust doesn't have to be filed in probate court, hence contents are kept under wraps. 

Giving gifts during life could help your estate avoid taxation

You may have a very valuable estate, and that's great for you and your beneficiaries in the future. The bigger problem occurs when you have such a large estate that it's able to be taxed.

Taxes can take a large chunk of the value of your estate, so part of your estate plan should address how to eliminate taxes to the best of your ability. One option is to use a gifting schedule.

Making joint child custody arrangements work well

When two parents divorce, there are significant implications for the children. As a result, some parents decide that joint custody may be the right way to allow their kids have strong relationships with both of them after divorce. While this is often a beneficial child custody arrangement for many Louisiana families, it is not always easy. Working together after a divorce is final requires a commitment of the best interests of the children above all else. 

Parents will find that their custody arrangement will work much better when they can be respectful of each other. Maintaining mutual respect will help protect the emotional and mental health of the children, as it is not good for them to see their parents fighting and speaking badly about each other. Another helpful thing is to live close to each other, which will make the transition between homes less stressful and easier when it's time to go back and forth.

Lousiana to be presented with federal award for adoption work

When it comes to the topic of adoption, Louisiana is earmarked to receive a national award. The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) was recently recognized by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It is being celebrated as one of 12 states in the country for helping foster children to be placed with families for adoption. 

The HHS applauded DCFS for its extraordinary contributions in supporting permanent outcomes for children in foster care. Changes Louisiana made to the adoption system in 2016 apparently improved the relationships between the DCFS, foster families and parents. Louisiana has seen three years of record numbers of adoptions -- finding more than 2,400 foster children permanent homes.

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