The Biggest Mistake Made by Social Security Claimants

 

One of the biggest mistakes that people make in applying for Social Security benefits is that they believe and assume that the Social Security Administration is their advocate. They believe that the Social Security Administration is advocating for them and taking care of their cases. The truth is that the Social Security Administration is a federal administrative body to administer claims. Don’t get me wrong. The people that work with the Social Security Administration are good hard-working people.

But the Social Security Administration is not the claimant’s attorney. Although the Social Security Administration will assist to some degree in getting medical evidence, it is the responsibility of the clamant to obtain and submit medical evidence. The Social Security Administration will not assist a person in advocating the claimant’s claims. Without an attorney, claimant’s find that they are representing themselves. They will find that their claims have been denied because evidence was not received or important parts of their cases were not submitted. To add insult to injury, it is difficult to appeal these decisions.

It is very important that a claimant consult with an experienced attorney that handles Social Security cases. A claimant’s case is important to them. The process in obtaining benefits is a long one and often times, the claimant is experiencing financial distress. Time is of the essence. So, it is important that claimant make the most of their opportunity to make sure that their cases are being properly presented.

Kent S. DeJean

 

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Small Successions

In the past, many heirs were reluctant to open legal succession in Louisiana due to the fees and costs. There is a perception that opening a succession even for a small one, is expensive.

However, recent Louisiana legislation now makes completing a small succession relatively easy without having to file succession pleadings and incurring expensive fees and costs.

If the decedent died without a will and the net value of the decedents estate is worth less than $ 75,000.00, then this type of small succession may be done by affidavit.

The heirs will be required to follow the statutory requirements as to its execution and form for this affidavit.

This small succession procedure affidavit is not the answer for all small successions. If the heirs are fighting, if there is litigation, or if the assets and debts are not known, it may still be necessary to open a legal succession with the courts.

As always, heirs should consult an experienced succession attorney before taking any action on their own regarding a succession.

 

 

Free Senior Workshop

You are invited to attend our Free Senior Work Shop on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at 12:00pm and 6:00pm at the East Baton Rouge Library – Goodwood, 7711 Goodwood Blvd. Baton Rouge, LA. Please RSVP seating is limited.  Please call to reserve 225-892-9702

Putting Off Getting A Will till You Fly? Think Again!

 

One of the biggest things that motivates people to our law firm to engage in estate planning or updating their wills is when they go on an airplane trip. The thoughts to traveling high in the air in a large aircraft scares people into executing wills and powers of attorney. The perception is that flying is very dangerous. However, human perception is sometimes not based in reality.

 

What is your probability of dying in a commercial airplane crash? According to statistics, you have a one in 3.5 million chance of being involved in a commercial airplane crash where at least one person dies (not necessarily you).

 

In comparison, statistics show that you have a one in 100,000 chance of dying in an automobile accident. That’s right. You are at least 35 times more likely to die riding in a car accident today than if you got on a commercial aircraft.

 

So, what is the moral of the story? Instead of waiting to estate plan when you are taking a trip on a plane, you should be much more worried about estate planning today if you are riding in a car. One should not put off estate planning or the execution of powers of attorney. Our health and/or capacity is not guaranteed. Plan today!

 

If you have any questions about wills, estate planning or powers of attorney, contact an experienced estate planning attorney.

 

Kent S. DeJean

What Is A Living Will?

A living will is probably the most misnamed legal document.It has nothing to do with “living” and it’s not a “will”.

To put it bluntly, it is a directive to be allowed to die. A person that signs a living will is declaring that they be allowed to die if certain facts are present.  In Louisiana, euthanasia is illegal. Certain elements have to all be met before a living will becomes effective.  The required elements are as follows:

  1. The person must have an incurable injury, disease or illness
  2. This injury, disease or illness must be certified to be a terminal and irreversible condition by two (2) physicians (one of whom is the treating physician of that person) who have personally examined the person

 

  1. The physicians must determine that my death will occur whether or not life-sustaining procedures are utilized; and

 

  1. The application of life-sustaining procedures would serve only to prolong the dying process artificially

If all of these elements are met, the person may direct that all life-sustaining procedures be withheld or withdrawn. The person can also express a directive as to whether to allow food and water to be administered invasively if all the above elements are met.

The most common example of where all these required elements are met is if a person is in an incurable coma and whose life is being artificially prolonged by the use of a respirator.

A person interested in executing a living will, powers of attorney and a will, should consult an experienced estate planning attorney.

 

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Health Care Directives

A Health Care Directive is a legal document where a person can express whether they want or don’t want to try medical treatment in certain specific medical situations. These documents can be very lengthy and can cover wide ranges in hypothetical medical situations. It can take a long period of time to complete these lengthy documents.

This document is very important because it does two very important things:

  1. It allows the person who executes this document to remain in control of their medical treatment even though they become incapacitated. By expressing their preferences, family members or friends know what the person wanted and didn’t want in medical treatment.
  2. It removes very difficult medical decisions for family members and friends to have to make. Medical decisions can be very difficult because they have to be made during very difficult emotional times. By executing a Health Care Directive, the decisions are made for the family members and friends. This makes it easier for family members and friends during this difficult time.

 

A person interested in executing a Health Care Directive as well as powers of attorney, living wills and wills should contact an experienced estate planning attorney.

2018 Veterans Benefits

Monthly Pension Rates

 Single Veteran

Basic Improved Pension:                                          $1,097

Housebound:                                                             $1,340

Aid & Attendance:                                                     $1,830

Standard 5% VA UME Deduction:                           $54.92

Married Veteran

Basic Improved Pension:                                          $1,436

Housebound:                                                             $1,680

Aid & Attendance:                                                     $2,169

Standard 5% VA UME Deduction:                           $71.92

Surviving Spouse

Basic Improved Pension:                                          $735

Housebound:                                                             $899

Aid & Attendance:                                                     $1,176

Standard 5% VA UME Deduction:                           $36.83

Veteran Married to Veteran

Basic Improved Pension:                                          $1,436

One Housebound:                                                     $1,680

Two Housebound:                                                    $1,923

One Aid & Attendance                                               $2,169

One Housebound and One Aid& Attendance          $2,412

Both Aid & Attendance:                                            $2,903

 

New Medicaid Numbers

 

Community Spouse Resource Allowance $123,600
Resource Allowance for an Individual $2,000
Resource Allowance for a Couple
(Both husband and wife in a nursing home)
$3,000
Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance $3,090.00
Monthly Personal Needs Allowance $38
Divestment Penalty Divisor $4,000
Maximum Home Exclusion $572,000

 

FREE SENIOR ALERT

 

 

 

ON

MARCH 28, 2018

AT

WYNDHAM GARDEN

5600 Bluebonnet Blvd.

Baton Rouge, LA

9:30am, 12:00pm, and 4pm

Refreshments served

 

 

 

CALL NOW TO GET YOUR DUCKS IN A ROW   225-892-9702

 

THIS FREE TALK IS A MUST IF YOU:

Þ Are a child who is beginning to worry about your parent’s health and the possibility that you may end up taking care of them.

Þ Do not have a long term care plan and you think that you have sufficient income to pay for long term care.

Þ Are already in need of long term care.

Þ Are eligible for Veteran’s benefits that may provide up to $2,126.00 per month Tax Free.

AT THIS FREE TALK YOU WILL DISCOVER:

Þ How the new tax law will impact your retirement.

Þ How to protect your home, income, and savings from the government.

Þ How to avoid probate

Þ Why a revocable living trust is a Medicaid disaster.

Þ How to increase your Social Security and Retirement income.

Who Will Make the Decision Whether I Die If I Have No Living Will?

Living wills are important legal documents. A living will gives the person signing it, the power to stop any life sustaining procedure if that person has an incurable non-treatable illness or disease in which the life sustaining procedure only artificially prolongs life.  Two doctors (one of whom is the treating doctor) must certify that all of the above elements or met.

In the event that a person doesn’t have a living will, the decision to allow the person to die under the above circumstances will be left to other person family members if the person dying loses capacity.

The following is the descending order of classes of persons that will make decisions concerning the patient’s death if there is no living will.

First, A person designated by the patient to make the decision in a written document.

Secondly, the patient’s court appointed tutor or curator;

Thirdly, the patient’s spouse not legally separated;

Next, the patient’s children;

Next, the patient’s parents; and

Next, the patient’s siblings; and finally,

The patient’s other ascendants or descendants.

It is important to remember that if there is any one in a class, the decision is made by person(s) in that class. If there are no person(s) in that higher class, the decision is made by the next class and so forth and so on.

It is also important to known that the decision making is not democratic. If any person in the class objects to the artificial technology being removed, it will not be removed to allow the patient to die.

If you have any questions about living wills, you should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Kent S. DeJean