A Guide to Elder Planning: Everything You Need to Know to Protect Your Loved Ones and Yourself


“This new, updated edition of A Guide to Elder Planning is an indispensable must read for millions of Americans concerned about planning during challenging times for a secure retirement while protecting the assets for which they have worked so hard...get it!”

– Ken and Daria Dolan, former co-hosts of both Dolans Unscripted on CNN and a long-running, award-winning national radio program

“I am especially pleased that the author addresses the critical issue of scams, perpetrated by...

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A Guide to Elder Planning: Everything You Need to Know to Protect Your Loved Ones and Yourself

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“This new, updated edition of A Guide to Elder Planning is an indispensable must read for millions of Americans concerned about planning during challenging times for a secure retirement while protecting the assets for which they have worked so hard...get it!”

– Ken and Daria Dolan, former co-hosts of both Dolans Unscripted on CNN and a long-running, award-winning national radio program

“I am especially pleased that the author addresses the critical issue of scams, perpetrated by criminals known or unknown to the older person, a topic not usually covered well in books of this genre. I recommend this book highly.”

– Bing Chen, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Gerontology, the University of Massachusetts, and Senior Fellow, Gerontology Institute

“The author covers everything from estate planning to long-term care to asset protection and has the latest on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. He offers thoughtful analysis on that critical process of becoming your parents’ parent. You WILL face these problems. Steve Weisman makes it easier.”

– Jim Bohannon, talk radio host, Dial Global Radio Networks

“Steve Weisman’s updated book remains the Bible for seniors. From Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid to the new Affordable Care Act, to private pensions and 401(k)s vs. Roths, to nursing homes vs. home care, to elder abuse, scams, and age-based workplace actions against seniors, this book is a fantastic guide to seniors’ actions. This book is the most informative and readable source for seniors on the market.”

– Robert S. Weiner, former Chief of Staff, U.S. House Select Committee on Aging; Director, Daily Press Briefing Room; and national columnist and radio-TV commentator

“With a light and accessible touch, Steve Weisman digs deep into the issues and laws affecting seniors. Anyone, whether older or younger, really wanting to understand the legalese they often hear from attorneys should read this comprehensive book, whether from start to finish or dipping in to answer questions as they arise.”

–Harry S. Margolis, ElderLawAnswers, Editor of The ElderLaw Report

Everything You Need to Know to Protect Your Loved Ones and Yourself

Updated and Revised Edition

For millions of families, elder planning is now life’s most important and difficult financial challenge. Whether you’re concerned about your own future, your loved ones, or both, Steve Weisman’s A Guide to Elder Planning brings together all the up-to-date knowledge and practical insights you’ll need.

Thorough, realistic, friendly, and easy-to-use, this guide covers all the financial, legal, and personal issues faced by seniors and their families. Weisman brings together practical solutions for estate, investment, retirement, tax, and long-term care planning…managing Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and veterans’ benefits…avoiding age discrimination, abuse, and scams…planning for healthcare directives and the end of life…and much more.

Steve Weisman is one of the nation’s leading eldercare attorneys. He has helped millions of seniors through his work as an author and as host of the radio show A Touch of Grey. Drawing on all this experience, he offers all the useful, trustworthy answers you’ll need—in plain, crystal-clear English!


• Protect your assets and estate

• Understand and maximize your benefits

• Plan and stay in control of your healthcare

• Choose the right housing options

• Avoid elder scams

• Manage paperwork

• Work together as a family

• Prepare for the end of life

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780133091922
  • Publisher: FT Press
  • Publication date: 1/30/2013
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 364
  • Sales rank: 784,244
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Steve Weisman is a lawyer who hosts the radio show “A Touch of Grey,” syndicated to more than 50 stations nationwide, including AM 970 (NYC) and KRLA (LA). A senior lecturer at Bentley University where he teaches Elder Planning, he is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The legal editor for Talkers magazine and RadioInfo.com, he writes for publications ranging from The Boston Globe to Playboy and earned an ABA Certificate of Merit for excellence in legal journalism. His books include Boomer or Bust, The Truth About Buying Annuities,The Truth About Protecting Your IRAs and 401(k)s, and The Truth About Avoiding Scams, which was featured on Dr. Phil and CNN.

Weisman received a J.D. degree from Boston College Law School. He also operates the website www.scamicide.com , which provides the latest information on scams and identity theft.

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Table of Contents

Contents Chapter 1 Asset Protection 1
Insurance 2
Homeowner’s Insurance 2
Prenuptial Agreements 7
Bank Accounts 10
Trusts 11
Homestead Protection 13
Fraudulent Conveyances 14
Assets Protected by Law 15
Joint Ownership 15
Tenancy by the Entirety 16
Family Limited Partnerships 17
Endnotes 18
Chapter 2 Senior Citizens and Credit 19
Equal Credit Opportunity Act 19
Credit Reports 20
Credit Cards 25
Chapter 3 Substitute Decision Making 27
Power of Attorney 27
Durable Power of Attorney 28
You and Will Robinson 31
IRS Dangers 34
Health Care Proxy 35
Free Advice (And Worth Every Penny) 39
Chapter 4 Estate Planning 41
Wills 41
Living Trusts 45
Incentive Trusts 49
Estate Taxes 50
State Estate Taxes 54
Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts 54
Charitable Remainder Trust 56
Defective Trusts 57
Section 529 Plans 58
Planning for Your Pets 60
Digital Estate Planning 61
POD Accounts 61
Second Marriages 62
Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples 63
Now That You Have a Plan 64
Chapter 5 Investments 66
Mutual Funds 66
DRIPs 74
Certificates of Deposit 74
Treasuries 75
Annuities 78
Your Stock Portfolio 79
A Few Words on Gold 87
Final Thoughts 87
Endnotes 88
Chapter 6 Income Taxes 89
Marital Status 89
Parents and Children 94
Domestic Partners 96
The Over-65 Crowd 97
Untaxed Income 98
Tax Credits 99
Social Security Taxes 100
Tax Deductions 102
Tax Relief as Big as a House 108
I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends 110
Now That You Have Prepared Your Taxes, What Documents Do You Keep? 111
Final Words from Deep in the Heart of Taxes 111
Endnote 112
Chapter 7 Individual Retirement Accounts and 401(k)s 113
Traditional IRA 114
Roth IRA 116
Decisions, Decisions 117
The Different Path 118
401(k) 120
Roth 401(k) 122
Bad News/Good News 123
Choices 124
Devil in the Details 124
How to Exorcise the Devil 124
Beneficiary Designation 125
Conversion to a Roth IRA 127
When Does It Make Sense to Convert a Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA? 129
Distribution 130
Withdrawal Pains 131
Survivors 134
Chapter 8 Planning for the Home 138
Reverse Mortgages 139
Keep It in the Family 141
Uncle Sam Likes Reverse Mortgages 141
Using Reverse Mortgages to Pay for Long-Term Care Insurance 142
Creative Uses of Reverse Mortgages 143
Counseling 146
Bells and Whistles 147
Shared Equity and Appreciation Fees 148
Reverse Mortgage Fees 150
For Whom the Reverse Mortgage Tolls 151
The Bottom Line 152
Mortgage Prepayment 152
Private Mortgage Insurance 153
Refinancing 154
Life Estates 155
Sell the Home to the Children 156
Chapter 9 Alternative Housing 157
Retirement Communities 158
Important Considerations in Evaluating a Continuing Care Retirement Community 162
Assisted Living 165
Legalities 165
What’s in a Name? 166
Accreditation 167
Important Considerations in Evaluating an Assisted-Living Facility 168
A Word of Warning 170
Location, Location, Location 170
Check It Out 171
Security 171
Hospitals 171
The Smell Test 172
Smoking 172
Pet Policy 172
Transportation 172
Do You Get Fries with That? 173
What Would Tim Russert Ask? 173
The Fine Print 174
How Do You Pay? 174
Checklist of Important Issues in Considering an Assisted-Living Facility or Continuing Care Retirement Community 175
The Final Words 177
Endnote 177
Chapter 10 Long-Term Care 178
History 178
Cost of Long-Term Care 181
Future Cost of Long-Term Care 181
Financing Long-Term Care 181
Finding the Money 185
Another Thing to Think About 185
Swap 186
Other Considerations 186
Creative Solutions 197
Who Is in Jeopardy of a Premium Increase? 197
Good News 198
It Pays to Be Married 198
Group Policies 199
Deferred Annuities 199
Disability Insurance 200
Surf and Turf 200
Make the Kids Pay 201
Endnote 201
Chapter 11 Social Security 202
History 202
Eligibility and Benefit Calculations 203
Look for Your Annual Statement 204
Full Retirement Age 205
Early or Late Retirement 206
Show Me the Money 207
A Bird in the Hand 208
Over-Under 209
Take the Money and Run 209
A Work in Progress 210
Getting a Larger Check Later 210
Spousal Benefits 211
Income Taxes 211
Another Reason to Delay Taking Benefits 212
COLAs 213
Social Security Retirement Strategies 213
Survivor’s Benefits 214
Notch Babies 216
Social Security Disability Income 216
Getting a Copy of Your Record 218
Overpayments 219
Medicare and Your Application for Social Security Benefits 219
Endnote 219
Chapter 12 Medicare 220
The Medicare Alphabet 220
Managed Care 228
The Fly in the Ointment 230
Where Do You Get Your Plan? 231
When Can You Join or Switch a Plan 231
What Does It Cost? 231
The Math 232
Who Is Keeping Score? 232
Sticky Little Detail 233
Don’t Cry for Me Argentina: Tiered Drugs 233
Exceptions Process 234
Penalty 234
Tricare 235
Things to Consider When Choosing a Drug Plan 235
Don’t Give Up the SHIP 236
Medicare Home Healthcare 236
Home Healthcare Services Provided 237
Post-Hospital Home Healthcare 238
Hospice Care 238
Premiums 239
Enrollment 240
Medicare D 241
Medigap Insurance 241
Traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage? 242
Appeals 244
Endnote 245
Chapter 13 Medicaid 246
Medicaid 101 248
Asset Eligibility 248
Life Insurance 250
Retirement Planning 251
Exceptions to Transfer Penalties 253
Home Improvement 254
Consideration of Income 254
Protection from Spousal Impoverishment 254
How Much Do You Pay? 256
Increasing the Allowance for At-Home Spouses 256
Medicaid Planning 257
Just Say No 259
Estate Planning for the Community Spouse 260
Estate and Financial Planning for the Spouse in the Nursing Home 260
Tactics for Reducing Assets Without a Medicaid Penalty 261
Trusts 265
Protecting the Home 266
Tips for the Home 269
Tactics for Increasing Assets to Achieve a Greater Spousal Resource Allowance 270
Annuities 271
Promissory Notes 273
Do Nothing Strategy 274
As if You Don’t Have Enough to Worry About 274
Partnership for Long-Term Care 275
Estate Recovery 276
Exceptions 277
The Latest Information 279
Chapter 14 Veterans’ Benefits 280
Veterans Eligible for Veterans Administration (VA) Pension Benefits 281
Spouses and Family Members Eligible for VA Benefits 282
Basic Requirements for Veterans’ Benefits 283
Pension Benefits for War Veterans and Their Families 284
Chapter 15 Being Patient 288
Privacy and Medical Records 289
Access to Medical Records—By You and Others 290
Chapter 16 Scams 291
Identity Theft 292
Affinity Fraud 293
The Grandparent Scam 294
Social Security Scams 294
Medicare Scams 297
Charity Scams 298
Investment Frauds 299
Variable Annuities 299
Charitable Gift Annuities 300
Churning 300
Stranger-Owned Life Insurance (SOLI) 301
Sham Tax Forms 302
Phony Prizes 303
Slavery Reparations 303
IRS Impersonators 304
Credit-Card Protection 304
Chain Letters 305
Pyramid Schemes 306
Cramming 306
Credit Repair Services 308
Travel Fraud 309
Reloading 309
Some Good Advice 310
Identity Theft from the Dead 311
A Few Tips 311
Chapter 17 End-of-Life Issues 313
Health Care Proxy 313
Hospice Care 314
Organ Donation 314
Durable Power of Attorney 314
Beneficiary Designations 315
Monetary Needs 315
Wills 316
Planning Your Funeral 316
Wills to Live By 317
Glossary 318
Favorite Websites 331
Forms 338
State Income Tax Deductibility of Section 529 Plans 342
Index 344

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