Northeast Times

Seniors receive advice on planning ahead

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Eld­er law at­tor­ney Gar­rett Gum­mer spoke last week to mem­bers of the Burholme Com­munity Town Watch and Civic As­so­ci­ation, and he dis­trib­uted a five-page pamph­let that lis­ted the “27 Costly Mis­con­cep­tions About Plan­ning for Your Seni­or Years.”

One mis­con­cep­tion is that nurs­ing home costs in Pennsylvania av­er­age $1,500 to $2,500 per month per per­son. The real cost is up to $10,000 a month, and that doesn’t in­clude rising pre­scrip­tion drug prices.

An­oth­er mis­con­cep­tion is that a low per­cent­age of Amer­ic­ans end up in a nurs­ing home. Ac­cord­ing to AARP, the real fig­ure for those reach­ing age 65 is 48 per­cent.

“That’s like flip­ping a coin, al­most,” Gum­mer said.

Gum­mer and col­league Maur­een An­der­son handle es­tate and long-term nurs­ing care plan­ning. Spe­cific­ally, they as­sist cli­ents on liv­ing and tra­di­tion­al wills, trusts, as­set pro­tec­tion, es­tate ad­min­is­tra­tion, powers of at­tor­ney, guard­i­an­ships, home sales and Medi­caid plan­ning.

The at­tor­ney noted that an ini­tial will is not ne­ces­sar­ily fi­nal.

“You can al­ways change your will up un­til you die,” he said.

Gum­mer also en­cour­aged people with wills to provide spe­cif­ic buri­al in­struc­tions. Oth­er­wise, a fam­ily might bury a loved one who in­stead wanted to be cremated.

“Do a let­ter of in­struc­tion for the ex­ecut­or and fam­ily mem­bers,” he said.

As im­port­ant as wills are, Gum­mer said, choos­ing an in­di­vidu­al to serve as power of at­tor­ney is even more cru­cial. After all, that per­son will make fin­an­cial, leg­al and med­ic­al de­cisions. For any­one who be­comes dis­abled or in­ca­pa­cit­ated without a power of at­tor­ney, the courts would have to as­sign a guard­i­an.

Gum­mer ad­vised older people not to trans­fer their houses to their adult chil­dren. He said the seni­or’s Medi­caid eli­gib­il­ity could be com­prom­ised if there is a fall­ing out between par­ent and child or the child is sued, gets di­vorced or ex­per­i­ences tax prob­lems.

To be­come eli­gible for Medi­caid, one’s fin­an­cial re­sources can be no more than $2,400. Re­sources not coun­ted by the state De­part­ment of Pub­lic Wel­fare in­clude house­hold goods, cloth­ing, jew­elry, a buri­al plot and mark­er, a pre-paid fu­ner­al and one mo­tor vehicle.

“They don’t care if it’s a 1992 Malibu or a 2012 Lam­borghini,” Gum­mer said.

Gum­mer’s of­fice is loc­ated at 1260 Bustleton Pike in Feasterville, across from the Buck Hotel. The tele­phone num­ber is 215-396-1001, and the Web site ad­dress is www.gummereld­er­law.com

In oth­er news from the March 8 meet­ing:

• Lt. Frank Schneider, who heads the 2nd Po­lice Dis­trict’s Po­lice Ser­vice Area 3, listened to com­plaints about a vari­ety of is­sues: par­ents double-park­ing out­side J. Hamp­ton Moore and Sol­is-Co­hen ele­ment­ary schools, il­leg­al truck park­ing on the 7100 block of Pen­n­way St. and a mo­tor­ist pur­posely and re­peatedly dam­aging the flower bed at Ox­ford and Tyson av­en­ues.

• The Burholme Com­munity Town Watch and Civic As­so­ci­ation will meet on Thursday, April 12, at 7 p.m., at United Meth­od­ist Church of the Re­deem­er, at Cottman and Lawndale av­en­ues. ••

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You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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