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. ••EndFragment