Fighting Dementia

elder care attorneyThere is a growing prevalence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease among seniors in America. Many seniors develop either dementia or Alzheimer’s which virtually fries their brain, and it can have a devastating impact upon their family.

Cost of Treating Dementia

The treating of dementia related illnesses is very costly. There is a study which claims that by 2050, $1 out of every $3 spent on Medicare will go to the treatment of dementia related illnesses. It is estimated by the year 2050, this will cost over $1 trillion dollars.

Curing Dementia

Both Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia are not curable. The treatment today simply slows onset of the disease. As Americans’ life expectancies increase, more and more Americans are expected to develop these illnesses.

Medical science does not know what causes dementia. However, there is some indication that people can reduce their risk of cognitive impairments by adopting certain life long habits which promote good overall health. It is recommended to people as they get older to exercise on a regular basis, eat appropriately, try to reduce stress and stay socially active and engaged. It is also extremely important to try to continue to learn throughout your lifetime.

Long Island Wills and Estates attorneyElliot S. Schlissel is an elder care attorney. He represents clients in all aspects of estate planning, drafting of wills and trusts, drafting healthcare proxies and powers of attorney.

Doctor Assisted Suicide

Attorneys for a group of terminally ill individuals have taken legal action to prevent prosecution of physicians who provide assistance in dying to terminally ill, mentally competent individuals. The attorneys have sued 5 district attorneys and the attorney general for the State of New York to stop them from prosecution of physicians who provide assistance in dying to terminally ill patients. Kathryn Tucker, the Executive Director of the Disability Rights Legal Center, represents the plaintiffs. She recently stated “this case is about letting the patient, the individual, choose how they will cross the threshold to death when faced with the final ravages of terminal illness.”

Presently under New York law, terminally ill, mentally competent New York residents can opt to withdraw life prolonging medical procedures to hasten their death. Examples of medical assistance they can refuse to take involve the utilization of ventilators and feeding tubes. They can also ask for drugs to keep them in a deep sleep while they slowly die of hunger and thirst.

Doctor Assisted Suicide

New York has a statute which prevents doctor assisted suicide. It is an E felony to “promote a suicide attempt.” This is defined as intentionally causing or aiding another person to commit suicide. In addition, there is a second statute which classifies the act of intentionally causing or aiding another person to commit suicide as a C felony, also known as second degree manslaughter. A Class C felony can be punishable by a sentence of up to 15 years in prison, and a Class E felony can be punishable by a sentence of up to 4 years in prison. This lawsuit states there is no “valid statutory basis” to prosecute doctors who provide aid in dying because a mentally competent, terminally ill patient opting for a “peaceful death” does not constitute suicide. Ms. Tucker, when interviewed, stated the law in New York creates a “chill in the environment” which may make physicians fearful of assisting patients with suicide.

Aid in dying statutes make it legal to assist patients with suicide in the States of New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and Montana. This lawsuit seeks to bring the State of New York into this group.

Elliot S. Schlissel is an elder law attorney. He helps clients with regard to wills and estate lawyer in New York

Proposed Tax Credits

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Elliot S. Schlissel and his associates have been representing clients for more than 35 years in all aspects of estate planning.  Elliot and his associates draft wills and trusts, represent clients in guardianship proceedings, and estate litigation.  Elliot is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.  He can be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by email to

Is There A Right To Die?

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Elliot S. Schlissel is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Elliot and his associate lawyers maintain a sophisticated practice handling all aspects of elder law. He can be reached for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Estate Planning for Aging Parents

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Elliot S. Schlissel is an elder care attorney.  He can be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by email to

Long Term Care in America

The life expectancy of Americans continues to get longer. There are a variety of reasons for American’s increased life expectancies. Better medical care, more knowledge about nutrition are two of the more significant factors which have helped increase the life expectancy of Americans.

Long Term Care Issues

It is estimated more than 70% of all Americans aged 65 years and older will at some point in their lifetime require long term care medical services. Medicare and private insurance plans, such as Medicare supplements, do not cover the expense of long term care services.


Medicaid is a program for poor people. It provides coverage under joint Federal and State programs to pay for medical services such as long term care. Individuals who can qualify for Medicaid can have the government pay for nursing home or in home care expenses.

For individuals who do not qualify for Medicaid, they can face an astronomical level of expenses for nursing home care. It is estimated that in 2014, the cost of a monthly stay at a nursing home in the Metropolitan New York area would run between $10,000 and $12,000 per month. That comes out to between $120,000 and $144,000 per year. The cost of nursing home care continues to rise at a rate of approximately 4 1/4% per year.

The cost for in home nursing care with a licensed home health aide in the Metropolitan New York area runs between $25 and $40 per hour. Individuals who qualify for in home Medicaid cannot obtain a health aide for 24 hours per day. Health aides are usually only approved for approximately 4 to 6 hours per day under Medicaid in home programs.

Long Term Care Insurance

It is highly recommended that individuals who own homes and have other assets purchase long term care insurance to cover the costs of potential future nursing home stays. This is especially important for married couples. If one spouse goes to a nursing home and the parties are forced to pay out of their savings, it can significantly reduce the assets the other spouse would need to live on for the rest of their life.

estate planning lawyer on Long IslandElliot S. Schlissel is an elder care attorney. He represents clients with regard to nursing home issues, Medicaid planning, and other estate planning issues. His office offers free consultations.

Alzheimer’s Disease: A Horror Faced by Some Seniors

elder care attorney on long islandAre you becoming forgetful? Are you having what is commonly referred to as senior moments? Are you wondering are these the first stages of Alzheimer’s disease? Although memory problems can be a sign of the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, that is not always the case. There are other symptoms to the onset of early Alzheimer’s disease.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease deals with an individual’s loss of the ability to recall things and engage in reasoning related to the recollection of ideas and facts stored in his or her memory. Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia. Dementia creates memory issues which interfere with many of life’s daily activities.

Alzheimer’s Disease Affects the Brain

Alzheimer’s disease affects the brain. It damages brain cells and over time has more and more significant effects on the individual’s ability to think, reason and remember things. Alzheimer’s disease is incurable.

Alzheimer’s disease is a disease of the aging. It generally affects senior citizens. In its early stages, Alzheimer’s disease simply causes memory loss. In its latter stages, Alzheimer’s disease can cause death.

Difficulties Functioning

Losing things and inability to manage simple tasks are some of the signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Individuals in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease can be prone to mishandling their finances and/or being inattentive to their personal hygiene needs.


Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease are often easily confused. They get lost easily. In some cases, it creates major personality changes and it causes the individual to become frustrated and violent.

What To Do If You Suspect You Have Alzheimer’s Disease

The easy answer to the question is to see a doctor. However, not all doctors deal with Alzheimer’s disease. You should speak to your family physician, or research which type of doctor has extensive experience in dealing with patients who have Alzheimer’s disease. Although Alzheimer’s disease is incurable, there are treatments to slow the onset of the disease. These treatments may help memory functions and allow the individual afflicted with the disease to live a normal life for years to come.

elder care planning assistance for seniorsElliot Schlissel is an elder care attorney. He is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He helps his clients with regard to estate issues, probating of wills, drafting of wills, and dealing with Medicaid eligibility issues. He is available for free consultations.

The Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust – Part I

elder law lawyersThe irrevocable life insurance trust is an estate tax saving device. Federal estate taxation begins after the estate has $5,340,000 in it.  New York State Inheritance taxes apply to estates that are over $1,000,000.  The proceeds of life insurance policies are exempt from state and federal income taxation but these proceeds are included in the individual’s estate for estate tax purposes. So how do you get to avoid state and federal estate taxes on life insurance proceeds? You put the life insurance policy into an irrevocable life insurance trust. An irrevocable life insurance trust is also referred to as an ILIT.

ILIT Example

To understand the importance in the appropriate situation of utilization of an irrevocable life insurance trust, let’s look at the following issues. Federal estate taxation on estates over $5,340,000 taxes those funds at a 35% rate. The New York State inheritance tax rate on funds over $1,000,000 in the estate is at approximately 16%.  If you add the 16% New York State Inheritance Tax rate and the 35% federal tax rate, you are paying 51% of the funds being inherited in taxes. A life insurance trust allows the inheritance of life insurance proceeds and avoids this 51% double taxation rate.

How The Life Insurance Trust Works

To start with, you cannot own the policy. The life insurance trust must purchase the policy from the insurance company and own the policy. This means you will have no control over the life insurance policy during your lifetime. This is important because the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that you give up control of the policy for the policy to avoid estate taxation. This means you cannot change the beneficiary of the policy. You also cannot borrow against the policy. However, you can name whoever you want as the beneficiary of the trust when the trust is purchased. Since the trust is an irrevocable trust, you cannot act as the trustee.

Paying the Premium

irrevocable trust attorneyEven though you don’t own the policy, you still pay the premiums on the policy. As of 2014, you can make gifts of up to $14,000 per year to any one person or entity. Therefore you can pay up to $14,000 per year to the trust to pay life insurance premiums. As long as you do not pay more than $14,000 per year, as of 2014, there are no tax issues.

Medicaid in New York – Part II

Look Back Period for Institutionalized Medicaid

There is a currently a 60 month (5 year) look back period for obtaining institutional Medicaid benefits. This means that the Medicaid recipient has a five year look back period where he or she may be subject to being a self-payer.

Spousal Refusal

If the community spouse has assets greater than allowed in the year the benefits are applied for, these assets and/or income will be considered to be available to be utilized by the institutional spouse to cover healthcare expenses. New York will not deny institutional spouse benefits if the community spouse refuses to contribute. The community spouse can do this by signing a “spousal refusal” letter. When a community spouse refuses to make contributions to the other spouse’s care, the Medicaid recipient must execute an assignment of support rights regarding the community spouse to the benefit of the Department of Social Services.

Medicaid Can Sue in Spousal Refusal Situations

In spousal refusal situations, Medicaid has a right to bring a legal proceeding on behalf of the Medicaid recipient against the community spouse. They can take this action to force the community spouse to support the Medicaid recipient and/or to obtain reimbursement for the expenses they have paid on behalf of the institutionalized spouse. The best way to deal with Medicaid issues and spousal refusal issues is to retain an experienced elder law attorney to represent you on these proceedings.

estate planningElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He assists his clients with regard to Medicaid planning issues.

Seniors Beware of Scams

With the passage of every single day, the number of financial scams targeting seniors is on a gradual rise. It will not be a wrong claim to make that the same is often referred to as the “crime of the 21st century”. Financial elder abuse can be looked upon as an abuse when a fraudulent makes an attempt to make improper use of money of an elderly person. It seems to be a matter of encouragement that a majority of all states has come up with laws that aim at providing senior members with protection.

Fake Prescription Drugs

One of the common types of scams that have been prevalent since the early 2000 is issues pertaining to counterfeit prescription drugs. It has been found that seniors have a tendency so as to be able to make an attempt to find better prices on the specialized medications that are available. The danger that seniors are faced with is that the payment they make does not play any role in improving the health condition of elderly persons. Rather, the unsafe substances purchased can cause greater harm and adversely affect the health of concerned elderly individuals.

Selling Bogus Items

One of the other types of frauds that are committed against seniors is selling bogus items. In similar types of fraud, an elderly person is talked in a sweet manner so as to buy a product. The new product that they are convinced to purchase is a brand new television in a new sealed pack. However, the same turns out to be a well-padded rock. It is important for seniors to stay away from buying similar types of fraudulent items. There are also several instances where seniors are forced to purchase property under undue influence/external pressure. You are most likely to find several instances where seniors have been duped to part along with their properties.

Claiming False Prizes

A financial fraud that is committed against all concerned seniors is offering them with false prizes. In this type of scams, seniors are duped in such a manner such that they are made to believe that can become rich overnight. A survey has brought to light the fact that, by means of committing similar types of frauds, the scam making market is able to earn an amount of approximately one billion every single year. Since our society is bombarded with fashion crazy persons, fraudsters tend to earn a good amount of cash by means of duping them into purchasing fraudulent anti-aging products. They are made to believe that using these products at the age of 60 can make them feel in their early 40’s.

Telemarketing can indeed be looked upon as one of the common types of frauds that are made against elderly persons. It has been found that the older section of our society is easily susceptible to similar types of frauds that are committed. Since there are no documented proofs, similar types of scams can indeed prove to be difficult to trace, as well. The number of financial frauds and scams against seniors is expected to increase if proper steps are not taken.

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