Legislative Update: New Elder Care Laws Passed

Recently, the Hawaii State Legislature passed two bills that affect our elderly population and their health care. One was Senate Bill 534, the Kupuna Caregivers Act; the other was House Bill 1396, Relating to Community Care Foster Family Homes, both of which were signed into law by Governor Ige this session.

Kupuna Caregivers: One of the most difficult things that many people here in Hawaii face is trying to provide in-home care for their aging and elderly family members while still holding down

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THE BEST NURSING HOME IN HAWAII

Last month we talked about the different types of nursing homes and long-term care facilities available in Hawaii. We covered ARCH, Adult Foster Homes, and Nursing Homes. There are also assisted-living facilities, which we did not discuss, but which are an important component of elderly care. Assisted-living facilities are especially helpful for those who don’t have family members who can help them to stay at home while they need some assistance, but before they

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THE THREE TYPES OF NURSING HOMES

We have had hundreds of clients over the years who have gone to nursing homes to provide for their care as they aged. Some of them lived full, rich, engaged lives in the nursing home until the very end. Others suffered from severe physical disabilities or dementia that prevented them from actively interacting with the world as meaningfully as they would have liked. Clients often are confused by the different types of long-term care options available to them. Today we’ll

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DON’T “SPEND DOWN” FOR MEDICAID!

When people come to us for advice on how to qualify for Medicaid to pay for their nursing home cost, we hear this phrase “Spend Down” all the time.  Many people who have researched Medicaid benefits for long term care have heard that they should “Spend Down” their assets in order to qualify for Medicaid.  In this article I will explain why this could be the worst advice a client could follow—and yet most financial planners, social workers, Medicaid Consultants, and even lawyers still

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DOES A LIFE ESTATE STILL WORK FOR MEDICAID? (June 2015)

DOES A LIFE ESTATE STILL WORK FOR MEDICAID?

Back in March, April, and May of 2010, my father wrote a three-part series for the Hawaii Herald called “Protect Your Home From Medicaid Liens.”  It explained that the best way to protect your home is to keep a life estate and give the remainder (or future ownership) away to an irrevocable trust, drafted by a lawyer who specializes in

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GIFTING YOUR ASSETS

            Most of my clients have heard that you can give away $10,000 per year to any other person without consequences.  That’s not exactly correct.  Some have heard that you should consider giving away your assets to your children or other loved ones 5 years before you might need to go to a nursing home.  Therefore, many of them believe that you should start giving $10,000 per year to each of your children and grandchildren or other loved ones

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2015 ESTATE PLANNING UPDATE

Here is a 2015 update on important numbers used in Estate Planning and Medicaid Planning in Hawaii.

How much money and property can a person have at death without paying estate taxes?

At the end of 2012, Congress passed a law making the exemption from estate taxes $5,000,000 (adjusted for inflation) without a built in expiration date. Taking into account inflation, the actual amount exempt from estate tax for 2015 is $5,430,000. The Hawaii Estate Tax law was previously amended to follow the Federal

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2014 Estate Planning Update (February 2014)

Here is a 2014 update on important numbers used in Estate Planning and Medicaid Planning in Hawaii.

How much money and property can a person have at death without paying estate taxes?

A little over one year ago, Congress passed a law  making the exemption from estate taxes $5,000,000 (adjusted for inflation) without a built in expiration date. Taking into account inflation, the actual amount exempt from estate tax for 2014 is $5,340,000. The Hawaii Estate Tax law was amended to follow the Federal

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Creative Medicaid Spend Down Techniques (May 2013)

As you are probably well aware, my father, Sanford K. Okura, and I have both written extensively on qualifying for Medicaid to pay for long term care costs while protecting your assets from nursing home costs.  Our law practice focuses on this problem as a key specialty within estate planning and elder law. Most people think that they have to spend all their money on their care–down to $2,000–before they can get qualified for Medicaid to pay

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2012 Estate Planning Update (January 2012)

Here is a 2012 update on important numbers used in Estate Planning and Medicaid Planning in Hawaii.

How much money and property can a person have at death without paying estate taxes?

Under a temporary federal law, $5,000,000 is tax free this year. From January 1, 2013, only $1,000,000 will be tax free.  There is a bill in Congress, introduced on November 17, 2011, called the “Sensible Estate Tax Act of 2011,” which proposes to reduce the exemption to $1,000,000 immediately. You can track this

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