Legal Research in Maryland

I stumbled upon a blog written by Trevor Rosen that provides invaluable information for people seeking to do legal research in Maryland.   For example, his May 2, 2009, blog post gives guidance on how to obtain legislative history for Maryland statutes.  Lawyers use legislative history to ascertain the lawmakers’ intentions when passing legislation.  Legislative history is important if a law is not clear, or if the meaning of the law is in dispute and the matter must be decided by a court.  When courts interpret statutory law they frequently refer to the legislative history.

Rosen provides many other resources to assist lawyers and others who seek to research Maryland law.  I have placed a link to Trevor Rosen’s blog in the Web Links section of this webpage.  To see Rosen’s blog, click on the words “Researching Maryland Law” in our Web Links.

Personal Injury Trusts

The Gatesman Law Office works with personal injury lawyers to assist their clients in protecting the assets they recover for their clients. Sometimes, it is prudent to utilize a special trust to protect any public benefits the injured party may be getting. If, for example, the client is eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid, using such a trust is essential. Without the trust, the client will lose both SSI and Medicaid.

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Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

Traditional Medicaid Asset Preservation Planning enables the well spouse to protect some or all of the assets while allowing the spouse in the nursing home to obtain Medical Assistance to pay the cost of nursing home care.  Post-Medicaid eligibility planning techniques enable the well spouse, should she predecease the spouse in the nursing home, to pass all of the assets to children without having to pay back any of the nursing home costs.

This type of traditional Medicaid planning, however, does nothing to preserve assets for the well spouse should the well spouse also require long term care in a nursing home sometime in the future.  Indeed, many of the powerful asset preservation tools available to a married couple cannot be used to preserve assets for a single person seeking Medical Assistance benefits to cover nursing home costs.

Consequently, even where a couple has done asset protection planning when one of them enters a nursing home, after that individual has died, the well spouse remains at risk to lose all of her assets in the event she should require long term nursing home care.

William M. Gatesman has been a leader in developing asset preservation techniques for individuals and families facing the possibility of high long term care costs.  Mr. Gatesman’s latest development in long term care asset preservation strategies is the Spousal Asset Preservation Trust.

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2009 Medicaid Update

In January, 2009, the Maryland Medical Assistance program revised it’s income and asset thresholds.  For 2009, the maximum spousal resource allowance is $109,560, and the minimum allowance is $21,912.  Remember, however, that the spouse whose partner is in a nursing home may not be able to retain the maximum resource allowance depending on how much money the couple had when one of them entered the nursing home.  To see how one might take action to ensure that the spouse at home can keep the maximum, you can read the article I have written on the subject by clicking -HERE-.

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Medicaid Planning with Asset Transfers

Ever since the implementation of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (“DRA 2005”) elder law advisors have been informing clients that Medicaid asset preservation planning using gifts to family members has become more complex. While many people believe that DRA 2005 was the death knell for such planning, in fact one may still preserve assets using a gift giving strategy.

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Estate Plan Check Up

Many people are in the habit of visiting their doctors for an annual physical or other regular check-up.  Still more visit their accountants each year to assist them with their income taxes.  And most people regularly visit their auto mechanics to change the oil in their cars every three months or so.

The practice with lawyers is different, however, and people may put themselves in peril if they do not periodically review their affairs with their attorney.

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