Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Wreaths Across America Blog Post

In this season of giving, I want to share with you an organization I have a special fondness for.

Wreaths Across America honors U.S. military veterans by placing wreaths on the graves at Arlington National Cemetery.

As you probably know, Arlington houses thousands of fallen soldiers and deceased veterans dating back to the Civil War, as well as memorials like the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The work Wreaths Across America does ensures that even in death we continue to pay our respects to the servicemen and women who fought for our country.

But as of this weekend, they will be about 30,000 wreaths short of fulfilling their commitment and they need us to donate whatever we can to make up the difference.

If you are able, please consider helping out at www.WreathsAcrossAmerica.org. For just $15 you can sponsor one wreath. It makes a thoughtful holiday gift for the person who has everything.

Thank you.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Warning Signs of a Heart Attack and Stroke

It’s important to catch potential heart attacks and strokes as soon as possible. Below are some indicators that together or separately warn of these medical emergencies.

Heart Attack
  • Chest Discomfort: Pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center of your chest that lasts for several minutes and occurs intermittently
  • Upper Body Discomfort: Could occur anywhere from either arm to back, stomach, neck, or jaw
  • Shortness of Breath Cold sweats
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, often focused on one side of the body
  • Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Trouble walking/dizziness/loss of balance
  • Severe headache

As part of our practice, we advise everybody to have a well-planned estate, including a Power of Attorney (“POA”) for finances and health. It is important to have an updated POA just in case you ever suffer either of these situations or some other illness or injury.

We hope this information is helpful. Feel free to contact The Paton Law Firm with any questions.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Holocaust Reparations Can Be Protected from Medicaid

As part of our Elder Law practice, we know things that others don't. Here's some important information:

Holocaust Reparations and Medicaid

You may already know that your assets and income are a big factor in the Medicaid you receive. Almost any money you have can be taken by Medicaid. However, Holocaust reparations are often exempt from Medicaid, but you must follow certain rules.

Note that in New Jersey, Medicaid will protect your reparations while you are alive, but seek recovery from them after you die. There is a bill pending to change this.

Separate Bank Account

Reparations should not be co-mingled with other assets. Therefore, you will need to keep your reparations in a separate bank account.

This can be any type of account or multiple accounts of various types. The account(s) simply must not contain funds from other sources of income. Any interest made on the account is not exempt from Medicaid.

If you have previously received reparations and did not put them in a separate bank account, that's okay. However, you must rectify this before applying for Medicaid by separating the money out. To separate out the right funds, you'll need to figure out the total amount of you've received in reparations.
Figuring Out The Amount of Reparations You've Received

You must retain proof of the total reparations you've received from their source, which will be a foreign government agency.

To do this, write a letter to that agency requesting your payment history. Include your name, address, date of birth, and case reference number. The case reference number, along with the agency to contact should be listed on any communications you receive along with your reparations.

There are many possible agencies from which your payments could originate so if you are unsure of where to send your letter, speak to the bank from which they are sent.

Your payment history will likely be provided to you in the currency of the originating country, which means you'll need to calculate the American dollar equivalent according to the conversion rate when each payment was made.

You can find historical conversion rates by selecting the country of origin (likely Austria or Germany) and year received and entering the amount here: http://fxtop.com/en/currency-converter-past.php

If you need help, please contact us at The Paton Law Firm.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Important Reminder: POAs for College-Age Kids

My clients all know how much I stress the importance of everyone having a Power of Attorney (POA), even children once they turn 18.

This is especially important now that it is time for incoming freshmen to start their first semester of college.

What many parents do not realize is that once a child turns 18, they are legally considerend an "adult." Even if the parent of an adult child pays for school or medical bills, personnel from these institutions are not allowed to speak to the parent; only the child.

Let’s look at a hypothetical situation: An 18 year old is away at college, and all the bills come to the parents’ house. Should the parents have any questions regarding these bills, they cannot speak with representatives from the college without the express permission of their adult child.

If the student had a POA naming one or both parents as the adult child's Agent or Co-Agents, the parents would have the authority needed to talk to the college about almost anything pertaining to their child.

Another hypothetical situation: you receive an invoice for medical treatment from the college and want to know what happened, and if more treatment is necessary or recommended. What if the child is severely injured or ill, and cannot give permission for the doctors to talk to you? You would then have to seek “Guardianship”, which is a long and expensive process.

Having a POA for your adult child can streamline and simplify many similar situations.

Set up an appointment for your child to sign a POA today, before they leave for school.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Noise Complaints

Nearly everyone has had to put up with a neighbor’s noisy party or the dog down the street that never stops barking.

Although situations like these may seem inevitable, there is something you can do about them when they arise.

At a state-wide level, the Noise Control Act and Noise Control Regulations govern commercial and industrial sources of noise in New Jersey. However, the State leaves the regulation of residential noise and nuisances to more local authorities.

Overall noise enforcement is primarily handled at the county level by that county’s Public Health Department, which investigates noise complaints and issue violations when applicable.

On a day-to-day basis, individual municipalities can enforce their local nuisance codes to handle noise complaints.

New Jersey promulgates a Model Noise Control Ordinance, but not all municipalities use this. Some towns have enacted the model ordinance word-for-word or with just a few minor changes, while others have an entirely different set of ordinances.

Typically, noise restrictions are in place from 8 PM to 8 AM on weekdays and 8 PM to 9 AM on weekends. Exemptions from noise ordinances include fire signals, church bells during services, planes, road noise, trains, emergency sirens, and public celebrations.

Rather than memorizing your local noise ordinances, you should simply call the police if you are being bothered by a noise that you think is excessive. The police are trained to handle local noise disturbances. Once an officer is on site, they will make the determination as to whether the noise is a nuisance. Repeated violations by the same offender may result in a fine.

Additional information on who to call when you have a noise complaint can be found here.