How to manage someone else’s money

submitted by E. Garrett Gummer, III, Esquire, and Maureen L. Anderson, Esquire, www.GummerElderLaw.com

Have you been officially asked to manage someone else’s money?  For example, have you been named an agent under a power of attorney, or a trustee of a trust?

As our society ages, more and more people are being asked to take on these roles, but they can be daunting. In order to help, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has published four free guides, under the general title Managing Someone Else’s Money. The guides are designed for (1) agents under a power of attorney, (2) court-appointed guardians and conservators, (3) trustees of a living trust, and (4) people appointed to manage someone else’s government benefit checks.

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How does one find a great contractor?

submitted by Gary Selleck, owner, C&C Family Roofing

Most homeowners feel completely helpless regarding home repair and improvements. They don’t know what they are looking at, how to repair it or even who to call. It’s at that point that the homeowner feels overwhelmed. Having a trusted and reliable contractor to answer those questions is invaluable. So how does one find a great contractor?

The most common mistake in choosing a contractor is assuming that all contractors are equal. Professionalism, product knowledge, trade knowledge, service and customer care are important. The second most common mistake is assuming that the size of their phone book ad means something. Wrong – they just have the most money to burn. The third most common mistake is using price to determine who is best. More expensive isn’t always the best.

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Life insurance policies can reduce Medicaid eligibility

submitted by E. Garrett Gummer, III, Esquire, and Maureen L. Anderson, Esquire, www.GummerElderLaw.com

To qualify for Medicaid in Pennsylvania, usually you can’t have more than $2,400 in “countable” assets. When calculating your total assets, many people overlook life insurance, which can count as an asset depending on the type of insurance and the value of the policy.

Life insurance policies are usually either “term” or “whole life.” Term policies won’t affect Medicaid eligibility because they don’t have an accumulated cash value. On the other hand, whole-life policies usually have a cash value that the owner can access, so they may be counted as an asset.

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Misperceptions about selecting cremation arrangements

submitted by Jason “Oz” Oszczakiewicz, Owner/Supervisor, Varcoe-Thomas Funeral Home of Doylestown, Inc.

When a family chooses cremation it does not limit their funeral choices.  There are several misperceptions that many families believe, but families can be just as creative as families selecting traditional arrangements.

While advertising makes it seem like direct cremation is the only choice, when you choose cremation you can have any kind of service or any kind of memorial you wish. That means you can have a traditional service and a cremation, direct cremation followed by a memorial service, a scattering and a permanent cemetery niche, or space in a cremation garden. A permanent place to remember loved ones fills an important need that a scattering just can’t.

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The price you pay for waiting

submitted by Gary Selleck, owner, C & C Family Roofing

Every day people make decisions on how they spend their money. Things like vacations, cars, schooling, home repairs, etc. Many of these things are very costly and can put a strain on one’s bank account. So you have to prioritize where the money goes.

In the world of home repairs there are a few projects that can be very costly. The roof is one of those things. But how does the average person determine the condition of their roof from the ground? The only way is to have someone look for the signs that the roof is failing or in disrepair.

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Protecting your parents

submitted by E. Garrett Gummer, III, Esquire, and Maureen L. Anderson, Esquire, www.GummerElderLaw.com

As we live through the latest winter storms to strike our area, we often think about how this is affecting our aging parents. Most of us call to ask if they are okay, check on them, bring them groceries and shovel their snow. As caring children and family members, we worry about their safety and well-being. After all, they raised us and gave us a significant part of their lives. In the same way, we should make certain that our parents’ social and financial matters are in order. Sometimes we begin to notice that they may need more help. Seniors may often begin to neglect proper management of their finances or tend to ignore any warning signs regarding their health or well-being. This often becomes a good time to start a conversation with your parents to discuss how they might benefit from assistance from family members. This is also the situation where an effective elder law attorney can be a valuable partner.

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VA burial benefits for Bucks County veterans and spouses

submitted by Jason “Oz” Oszczakiewicz, Owner/Supervisor, Varcoe-Thomas Funeral Home of Doylestown, Inc.

All honorably discharged veterans are entitled to a flag for burial or service, military honor guard, government grave marker, Presidential Memorial Certificate and burial at a state or government veteran’s cemetery for veteran and spouse.

If a veteran dies in a VA facility or hospital they are also entitled to reimbursement for transportation expenses from the place of death to funeral home as well as transportation to the place of burial, cremation or donation institution. There is also a possibility for reimbursement when a veteran received disability due to active service, and it is based upon the percentage of disability.

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