Aug. 3, 2011 – The year 2011 is a milestone in American demographics: in 2011, the first of the baby boomers turn 65, thus becoming eligible for Medicaid and approaching the cusp of full eligibility for Social Security retirement benefits. If they haven’t done so already, many new retirees and older employees will be exploring not only the private and public benefits to which they might be entitled but also contemplating end-of-life issues, such as how to pass assets to their heirs and whom to turn to when they can no longer make their own decisions about property-related and health-care matters. The State Bar of Wisconsin PINNACLE™ publication Advising Older Clients and Their Families can help Wisconsin attorneys provide service to this growing group of potential clients.
Advising Older Clients is a two-volume resource (each volume is available individually or as part of the set), available in both print and electronically via PINNACLE’s subscription-based interactive online library, Books UnBound™.
Volume I begins an overview of the elder law practice. Chapter 3 surveys the array of private and public agencies and organizations throughout Wisconsin that provide services to elderly persons. The question, “Who is the client?” is particularly likely to arise in an elder-law practice, because adult children often approach the attorney on behalf of their elderly parents. Chapter 2, on special ethical considerations, helps the attorney answer this potentially thorny question as well as others. Although the midlife years and beyond often are portrayed as “golden,” many individuals instead struggle, to keep their jobs, take care of their families, find affordable housing, or have enough money to live comfortably. The remainder of volume I covers the cases, statutes, and regulations dealing with these core areas of employment, grandparents’ rights, housing, and financing for retirement and disability.
Volume II, supplemented in June 2011, discusses the federal Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ benefits systems and Wisconsin’s home-grown programs, whose outlines are dictated by federal law but the details of which have been developed, in many instances, specifically by Wisconsin lawmakers and administrators. The chapter on estate planning gives attorneys the knowledge and tools they need to help clients decide how to best dispose of property after death and how to maintain appropriate eligibility for governmental benefits while making lifetime transfers. For situations in which advanced age is accompanied by gradually diminishing mental capacity, the estate planning chapter also discusses durable powers of attorney. A separate chapter focuses on substitute decision-making for health-care matters and instructs attorneys on the nuances of the different types of documents clients can use. A chapter on long-term care introduces attorneys and clients to the different types of residential facilities to which individuals may need to turn if they no longer can or want to live in their own homes.
Developments outlined in the 2011 supplement to volume II include changes to enrollment dates for Medicare Advantage plans; phase out of the Medicare Part B mental health treatment limitation; and new Medicare premium rates. The authors of chapter 14 introduce readers to Wisconsin’s new durable power of attorney for finances and property, available since the legislature’s creation of chapter 241 of the Wisconsin Statutes in 2010. As potentially drastic federal-governmental changes to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits loom, Wisconsin residents are already coping with enrollment freezes and waiting lists for long-term care programs, which the author of chapter 17 discusses.
Advising Older Clients is available in print to members for $175 for one volume, $275 for the two-volume set, plus tax and shipping. Subscribers to the State Bar’s automatic supplementation service will receive future updates at 10 percent off the update price. Annual subscriptions to Books UnBound start at $129 per volume ($249 for the two-volume set) and $649 for the full library (single-user prices; call for firm pricing). To order Advising Older Clients online or for more information, contact the State Bar at (800) 728-7788 or (608) 257-3838.