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Radio – Part 1 – Alternatives to Nursing Home Care – Interview with Suzi Kennedy, Expert

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Maybe Our Best Show Yet! Suzi Kennedy, Adult Daycare Expert at Life Enrichment Center of Cleveland County is featured in this radio show talking about nursing home alternatives.


Radio Show – Part 2 in our Series: Alternatives to Nursing Home Care

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Amber Mitchell with Bayada Home Healthcare talks about how home healthcare is the wave of the future. Great info and interview.


Who are your MVPs?

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One of the most important decisions a sports team can make is the selection of the people on their team, specifically who they are going to place in the various positions to best suit their needs. The Panthers are big in the news right now, just as football season is coming back around, and the city is rallying around them hoping that they will do well. And what happened? The star wide receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, tore his ACL and will be out for a long time. He’ll need about a year for that, so he’s out for the season, which is unfortunate.

Last season he caught 73 passes and scored 9 touchdowns. He’s going to be missed. This event led me to do some thinking: what do you do without your star wide receiver or your MVP? If the Panthers could have planned to not lose him, do you think they would have done it? I do. So how can a team plan and make the right choices to avoid losing their MVP? It is very difficult to do so, because you can’t predict everything that is going to happen.

This is why you have back-ups and alternative players for your team. You absolutely have to have people who are ready to come in and play for you when your MVP is out for whatever reason. I’ve spoken about that a lot, so in regard to your important legal documents – such as your power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney – you want to make sure that your MVP, who is your attorney-in-fact, is a strong player. You also want to ensure that whoever you name to be second in line – a secondary beneficiary, in some cases – will be a strong option to come in and make decisions. If for whatever reason your star MVP becomes unavailable to make the big decisions for you in your life, even temporarily, your secondary should take on this role without a problem.

Different documents require different types of decisions: one requires a financial decision and what you’re going to do to pay your bills and handle your resources. That would be a general durable power of attorney. Then you’ve got someone to be the attorney-in-fact for your living will, someone that you feel can make the decisions that you want made. They’re not always the same person. Therefore, your healthcare decisions are handled by the healthcare power of attorney. And you have to understand, we use those as two totally separate documents; we don’t conflate or try to mix those. We separate those documents so it’s extremely clear which statute we’re operating under and what your wishes are under those documents.

The legislature has actually been very wise in separating those documents, and I’ll tell you why it’s a beneficial decision on their part: sometimes, you don’t want the person who’s making your financial decisions to be the same person who’s making your healthcare decisions. It happens. Most people use the same person, but why might you want these two individuals to be different people?

Some people have family members that could never pull the plug. You want to make sure that you have two different people appointed so that you can ensure that they will honor your wishes. What about people who are in a position to gain from you financially? You most likely do not someone who is about to inherit a lot from you to be making your end of life decisions. It’s common sense.

Many people elect their spouses or their children to be the primary attorneys-in-fact – and rightfully so. But you are going to want to have those subs, those secondary people to come off the bench who you can really count on.

You have also probably heard of the disastrous effects of Tropical Storm Erika down in Florida. I suppose they saw it coming, but didn’t anticipate or understand the devastation that she’d bring with her. This is just another reason why planning is key: you never know when something disastrous and catastrophic will come your way. Erika shut down an entire state, and this comes incredibly close to the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Looking at the history of these events, we can deduce one thing: there are things that can happen in your life that you know are coming, but you don’t anticipate the effects; and then there are events that will completely blindside you and knock you off your feet.

By now, you have most likely thought of your MVPs – this could be your husband, your wife, your children, or other close family members and friends, and that’s great. But now you need to start thinking about the other players on the team. Who is going to be your offensive lineman? You want the right player for the position, and you want the right tools for the job. So when I sit down with clients, I’m going to talk to them about who they’re putting on their team and what documents they have in their toolbox.

For instance, if you’re planning for a Medicaid situation, you may do a tenants in common deed, which is where you piece out a percentage of a property and gift it to a family member – in this case, maybe one of your MVPs such as your child. Thankfully, that’s not countable under a nursing home Medicaid or a long-term care Medicaid where there’s a 5-year look back period. That’s a different deed you can use for planning purposes, another tool in your box. Under a VA Aid & Attendance planning purpose, however, we might want to gift a property that’s down the road from your home, where you have a small rental on there. It might be a good play for you to keep that in the family. You could deed that directly to a family member or a child, thereby once again calling on your MVPs to move that asset and have it not count. Good news: there is no look-back period for veterans for VA Aid & Attendance planning, where you can get an extra income per month to use when you need it to cover the cost of nursing home or assisted living care. An individual veteran can actually get up to $1,750 per month; they just have to have served one day during a war time event. And I don’t mean in the thick of battle, I mean within the military sometime during a war.

Different situations therefore require different tools for the job, just like different players are fit for different positions, and different plays are used against various sports opponents. You have to know what tool to use for the job, and what play to make on the field.

So let’s say you enter into long-term care – and let’s face it, 70% of us will fall under that category eventually. You want to make sure that what you have, your assets and everything else, are protected are inheritance for your children. To do this, you’re going to need to research and pick the right tools. Deeds are a great starting point to see what play you can make and what you can do to ensure that your money stays in the hands that you want it to.

One play that you can make is using the traditional life estate deed. This tool has been around for years and years, and the property can be passed automatically to the remainder beneficiary without having to go through probate. It’s going to pass directly to the grantees on the deed. Seniors, for instance, can reserve a life estate for themselves so that the two of them control it until the last one of either of them passes away. The life tenant also maintains complete control of the property while he/she is still alive. Liens are not usually attached to the real estate if the deed is recorded after the death of the life tenant.

So if you are in good health and you are a senior, and you’re using life estate deeds to put beneficiaries on your property, it could be a good tool for you to use. The drawback, in my opinion, of a traditional life estate deed – besides the fact it doesn’t avoid the look back period – is it doesn’t allow you to change your mind. Let’s say you want to sell that property or mortgage the property. You have to get your grantees or beneficiaries, whoever they are, to come in and sign off on the sale or the mortgage of that property. Life estate deeds therefore do not grant as much control on the part of the seniors as I would like to see.

Pre-planning is therefore so important. You don’t want to find yourself scrambling at the last second when your star wide receiver is out on an injury and you have no one else to rely on to make those important calls in your life. You want to have someone reliable to come in off the bench and keep the game going. In the long run, it will save you precious time and money.

If you would like to sit down and discuss your current plan and situation with me, I would be glad to help you out. Give us a call at the office so that we can schedule a time to chat: 704-259-7040.

Call me if you have any questions:

Greg McIntyreGreg_Full
Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street, Shelby

Live Interview! Adult Daycare: Interview with Suzi Kennedy, Adult Daycare Expert

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This interview is packed with information about Adult Daycare. It was my honor to sit down recently with Suzi Kennedy with the Life Enrichment Center of Cleveland County, North Carolina. Suzi is a nationally recognized expert on adult daycare and has a lifetime of experience dealing with seniors with Alzheimer’s and Dementia as well as special needs individuals.


Should I Use an Attorney or a Non-Attorney when Engaging in VA Aid & Attendance Planning?

in Articles by Greg McIntyre Leave a comment

Earlier this week, I took a trip up to one of my favorite places in North Carolina – the mountains. My wife and I decided to take a couple’s excursion to enjoy the last remaining weeks of the summer. Now, we both love our kids. But sometimes, as you parents all know, it’s great to get away from time to time, especially to an area that is as majestic as the mountains of my home state. The only time of year that is better to go to the mountains is the fall, when the leaves change and the colors start to emerge.

But I also love to get up to the mountains to do some thinking and clear my head so that I can approach my job with clarity. Now that I’ve been able to do that, I want to talk to you about VA Aid & Attendance planning.

Recently, at a gathering of various elder law attorneys and some groups affiliated with my niche, someone posed a question to me that I’d like to address and answer for all of you. The question that I was asked was as follows:

“Should I use a financial institution or some kind of financial outfit to handle my VA Aid & Attendance planning?

The short answer is no, you should not go to a financial outfit to help you handle matters of VA Aid & Attendance planning in place of an attorney.

Let me explain the dangers in going to a financial group for your VA Aid & Attendance planning. Let’s say you’ve got a benefit coming in of $1,700 per month, and your social security is $1,000 per month. That $2,700 might help you in your payments toward the monthly in-home care bill, if you should require that type of care. However, if you require more extensive care, such as going to an assisted living facility or a nursing home, then your costs are going to increase dramatically. I’ve seen these types of facilities cost a minimum of $5,000 a month, with a high of $12,000 per month. Of course, this depends on the level of care that you require and the standard of the facility that you potentially enter.

That being the case, your VA Aid & Attendance isn’t necessarily going to cover those fees. The financial company may therefore move around your assets to try to get you qualified for VA Aid & Attendance, and they’ll do it in such a way that the money will come back to you using certain financial tools. Why would they want to move around assets in the first place? Because some of them claim that they can help you qualify for VA Aid & Attendance just by doing so.

Now, VA Aid & Attendance is a well-liked pension program, one that I promote heavily, and one of the reasons for that is because there is no look back period. Now, in North Carolina, there is a three-year look back period called special assistance Medicaid, which is a type of Medicaid that covers assisted living care. There is also a five-year look back period for the Medicaid that covers nursing home or long-term care. You might be in great shape now and not require these types of care, but if you improperly move around assets under the Medicaid rules just to qualify for VA Aid & Attendance, and then you incur a healthcare crisis, you are going to be in a bad situation. You may very well be disqualified or incur a penalty period in trying to get Medicaid to come in and pay for the healthcare costs if you don’t actually have the monthly funds to cover them.

This is what I call practicing law without a license. If you’re a company out there, hear me now: People who do this are practicing law without a license by doing that type of planning, without doing it under a lawyer’s care and ignoring the Medicaid elephant in the room that’s right around the corner. There are many other issues associated with this practice, too, that I might get into in another blog post. But let me say this: I’ve worked with a lot of great financial people who really care about seniors and really know a lot about how to protect seniors. However, if you are working with or know of a financial company that is trying to qualify you for VA Aid & Attendance by pushing financial products, they’re only interested in selling those products that help you qualify. They’re not interested in whether you’re going to be disqualified for Medicaid down the road or really going to end up losing the coverage you may need. And as a result of that penalty period, don’t forget you are going to have to pay all that money back.

If you’ve got a private financial outfit that’s trying to do this type of planning, call me. My number at work is 704-259-7040. You can talk to me directly. Those of you who are engaged in this practice, call me and I’ll tell you why you’re practicing law without a license, and I think you ought to be sued in the state of North Carolina and every other state in the union.

Call me if you have any questions:

Greg McIntyreGreg_Full
Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street, Shelby



New Show! Who/What is your MVP? Plan ahead against unexpected situations!

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Hayden & Greg discuss how to protect yourself from the unexpected and hold on to your hard earned money and property.


Who Wants to Know the Basic Differences in Different Deeds to Compare and Contrast??? Ooo… Ooo… Me, Me!!!

in Articles by Greg McIntyre Leave a comment

“I get questions multiple times per day regarding the differences in one deed versus another.  I wanted to put together this short piece to give a short summary and comparison of a few types of deeds.  You SHOULD NOT engage in deed planning without consulting an attorney first!  I can say I am EXTREMELY proud to bring you this and it will be a portion of a book due out this fall: Saving the Farm…”

Greg McIntyre

Name: Lady Bird Deeds

Function: Lady Bird Deeds allow you to reserve a life interest in a property. While you are alive, you retain full control over your property and are allowed to sell, mortgage, or gift the property. When you pass, your property then goes to the person that you’ve named the future interest holder, such as your son or daughter. The person you name receives the property when you pass away.

History: Legend has it that President Lyndon B. Johnson used this deed so that he could transfer real estate and property to his wife, “Lady Bird” Johnson. What really happened was that Jerome Ira Solkoff, an attorney from Florida, first drafted this type of deed back in 1982. He used the names of President and First Lady Johnson in his example, and their names stuck.

Benefits: You can avoid probate in passing your property/real estate when you pass away. You can also maintain your eligibility for Medicaid and keep the property in your family that would have otherwise been taken to pay those healthcare costs that are incurred by your incident.

States that recognize Lady Bird Deeds[1]:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin


Name: Tenants in Common Deeds

Function: Deeds that allow two or more people to own property together, most times it is a joint ownership of real estate. The people that sign the deed and thus gain ownership of the property all own it equally, and can give up their ownership at any time. 

This differs from the other two types of shared tenancy, which are as follows:

  1. Joint tenancy: in which the parties involved have undivided ownership of the property or real estate in question.
  2. Tenancy by the entirety: reserved for married couples, in which the two are treated as a single entity and thus their ownership is shared as though they were a single person.         

Those who are married and are engaged in a Tenants in Common Deed are encouraged to have a Right of Survivorship, meaning the real estate will pass directly to the person that he/she designates upon death. This can be a spouse or a child.

History: Though Tenants in Common Deeds have been around for decades, they became very popular nationally in the 1990s when the housing prices in the country began to bubble and increase. TICs therefore became one of the only ways that people could afford to buy houses, if they were able to own them alongside someone else or with more than one other person. Many state legislatures, however, have been deliberating shared or concurrent tenancy for more than 100 years.

Benefits: The owners of the property can elect someone to whom their share of the real estate is automatically transferred upon their death. What’s more, if they have a Right of Survivorship – usually between a married couple – then the share of the real estate will be transferred automatically to the surviving spouse without going through probate.

Another benefit is that people who are engaged in a TIC are able to apply for fractional loans, meaning that each individual involved can have his or her own mortgage.


All states recognize Tenants in Common ownership of property[2].

Name: Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship

Function: (Other name for joint tenancy) Joint tenancy implies that there are at least two people who agree to legally share an equal percentage of the property or real estate. Upon signing the document, the people are instantly engaged in a “right of survivorship”, which means that if one of the individuals were to pass away, the other individual are granted ownership of the property and the share of the deceased is passed to them. For instance, if three people enter a joint tenancy and one passes away, the remaining two now own 50% of the property.  

Joint tenancy with Rights of Survivorship does not allow one single individual to make mortgage or sale decisions with the property; a decision of that caliber has to be made unanimously.
Joint tenancy, especially with rights of survivorship, have been around for centuries, and originated in the 13th century in England[3]. It wasn’t until the 19th century, however, that women started to be considered eligible for joint tenancy; before then, it was strictly the men who were entering into joint tenancies[4].

Benefits: When the spouse passes away in a joint tenancy, property ownership is automatically granted in full to the surviving spouse without having to go through probate. Because the joint tenancy with rights of survivorship also applies to financial accounts, such as brokerage accounts. All persons involved have equal access to the assets in the account, and can make investment decisions with those assets in the account.


States that recognize Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship: All EXCEPT the following[5]:

  • Alaska
  • Oregon
  • Tennessee

Name: Traditional Life Estate Deed

Function: Used to transfer property automatically from one individual to another when the former passes away. While a person is alive, he/she can decide to enter into a traditional life estate deed with another individual, stating that upon death, the property listed in the deed will automatically go to the designated person. The person who wants to leave his/her property is called the “life tenant”, while the recipient of the property when the life tenant passes is the “remainder beneficiary”.

History: Life estate deeds have also been around in the United States for a few centuries, and were used specifically to allow sons to inherit their parents’ property.

Benefits: The property can be passed automatically to the remainder beneficiary without having to go through probate. The life tenant can also maintain complete control of the property while he/she is still alive. Liens are not usually attached to the real estate if the deed is recorded after the death of the life tenant.


States that recognize Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship: All EXCEPT the following:







Back to School with the Elder Law Guy

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IMG_2568 (1)

Savannah & Madison





Well, the day finally came for me to send my kids back to school. The last week of August, I packed up four of my six wonderful children and waved them off at the bus stop, feeling excited and hopeful for their year ahead. People might think I’m crazy, but I do think kids are pretty simple. They need plenty of sleep, love, and good nutrition. You get them that, get them started, wind them up in the morning, they’ll go all day. They’ve got energy.

My oldest son Jordan, for instance, loves to wake up early with me and get in a work out before school. He and I will get up and hit the gym at about 5:00 in the morning, come home at around 6:00, collect his brothers and sisters, and I’ll take them out to the Shelby Cafe for some bacon and eggs. It’s a nice morning ritual that I hold dear to my heart, something to add brightness to their day before they head to school to get their education.

Yet my kids and the millions of school children around the nation are not the only ones who are in need of a good education. I interact with many seniors and family members of seniors who would also benefit from a robust education in elder law and other matters of importance. The mark of a good classroom is one that makes room for questions. Student questions, that is. So for the purpose of this blog post, I would like to address some questions and points that I have encountered in my years as an elder law attorney.


What are look back periods used for?IMG_2560

The real experts when it comes to look back periods are the social workers at your local social services, your county social services department. What they do is open the books and look at the last three or five years – depending on the type of Medicaid you are trying to qualify for – and they comb through bank accounts, investment records, and other financial information. They do this for the person who is in need of Medicaid coverage. They’re going to look at every transfer. You are not going to be able to hide anything, and you don’t want to hide anything. That’s called Medicaid fraud, which is a big deal. You don’t want to go there. They are going to look through what was spent in those periods and determine if those expenses were allowable under Medicaid rules. What did you use the money for in those look back periods? Were the funds spent on healthcare? Home improvement? Were they used for a special van to transport someone who needs a special van, such as a person in a wheelchair? Did they go toward pre-paying a funeral? Those are all allowable expenses.

As elder law attorney, I would come in and ask, “Under the rules, how can we preserve assets as best as possible to care for the senior, especially if this senior is married to someone who is in very good health?” It is crucial for seniors to know what are allowable expenses as per the look back periods of the type of Medicaid they need, because if they do not, then they could find themselves in a situation where a lien is attached to their house. Why go through the heartache of having that happen, of having something that you worked hard to purchase be threatened with a lien? That is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Medicaid and look back periods, which is why seniors should study up on these issues.


How much planning and preparation is necessary?

My wife Stephanie did a lot of preparation in getting the kids to school. I did chip in and help my boys with the school supplies list, while Stephanie helped our two girls that go to school. We want our kids to go back to school, we want them to do well, we want them to get the best education possible. I also want that for all seniors. I would hate to see them in situations where they might lose their hard earned money and property and they’re trying to protect that, either from other family members or from a Medicaid spend down in a long term care situation.

Therefore, it takes a lot of preparation and planning to do anything right, and if you don’t, you are going to feel really ambushed and find yourself in a crisis or emergency situation. We deal with seniors and their families who are in those situations sometimes; for instance, if a husband or wife, mom or dad are in a nursing home, or their health is declining or Alzheimer’s or Dementia has come upon them, some of the people that I interact with do not have simple things in place for those situations such as a general durable power of attorney. Others are simply pursuing guardianships so that they can handle personal business for the senior in their family. It is so important to plan ahead and to have that preparation in place. You have already worked so hard your entire life, why jeopardize the things that you have and the assets that are important to you?

In the end, it is much more cost-effective to pre-plan as opposed to crisis planning because it takes a lot more resources from you, the senior, from the family, and from an office like an elder law attorney’s office to get you out of that jam.


How much of this planning can I do on my own, without an attorney?

I’ve had people ask me about these books that you can buy, the do-it-yourself wills and what not. My answer to that is you’re gambling with everything that you’ve worked for your entire life. So the question is, should you work an entire life, pay off a home and possibly other things, accumulate assets and then try to write your own will by buying a book or going to a website? Are you willing to gamble it all on something that cost you $29.95? That just doesn’t make sense. You’re going to get what you pay for. You need to make sure that you’ve got proper witnesses and a notary there to view the signing of the will. Then you’ve got to have a self-proving affidavit on the will or else the clerks or the judge are going to want to call in those witnesses to verify that they actually saw the will signing. There are other elements that your will is going to need, too, but those do-it-yourself books are not going to go into that, I can guarantee it.


What resources are available to me so I can do my homework on these issues?

Before you can really identify your goals and what you want to do, you need to have a firm handle on all your assets and information. So our estate planning or long term care planning workbook is a great place to consolidate all your information. It really speeds up the process. Call our office if you want us to send you a workbook. We can mail that directly out to you priority mail or we can email it straight to you. It’s a great place to consolidate your information, and is a great tool to have if you come to me at a first appointment and have sit down. If you need help filling out that book, whether you’re a client or not, whether you’ve got an appointment with me or not, our client-relation specialist Kelsey at the office would be glad to sit down with you and help you complete it. Schedule an appointment to do that and get your items listed using our workbook. Our office number is 704-259-7040.

Call me if you have any questions:

Greg McIntyreGreg_Full
Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street, Shelby


Should I Use an Attorney or Non-Attorney to Qualify for VA Aid & Attendance Benefits?

in Elder Law TV by Greg Leave a comment

Watch this short piece as I answer that question. #theelderlawguy

New Show: Back to School with The Elder Law Guy!

in Elder Law TV by Greg Leave a comment

Seniors need to be educated on the laws that concern them in their senior years. Listen/Watch to find out what you need to know to protect your hard earned money and property!


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