Speaking for myself, I have emerged from the cocoon of pandemic quarantine, with mask on, and with relief that my family did not have to use my health care proxy, nor did I have to use my 90-year-old mother’s proxy, for medical decisions.
I emerge and find a stack of reading material requiring my attention on topics ranging from must-read books, to mediation materials, to legal updates since April.
If you are facing the same ‘stack,’ I hope this blog will be a time-saver for you. It is drawn from more detailed blogs found at www.bpaelderlaw.com.

Home Care Look back and transfer penalties starting October 1, 2020 In April, the Governor signed into law a program change for home care for seniors and persons with disabilities. That change, effective October 1, 2020, implements a 30-month look-back requirement for Medicaid applications. Similar to nursing home applications for Medicaid, applicants (and their spouses) will be required to provide 30 months of documentation for all finances, including transfers.
The look back will be phased in between October 1, 2020 and April 2023. For applications filed as of January 2021, the look back will be 3 months (October 1 to January 1); for applications filed February 2021, the look back will be 4 months, increasing each month until the full 30 months look back is reached in April 2023.

Social Security and Representative Payee
New regulations effective February 25, 2020 allow you to designate a successor representative payee in advance. This important change means that a family can make sure there is no interruption of SSA, SSI or SSD benefits for their disabled family member in the event a parent or guardian representative payee dies. Designating a successor rep payee means benefits are not ‘frozen’ until a successor guardian is appointed by a court – a process that can take several months. Contact Social Security, 1-800-772-1213 to make this designation. Or, if you have set up an account for your ‘ward’ or yourself with Social Security, you can designate successor representative payee(s) online.

Organ Donation in New York
New York has several options to make sure your wishes are honored. Here are the three simplest ways.
• The best way to make sure your choice is honored for tissue, organ and/or eyes is to complete a Life Organ and Tissue Donor Registration Enrollment Form with the Donate Life Registry: https://donatelife.ny.gov/ . The registry notifies family members and loved ones that the patient is an organ/tissue donor but family permission is not required for the donation.
• You can sign the back of your drivers’ license to making an anatomical gift (donation). Using this method to indicate you are a donor requires that the drivers’ license be produced either prior to death or at death.
• The New York health care proxy form has a section which allows you to select what organs or tissue you want donated or permits your health proxy to make that decision. An estate planning lawyer can prepare the form or it can downloaded from the NYS Department of Health website.

Small Estates
For persons dying after November 25, 2019, with a will or without (called intestacy), you can use a simpler process to administer the estate and have an estate representative appointed using a Small Estate (called Voluntary Administration) if the estate is worth less than $50,000.00. This is a change from the lower sum of $30,000.00. The forms are available on the website of the Office of Court Administration for New York State.

Legal planning – whether by Will or Trust, and planning to arrange how and where you will be cared for (whether with your own funds or through Medicaid) is best not left to a crisis, COVID-19 notwithstanding. Now is the time to plan. Contact my office to schedule a consultation by zoom video conference or telephone or other means.
Stay safe.