Hot Topics in Elder Law – Week of March 8, 2010

1.       The Uniform Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act was effective January 1, 2010.

2.       Watch HB 1826, i.e., Civil Union Act as to guardian and probate rules as to same sex relationships (See CBA Record Sept 2009).

3.       Scams with deed transfers: refinance fraud, lease-back or repurchase scams and bankruptcy scams.

4.       Feinberg v. Feinberg (In re Estate of Feinberg), 2009 Ill. LEXIS 1299 (Ill. Sept. 24, 2009), trust and clause re marriage and inheritance upheld

5.       Need a court order to consent to sterilizing a disabled ward in guardian court. (House bill 2290; 1,1,2010)

6.       Illinois' Community Care Program was amended by the Illinois Department on Aging to provide for higher quality standards for providers, increase required worker competencies and improve general oversight by the department (89 Ill. Adm. Code 240 effective March 23, 2009).

7.       The Illinois Appellate Court held that a trust provision permitting a majority of the trust beneficiaries to approve the trustee's accounts with the same effect as court approval violated public policy and was invalid (Vena v. Vena, 899 NE2d D 2008 ).

8.       The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has a one-to-five star rating system for nursing homes to help evaluate a nursing home's quality when selecting a facility. The ratings appear on the agency's Nursing Home Compare Web site.

9.       Studies state that people with dementia (primarily senior citizens) are abused by at least half of the family members who care for them. (The NAELA e Bulletin-27 January 2009)

10.   How to check a nursing home.

A)    Review the home's most recent annual inspection report, which must be posted at the facility. Also review previous inspection reports and complaints investigations. Facilities must make them available.

B)    To compare nursing homes, check out the star ratings at  www.chicagotribune.com/nursinghome  and www.medicare.gov/NHcompare/

C)    To  check if a nursing home has been fined, go to www.idph.state.il.us and search for "nursing home violators."

D)    A registered nurse per resident-a good indicator of quality care-is rated for each home at www.medicare.gov/NHCompare/ under "Nursing Home Staffing."

E)    If care is poor, consult the home director of nursing. Review the resident's care plan and doctor's orders. File complaints with the Illinois Department of Public Health, The home's ombudsman or, in cases of suspected abuse, the police.

Michael H. Erde has been practicing law in Chicago for over 39 years. He was a member of the Board of Governors of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association and a former chairman of their estate tax and elder law committee, the Chicago Bar Association's Probate Committee, and the Illinois Bar Association's Trust Committee. He is a certified Elder Law Attorney, certified by the National Elder Law Foundation (the Supreme Court of Illinois does not recognize certification) and he was a member of the Illinois Alliance for Aging. He is on the board and Treasurer of the Greater North Shore Estate Planning Council, and formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Irene Josselyn Center for Mental Health. He was a founder of the Chicago Bar Association Asset Protection Committee and chairman of its Elder Law Committee.   

For more information about Mr. Erde's practice, visit his Blog at http://mhe-elderlaw.blogspot.com