Katya Sverdlov Blog

Friday, September 15, 2017

Should you hire an aide privately or through an agency?

According to recent research by the AARP, about 90 percent of seniors would like to stay in their own home as they age, even if they require day-to-day assistance with activities of daily living. With a rapidly increasing senior population, demand for quality in-home care is beginning to skyrocket.

In the past, in-home care was usually delivered by home care agencies, who would provide a home care aide, and take care of the back-end reporting and financial requirements. However, the cost structure is beginning to shift.

First, cases involving cognitive decline, such as Alzheimer’s disease, usually require round the clock care.
Read more . . .

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Most Americans Still Avoid Estate Planning

Based on the most recent survey, 52% of Americans do not have a Will. Usually, not having a Will also means not having a Power of Attorney or a Health Care Proxy.

When I lecture about this issue, I can talk for at least an hour about the need for a Power of Attorney and what happens when people do not have one. Main reasons to get your planning done:

  1. If you do not have a Power of Attorney, in the event of your incapacity, your family is likely to spend over $10,000 on guardianship costs and related legal fees. I’m talking about a $10,000 fee in a GOOD scenario, where everyone in the family is in agreement.
    Read more . . .

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

If you plan on growing old, the Medicaid debate affects you!

One in three people who turn 65 end up in a nursing home. No one ever wants to go there, yet most of the time the family has no choice about this issue (it becomes dangerous to keep the person at home, the daily care required is too much for a home care aide, etc). 

In New York and in New Jersey nursing home now costs $15-$20K a month! The vast majority of people cannot pay this bill on their own, especially after years of retirement spending. Even if the person wants to stay at home, an average home care bill is $10-$12K a month, which, for most people is also unaffordable based on Social Security pensions and retirement savings.

Currently, Medicaid pays for home care and nursing home care.
Read more . . .

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Medicare does not pay for home care!

Even though some seniors may be entitled to home care through their Medicare benefits, it may be impossible for them to receive this needed care.

And that is why most people plan for Medicaid - not because they are trying to cheat the system, but because they have no other real choice. 


Read more . . .

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What is a Public Administrator?

The Public Administrator is one of a chosen group of attorneys in one office per county who the Court often calls upon to administer to non-standard cases.

The Public Administrator generally has the job of handling estates of people who die without a Will and who have no close relatives who are able to administer the estate: If your nearest living relative is a cousin (or more distant) the Public Administrator will need to be placed on notice. In addition, the Public Administrator often replaces initial Executors or Administrators who are unable to qualify or unable to serve.

The Public Administrator’s job is to collect all of the assets of the estate, pay the outstanding bills and distribute the remaining money to the distributees of the deceased. The job of finding the distributees is often the most time-consuming and expensive, as distant relatives may have to be located in multiple countries with the help of genealogists or investigators.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Is an Irrevocable Trust really that Irrevocable?

The word “Irrevocable” usually implies no ability to change. Most people believe that the Trustee is required to adhere to the wishes of the Trust’s creator, even though the times and circumstances have changed. Nonetheless, that is no longer true in the case of New York State.

There are two circumstances where an Irrevocable Trust may be changed or revoked.

The first circumstance exists when the Grantor of the Trust is still alive, wants to make a change and ALL the beneficiaries of the Trust agree with the proposed change.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Will Anyone Respect Your Wishes?

An incredible book that I read in the past year was “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” by Dr. Atul Gawande. The book is a discussion of the state of American medicine as it relates to end-of-life care. Mr. Gawande argues that doctors often cause more suffering to patients by prescribing completely unnecessary procedures at the end of a person’s life.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Be very careful about titling assets – you could disinherit your children!

I received a call this month from a man who wanted to  receive his share of his father’s building. The property had a value of approximately $4MM. There were 5 children in total, 2 from father’s first marriage (one of whom was this client) and 3 from father’ second marriage.  The caller could not understand why, after the death of his father, the property was being listed for sale by his 3 half-siblings without any input from him.

After I looked up the ownership of the property, I had to tell him the unpleasant truth: He will not get a penny from the sale of this real estate.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Are Heirs Responsible for Decedent’s Debts?

According to the most recent data from, 73% of consumers had outstanding debt when they were reported as dead, with the average total balance of $62K. Debts included home loans, credit cards, auto loans, personal loans and student loans.

An estate is responsible to pay the deceased person’s debts. If there is sufficient money, the creditors get paid first, and the beneficiaries receive whatever remains.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

What is the right age to get a Power of Attorney?

My answer to this question is always the same: 18! Before you turn 18, your parents are legally responsible for you and can make legal decisions on your behalf. After you turn 18, NO ONE can do that. It comes as a huge shock to most of my clients, but in the event of incapacity -  neither your parents, nor your spouse nor your children can sign for you in banks, speak on your behalf to government agencies or initiate a lawsuit on your behalf. Unless, of course, they have a Power of Attorney or they went to court to seek a guardianship order.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Update your estate documents – or face unpleasant surprises!

In a recent case that I saw, a woman lived together with a man for approximately 10 years. She loved him very much and wrote a Will, leaving all of her assets to him. They never married.

Eventually, the couple separated. After a couple of years, the woman began dating another man.

Read more . . .

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