Medicare v. MaineCare and Long Term Care Planning

Many of you have heard of Medicare, particularly if you are near or over age 65. Most of you have also heard of MaineCare. But do you really understand the difference? Let me try to help you. Medicare is a federal program of health benefits. It is designed for the elderly and the disabled, and their dependents. It is to take care of injuries and illnesses, not to provide the care a person needs for their activities of daily living. Medicare is health insurance for the elderly and disabled, without regard to income or assets. MaineCare, on the other hand, is a program for the poor. It is a state run program that is funded with both state and federal monies. The federal program is generically known as Medicaid. Each state has its own version, and Maine calls its version … Continue reading

Why Have A Will?

As the old saying goes, nothing is sure in life but death and taxes. Everyone dies, and life for the survivors is emotionally and financially easier if a person has planned for what happens at his or her death. Most people also will not know how their death will occur. It could be sudden, as in a car accident, or it could be due to a long term illness or dementia. Planning for these events allow you to control who will be the people to help you, how people (including medical professionals) will treat you, and what will happen with your assets. The law permits only people who are competent to be able to execute documents, whether it is a contract, a deed, a power of attorney, or a will. An incompetent person cannot do that. So, it becomes very … Continue reading

Demystifying Bankruptcy

Some people are unable to pay their regular bills when they lose a job, have a serious illness, or get divorced. Sometimes people do not handle their credit properly. They end up in situations whereby if they tried to pay all their bills, the just don’t have enough income, or they would be paying until they died, and it still would not be paid in full. They choose, or in some instances, are forced, to file Bankruptcy. When someone files Bankruptcy, what does that really mean? The Bankruptcy Code is a Federal Law. Bankruptcy statutes have been part of our laws in one form or another for over 200 years, since shortly after ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Currently, there are a number of different chapters under the Bankruptcy Code, but in this article I will only address issues as … Continue reading

Divorce Debt

A divorce usually causes havoc on everyone (most of all the children), and can have long lasting effects. One of the common misconceptions in a divorce, however, is that of debt allocation, and who is ultimately responsible for the different debts incurred by the married couple. During a marriage, most people will incur certain debt, whether it is for a car, a house or credit cards (among other things). When a couple incurs the debt, usually both will sign the promissory note or the agreement. This makes both of them equally liable to the bank, credit card company or other creditor for that debt. When the couple obtains a divorce, the court will allocate (or the parties will agree) that one of them becomes responsible for some of the debts, and the other is responsible for the rest of the … Continue reading

Joint (?) Ownership

One of the most frequent questions I am asked deals with the ownership of land when 2 or more people are named as owners on a deed. The question becomes “What happens to the property when one of us dies?” The answer is the proverbial, “It depends.” The law in the state of Maine (and generally throughout the country) has a different result depending on the language of the deed. There are two common ways to own real estate. The most common form of co-ownership of real estate in Maine is what is known as a “joint tenants.” The other common form of ownership is “tenants in common.” As you can imagine, the language of the deed is critical. If a deed says that the land is conveyed to “John and Mary,” without any further description as to how it … Continue reading