Baron Law

Advanced Directives – My Personal Experience When Planning for the Unexpected

My Story

Like many of you reading this article, I never think a major medical disaster could happen to me or, if something did happen, that I would be competent enough to make decisions for myself. Well, as a ‘relatively young’ guy, this was not the case recently when I needed emergency surgery to prevent permanent paralysis.   Two years ago, I was practicing my golf swing on a late Thursday afternoon at Sleepy Hollow in Brecksville, Ohio.  I’m a terrible golfer and I wanted to ensure I wouldn’t embarrass myself the next day while playing with a client.  Near the end of my practice, I decided I wanted to see how hard I could hit the ball.  I hit the ball with maximum effort that ended up landing on the fairway outside of the nets.  During my swing I felt a ‘pop’ in my back and my leg went numb.  I decided to call it quits and go home to rest.

That night, while resting I leaned over to grab the TV remote.  Without warning I had excruciating pain suddenly occur in my back and my legs went limp.  I was on the floor unable to move or reach my phone. Luckily, my friend was visiting and he called EMS.   When EMS arrived, I was crying from the pain, unable to move my legs, laying on the floor.  I have never experienced anything more painful in my life. The paramedics gave me a shot of fentanyl for pain – it did nothing. Upon arriving at the hospital, the nurses gave me a shot of morphine – it did nothing. Then the doctor ordered a dilaudid.  After an hour of being on a combination of fentanyl, morphine, and dilaudid, I was finally relieved of pain and in addition, also relieved of my mental abilities.

After an MRI was performed, the doctor came to give me the news.  She said that I had a severe lateral herniated disc. The disc exploded and was piercing the nerves that control my legs.  I would need emergency surgery within the very immediate future, or I would have permanent paralysis in my right leg for life.  She explained that because the herniation was lateral, it required a more complicated approach.  It was one that she could handle, but she felt her colleague (who was on vacation) was more adept due to his experience. The doctor suggested that I wait three days, in severe pain and on multiple pain meds, to have her collegial surgeon perform the surgery. She needed to know what I wanted to do.   However, because of the effect the medications I was taking for pain, I did not have the mental competency to make this decision myself. Instead, those who I named in my advanced directives would need to make these decisions for me.

What are advance Directives?

Simply put, advance directives are legal documents that provide detailed instructions about who should oversee your medical treatment and what your end-of-life or life-sustaining wishes are. In the event you are unable to speak for yourself, like in my case of mental incapacity, the medical professionals can contact someone else who has authority to make those decisions for you. Though there are many advance directive documents out there, the three most common are Healthcare Powers of Attorney, HIPAA Authorization and a Living Will.

Healthcare Power of Attorney – A healthcare power of attorney allows you to appoint a trusted person to make all healthcare decisions in the event that you are unable to make them for yourself.

Living Will – A living will eases the burden on your healthcare POA to ‘pull the plug’ when you are in a permanent vegetative mental state.

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) – Medical records are private and are covered under the HIPAA laws. You Healthcare POA must have the authority to obtain your medical records through a properly executed HIPAA authorization.

My Healthcare POA

By this time, I was admitted in the hospital and the surgeon needed an answer regarding when I wanted the surgery to take place.  The doctor asked to contact my healthcare POA. I said, no problem her name is Kathy and I will provide her number.  I reached for my phone and it was then I realized that I had forgotten it when EMS brought me in.  Like many of us, I did not memorize Kathy’s number so without my phone, I was stuck.  Additionally, since this was during the outbreak of COVID my friend who called EMS was not able to come into the hospital either.

The nurse taking care of me looked through my cart and noticed I already had my healthcare POA on file, naming Kathy as my Agent. I wasn’t thinking clearly so I hadn’t thought to ask the nurse to check.  It was then that I remembered, in a slight daze, that I practice what I preach.   Three years earlier I completed all of my advanced directives and made sure to upload them with all three major hospitals: Cleveland Clinic, University Hospital, and Metro.

The hospital called my Healthcare POA and she came to my rescue.  As a nurse herself, she knew exactly what medications I was on and how to interpret the medical situation.  Moreover, and critically important, she knew how to handle the insurance barriers that come with getting medical treatment.  Had I not completed my Healthcare POA, Living Will and HIPAA several years prior, I may have had a surgery from an inexperienced surgeon or worse yet, may have been paralyzed for life.  Additionally, had I not uploaded these precious documents with my local hospitals, I would not have had my healthcare agent’s phone number.

When I preach to clients about maintaining updated advanced directives I am preaching from experience.  I didn’t need them, until I needed them! Advanced directives are easy to obtain and require minimal effort to have them uploaded to local hospitals.  I implore you to have them drafted by an attorney or at the very least, complete them the next time you’re at your family care physician. For more information or to learn how Baron Law can help you complete your advanced directives, contact us at 216-573-3723.


LTC Medicaid Rejected

My LTC Policy Was Rejected By Medicaid, What Now?

Common scenario for Cleveland estate planning attorneys. Estate planning client comes in distraught. They did the smart and sensible thing, they purchased a long-term care insurance policy years ago to help cover the cost of later-in-life medical costs. They recently applied for Medicaid thinking their LTC policy wouldn’t be counted for calculating their Medicaid eligibility. Unfortunately for them, they received rejection letter from the Ohio Department of Medicaid saying they didn’t meet the asset requirements. Now, the Medicaid benefits, that they were counting on and always thought were readily available no longer are. Now, their estate plan is seriously threatened, and they are scrambling to make sense of the situation and found out what went wrong.

As the old saying goes, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. The relationship between long-term care insurance polices and Medicaid eligibility is not a simple one. As with anything involving government bureaucracy, what you don’t know can hurt you and an experienced guide is worth his weight in gold. Two lessons often taken to heart far too late to avoid tough decisions and missed opportunities.  So, what happened to the person above? The best way to illustrate what happened is to answer the two most common questions anyone in that situation would ask.

Why did my LTC policy get rejected from Medicaid?

Only certain long-term care policies that comply with the guidelines set by the Ohio Long-Term Care Insurance Partnership program count as qualified policies and therefore aren’t countable Medicaid resources. So, what polices are “qualified?”

Per the Ohio Department of Insurance, for a LTC policy to qualify, insurance companies’ policies must meet several requirements, including:

  • The policy must have been issued after Sept. 10, 2007
  • The insured must be a resident of Ohio when coverage first becomes effective
  • The policy must be a federally tax-qualified plan based on the Internal Revenue Service Code (qualified plans can lower federal taxes, but they have benefit triggers that are less flexible than those required by nonqualified plans)
  • The policy must meet strict consumer protection standards (standard fee-look period, coverage outlines, mandatory informational disclosures, etc.)
  • The policy must include certain protection against inflation (the most common inflation protection automatically increases benefits each year by 5%)

So, if you have a long-term care policy, but don’t know, or worse hope without knowing, if it is a qualified policy, you’re likely in for a rude awaking when you apply for Medicaid.

What do I do now that my LTC policy was rejected by Medicaid?

Before any definitive answer or plan can be formulated, certain information about a Medicaid applicant must be answered definitively. At the very least, the information and/or documents needed are:

  1. LTC policy documents – should be overt on whether it was sold/defined as a qualified LTC policy.
  2. Rejection notice from the department of Medicaid – reasons for reject and any explanation regarding why the submitted policy was rejected.
  3. How does the applicant know their LTC policy is a qualified one?
  4. Contacting the insurance carrier to find out the exact details of the LTC policy in dispute.
  5. Where and how did an applicant purchase the LTC policy.
  6. Did the applicant receive the required CSPA complaint disclosures and documents (if was sold non-qualified policy but received CSPA docs could an indication of potential fraud).
  7. The realities of applicant’s current financial situation and health needs.

This last point is really the starting point and is exactly why you retain the services of experienced estate planning attorneys. Every estate planning attorney starts with the same questions, what do you need, what do you have, and prove it. No intelligent planning or decisions can be made until you know exactly where you stand. Further, in this context, the realities of where you stand are even more important because now your options are limited and you are, in a way, at the mercy of the Ohio Department of Medicaid.

If you have been rejected by Medicaid you are essentially in the realm of Medicaid crisis planning, where important questions must be asked, and tough decisions must be made. If someone is applying for Medicaid, the need is now and a solution must be found. One such critical consideration is the current need for care and the potential penalty period. To illustrate, let’s say a rejected applicant has a $400,000 non-qualified LTC policy. As of right now, with current Medicaid penalty divisor of $6,570, 400K/6,570 = approximately 61 months of Medicaid ineligibility, a little more than 5 years.

With this five-year Medicaid ineligibility period on the horizon, options are limited. Namely you can either appeal the rejection or resort to Medicaid spenddown. Medicaid spenddown is a beast all its own, is never something anyone wants to do, and largely depends on how ineligible for Medicaid you are, based on your current income and assets. For most, however, the good news is this situation and Medicaid spenddown, if the proper Ohio estate planning attorneys are used, will never be a worry because they will have done things the right way and won’t be subject to any nasty surprises. Failure to surround yourself with the right advisors, regretfully, often leads to  uncomfortable discussions and decisions that will have to be made sooner rather than later.

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Are Your Parents in a Nursing Home? Here Are Ways to Prevent Medicaid Estate Recovery

Medicaid crisis planning has become a hot topic in estate planning. More people need Medicaid to survive the issues and problems of old age but very few actually take the time to address and plan for this all too important need. Contrary to popular belief, Medicaid is not free money. Medicaid is a needs based state and federal program which applicability is primarily focused on recipient income and assets. By waiting too long, though a person may have a sever need for Medicaid support, in the eyes of the program, they’re “too rich” to qualify. At this point, they are left waiting in a state of poverty or sacrificing a lifetime of investment and savings, the spend down, to qualify. Don’t let this happen to you.

Since Medicaid enrollment is surging across the country and the baby boomer generation is aging, the significance of Medicaid enrollment and planning cannot be understated. As always, contact a local Cleveland estate planning attorney to find out how to plan your estate to maintain eligibility for Medicaid, preserve the maximum amount of assets possible while still maintaining that eligibility, and avoid or proactively plan around the Ohio Medicaid Estate Recovery program, “MER”. The MER program is something not a lot of people have heard of, but it can potentially effect millions of senior citizens every year. The government doesn’t care that you’ve heard of the law, only that it is followed.

What is the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program?

The Medicaid Estate Recovery program is a federally mandated program which dictates that when a Medicaid recipient dies, the MER program, carried out by the Ohio Attorney general’s office, will attempt to recover from the estate what Medicaid paid for the services provided. Generally, the program will attempt to recover any medical assistance paid by Medicaid if 1) the Medicaid recipient was aged 55 years or older, 2) the Medicaid benefits were correctly paid, and 3) the recipient was permanently institutionalized, like residing in a nursing home or PASSPORT facility.

What assets are recoverable?

For purposes of the MER, the state uses an expansive definition of “estate assets,” which includes any property a Medicaid recipient had any legal ownership interest in at the time of death. Such as assets in a living trust, assets owned jointly, real property tenancies, and TOD and POD designated assets. After death, even property Medicaid determined exempt during a recipient’s lifetime, such as a house accompanied with an intent to return, household goods, or life insurance policies, are subject to recovery. That is why to be aware of the Medicaid lookback period and plan asset ownership and transfer accordingly.

What assets are except?

As a starting point, remember that to qualify for Medicaid, an individual’s countable resources must be below $1500. The good news, however, is that exempt resources and assets do not count towards this total, at least initially. The following is a non-exhaustive list of exempt resources from Medicaid.

  • One automobile – if less than $4500 or any value to the non-institutionalized spouse. This is associated with the Community Spouse Resource Allowance, consult your estate planning attorney for more information.
  • Household goods – plates, clothes, books, etc.
  • Burial plots – burial plot, gravesite, casket, urn, etc.
  • Prepaid burials
  • Qualified Medicaid annuities
  • Qualified Long-term Care Insurance Policies – these are special insurance products that most insurance companies don’t carry, contract your insurance agent. These polices provide LTC in order to avoid depleting assets spent on Medicaid for long-term care.
  • Primary residence – exempt if non-institutionalized spouse or child under 21 who is blind or disabled is living there. Institutionalized spouse can claim primary residence exemption if obtain affidavit of intent to return.
  • Sale of a house – very nuanced exemption rules but, in a nut shell, if actively attempting to sell a house and if you follow Medicaid regulations, though technically you still own property that would make not you Medicaid ineligible, this ownership and sale won’t effect eligibility.

Exemptions to Medicaid countable resources aren’t really considered in most estate plans, even those specifically geared towards preserving assets and ensuring Medicaid qualification. They do, however, become of critical importance in the context of Medicaid crisis planning. Those situations where Medicaid support is needed immediately but no proper estate planning took place in the proceedings years when Medicaid eligibility wasn’t a concern. At this point, every avenue and tactic of getting into Medicaid and sheltering estate assets is analyzed, all at the expense of the family who failed to plan is now scrambling. As any estate planning attorney or financial planner will tell you, the up-front cost of proactively planning is nothing compared to doing everything last minute in a time of dire need.

Most people have spent a lifetime amassing wealth, property, and possessions that they want to leave to friends and family. Assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and hospice care, however, are often possibilities no one contemplates, let alone proactively prepares for. Federal and state assistance programs such as Medicaid often play a critical role in providing the necessary financial support in our elder years. The MER program, however, means that the use of these programs is not without cost. A cost that is regularly not understood when the need is greatest and rarely known by the surviving family when estate assets are taken by the government for services rendered. An estate planning attorney has the knowledge and can formulate the appropriate strategies for your goals and worries to ensure that the most amount of assets go where you want them to go and not to Uncle Sam.

You don’t have to be rich to protect what you’ve spent a lifetime trying to build. To find out whether a trust is right for your family, take the one-minute questionnaire at There are a number of different trusts available and the choices are infinite. With every scenario, careful consideration of every trust planning strategy should be considered for the maximum asset protection and tax savings.

Daniel A Baron - Estate Planning Lawyer

What is an Irrevocable Trust?

Cleveland, Ohio estate planning lawyer, Daniel A. Baron, offers the following information as to whether or not you should have an Irrevocable Trust as part of your comprehensive estate planning.

An Irrevocable Trust, by design cannot be modified in any fashion or terminated without the express written consent of the beneficiary or beneficiaries. Once the trust is created it stands AS IS and cannot be changed at all, notwithstanding a few exceptions.

  • Perhaps a beneficiary needs to be changed
  • Perhaps a financial institution may need clarification of a Trustees Identity
  • The beneficiary may need to terminate the trust early due to an immediate need for a large expense

Why would there exist a need for an Irrevocable Trust?

  • It protects your property held in Trust against creditors
  • It minimizes your estate tax liability
  • If you are looking to qualify for government assistance programs, i.e., Medicaid or Veterans Aid and Attendance benefits

There are three parties to a Trust:

First Party: The “Grantor” or “Settlor” who is the person or persons who establishes the trust. Keep in mind that when the Irrevocable Trust is established the “grantor” or “settlor” relinquishes all control of the assets held within the trust.

Second Party: The Trustee who are appointed by the “Grantor” or “Settlor” whose responsibilities include overseeing the assets, investments, etc., and to pay any expenses which benefits to beneficiary

Third Party:   The Beneficiary whose job it is, is to sit back relax and benefit from the income generated by the investments within the trust.

Let’s start the conversation to see if an Irrevocable Trust is the right tax planning strategy for you as part of your Comprehensive Estate Planning. For more information on reviewing your goals for your Comprehensive Estate Planning, contact Daniel A. Baron of Baron Law today at 216-573-3723.

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What Is A Revocable Trust?

Cleveland, Ohio estate planning lawyer, Daniel A. Baron, offers the following information as to whether or not you should have a Revocable Trust as part of your comprehensive estate planning.

When you decide it is time to do your estate planning, one decision to make is: Do I Need A Trust? If the answer is yes, then the next question is whether or not a Revocable or Irrevocable Trust is the right tool to use in your Comprehensive Estate Planning.  Although both of these are created to avoid probate, there are differences between the two.

A Revocable Trust means you can change things at any time such as;

  • Beneficiaries
  • Add items of value to the trust or remove items from the trust and so on.
  • Changing Trustees
  • Change what funds the trust
  • Eliminate the trust
  • Change amounts to be funded
  • Add Trustees

With a Revocable Trust – the Grantor or Settlor creates the trust AND can also act as the Trustee AND can be named as the beneficiary.

An Irrevocable Trust means no changes can be made (with a few exceptions) once the trust is created.

An Irrevocable Trust has three parties to the Trust; the Grantor or Settlor, the Trustee(s), and the beneficiary or beneficiaries.

  1. The Grantor or Settlor is the person who funds or establishes the Trust
  2. The Trustee is the person who oversees the trust, and
  3. The beneficiary reaps the rewards of the income generated by the investments of the trust. Although the Grantor / Settlor and the beneficiary can be the same, they cannot act as the Trustee

With a Revocable Trust you must remember if you are looking to keep investments, bank accounts, property, and any other such asset as part of the trust, the accounts must be set up in the trusts name and property must be titled to the trust.  Failure to do this while you are still living means that the assets still in your personal name at the time of your death will be subject to probate and a larger amount of estate taxes.

If you are having difficulty determining whether your situation calls for a Revocable or Irrevocable Trust, seek the advice of an experienced Estate Planning Lawyer. For more information on reviewing your goals for your Comprehensive Estate Planning, contact Daniel A. Baron of Baron Law today at 216-573-3723.

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I Need Medicaid, How Can I Keep My Home?

Baron Law LLC, Cleveland, Ohio, offers information for you to reflect upon while you are setting out looking for an estate planning attorney to help protect as much of your assets as you can. For more comprehensive information contact Baron Law Cleveland to draft your comprehensive estate plan to endeavor to keep more of your assets for your heirs and not hand them over to the government by way of taxes.

Caring for elderly loved ones, yourself or others, is not cheap. Assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and hospice care can easily run thousands of dollars a month and, as such, most people cannot afford to pay for it out of pocket for very long. We’ve all heard the horror stories, people stuck in dilapidated or abusive care facilities or having to spend every last cent just for a bed in a proper facility. No one expects to spend the last years of their lives in such an appalling state, but tragically, it happens more often than you think. To combat this, many resort to relying on government assistance to pay for managed care. To qualify for that assistance, however, many people must “spend down” their assets or reduce their income in order to become eligible for government programs, namely Medicaid.

The thought of having to choose between either having a fire sale and/or willingly living in a crummy facility and/or becoming a burden on your family is hardly an attractive prospect. Everyone wants to pass as much of their money and assets on to friends and family and no one wants to become a burden. Medicaid is well aware of this and imposes a five-year “look back” period for eligibility to ensure that people don’t simply transfer their money and assets away to qualify for government benefits.

There are estate planning strategies available, however, that will allow major assets to stay within the family while still maintaining Medicaid eligibility. The Caregiver Child Exemption, also known as the Adult Child Caregiving Exemption, is perhaps the one of most popular Medicaid planning tools available to preserve assets while maintaining eligibility. An estate planning attorney is in the best position to advise you on the best course of action given your particular circumstances but becoming familiar with the landscape and legal language of Medicaid will help you make the best decisions when the time comes for action.

Why should I care/How does this benefit me?

We are all naturally self-interested, so the first question everyone asks is, how does the Medicaid Caregiver Child Exemption benefit me?

In a nutshell, this is an exemption to the five-year lookback for Medicaid eligibility that can allow you to stay in your home instead of a nursing home or assisted living facility and still receive Medicaid assistance. Regardless of how nice a managed care facility is, everyone is more comfortable in their own home. The Medicaid Caregiver Child Exemption increases the amount of time you can spend in your own home before the realities of your own health force to into a more intensive care facility.

How does the Medicaid Caregiver Child Exemption work?

To qualify for the Exemption, the caregiving child must live in the home with their parent(s) for at least two years prior to the parent becoming eligible for Medicaid benefits. Further, the caregiving child must provide a level of care that effectively prevents the parent for needing to stay in a nursing home or assisted care facility. This at-home care saves the Medicaid program money and frees up much needed bed space in Medicaid approved facilities, hence the reason Medicaid offers the Exemption in the first place.

To effectively understand how the Exemption operates, and exploit it to the fullest extent, one must understand its constituent parts. Note, all the following criteria must be satisfied in order for the Exemption to apply.

What’s a “Child” under the Exemption?

A child under the Exemption is limited only to a biological or legally adopted child. A niece, nephew, grandchild, cousin, aunt, uncle, or stepchild does not count. Medicaid constricts eligible transfers only to direct decedents in order to prevent abuse of the Exemption and because, more often than not, our children are the ones who are going to step up and provide the needed care for parents.

To prove a qualifying family relationship, usually a birth certificate or adoption certificate is used.

What’s a “Home” under the Exemption?

The only “homes” eligible for the Exemption are those of primary residence. No vacation homes, secondary residences, or rental properties. Further, the child caregiver and the parent must reside together for the entirety of the two years. Medicaid wants to ensure the home is actually being used to provide healthcare for the parent in lieu of a managed care facility. If an adult child and parent are living together for an extended period of time, its more likely the Exemption is being used for legitimate purposes rather than a cover for an improper transfer of property.

To prove a qualifying home, evidence such as utility bills, tax returns, of government ID’s for both the parent and child caregiver for at least two years prior to Medicaid eligibility are sufficient.

What’s “Care” under the Exemption?

A child simply living with a parent, cooking meals, doing laundry, picking up medication, is not enough. The amount and manner of care must be enough to establish to Medicaid that the labors of the child caregiver is the reason why the parent isn’t in a nursing home or assisted living facility. If such labor is the difference between the parent staying at home or taking up a bed in a professional facility, then the non-disqualifying transfer of the home to the child is justified.

Establishing the proper level of care is the hardest criteria to prove. This is usually established by having the primary care physician of the parent complete and sign a Medicaid form clearly documenting the care provided by the child. Legal documentation that the care of the child prevented institutionalization of the parent during the two-year lookback is required as well. Any additional documents from family, friends, and medical professionals demonstrating the labors of the child caregiver is beneficial as well.

How to Apply

You don’t file or apply to use the Exemption in the conventional sense. When applying for Medicaid, you also submit the documentation establishing the transfer of your home to your child qualifies for the Exemption. Obtaining the required documentation to prove the applicability of the Exemption is the hardest part. Further, because the burden of proof lies with the applicant, Medicaid will show no leniency for mistakes or omissions.

This is why Medicaid planning and retaining legal counsel is so critical. The Exemption criteria should be met as soon as practical, so the two-year look back can start running as soon as possible. Further, an attorney can ensure all the documentation and forms are properly filled out, executed, and mailed to the proper government agency. Last the thing you want is to find out you have months or years of additional Medicaid ineligibility because an additional penalty period was accrued due to improperly gifting your home to your child.

What if I mess up and the Exemption doesn’t apply?

If the transfer of the home was improper, Medicaid will deny that the Exemption apples, consider the house a qualifying asset, and a penalty period will accrue in proportion to the value of the house. This means on top of the two years that the child caregiver must live with a parent before Medicaid eligibility, a period of further ineligibility is added. This period is determined based on the dollar amount of value of the house divided by either the average monthly private patient rate or daily private patient rate of nursing home care in Ohio.

The home that you lived in for years, if not decades, is one of your most valuable assets, both financially and emotionally. Old age, however, means significant money is needed to live comfortably, even more so in the event of illness or disease. Wise use of the Medicaid Child Caregiver Exemption can cut off years of Medicaid ineligibility and enable comfortable and convenient caregiving for families with ailing parents. Use of the Exemption, however, is not guaranteed and proper steps must be taken. This is why an experienced estate planning attorney can mean the difference between living in your own house receiving much-needed government assistance or waiting years for help or being forced in live in second-rate managed care facilities.

Also, should an elderly individual already be receiving Medicaid benefits, the family should contact a local Cleveland estate planning attorney and find out if the Medicaid Child Caregiver Exemption is still available.

You don’t have to be rich to protect what you’ve spent a lifetime trying to build. To find out whether a trust is right for your family, take the one-minute questionnaire at There are a number of different trusts available and the choices are infinite. With every scenario, careful consideration of every trust planning strategy should be considered for the maximum asset protection and tax savings. For more information, you can contact Mike Benjamin of Baron Law LLC at 216-573-3723. Baron Law LLC is a Cleveland, Ohio area law firm focusing on estate planning and elder law. Mike can also be reached at

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About the author: Mike E. Benjamin, Esq.

Mike is a contracted attorney at Baron Law LLC who specializes in civil litigation, estate planning, and probate law. He is a member of the Westshore Bar Association, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, and the Federal Bar Association for the Northern District of Ohio. He can be reached at


The information contained herein is general in nature, is provided for informational and educational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. The author nor Baron Law LLC cannot and does not guarantee that such information is accurate, complete, or timely. Laws of a particular state or laws that may be applicable in a given situation may impact the applicability, accuracy, or completeness of the preceding information. Further, federal and state laws and regulations are complex and subject to change. Changes in such laws often have material impact on estate planning and tax forecasts. As such, the author and Baron Law LLC make no warranties regarding the herein information or any results arising from its use. Furthermore, the author and Baron Law LLC disclaim any liability arising out of your use of, or any financial position taken in reliance on, such information. As always consult an attorney regarding your specific legal or tax situation.

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Why Do I Need A Guardianship?

Cleveland, Ohio, Estate Planning and elder law attorney, Daniel A. Baron, offers the following information on creating a Children’s Testamentary Trust for your loved ones. Is it the best option for you when creating your estate plan?

Most people understand and realize that they should name a Legal Guardian for their minor children. However, many people don’t take the necessary step further to consider the financial aspects of guardianship after a parent passes away. Creating a testamentary trust can alleviate this worry and for the most part is inexpensive to create.

Consider Establishing a Children’s Trust

Establishing a Children’s Trust, aka a Testamentary Trust, in your will, now creates a way for you to take care of your minor children after you have passed away. By naming a Trustee to oversee the trust allows them to take care of your children’s financial needs for everyday living and any health issues which may arise, as well as their future education needs.

What happens to your property should you pass and have minor children?

Unless specifically noted otherwise in your will, when you pass and your children are of legal age, they will automatically inherit all your property. But what happens if your children are minors?  When a Children’s Trust is established you can appoint a Trustee, or ‘Property Manager’ to oversee the property to make certain your minor children have a place to live and are cared for.  In the absence of a Property Manager being named, the courts will appoint a Property Custodian.  Depending on your individual circumstances, you may want to consider creating a Life Estate.

Should I create a trust for each of my minor children?

Upon your passing any children of legal age will automatically inherit your assets unless otherwise specified in your will. Let’s assume you have minor children, then it would be wise to set up a trust for each child and name a trustee to oversee the trust to make certain that the funds and property are used for the child’s needs and in their best interest.

If you do not wish to establish a trust for each child, consider a revocable living Trust or  Family Trust.  The Trustee(s) would handle this single trust in the same manner as if you were to set up individual trusts for each child.

When creating your Comprehensive Estate Plan you need to speak with an experienced Estate Planning lawyer. Contact Daniel A. Baron or Baron Law today at 216-573-3723 to answer any questions you may have on a creating a Children’s Trust.  I welcome the opportunity to work with you and help recommend the best solution for your needs.

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Veteran Benefits

Long Term Care – What Is Available To Veterans

Cleveland, Ohio estate planning attorney, Daniel A. Baron, offers information on Long Term Care assistance for those who have served in our military and including this as part of your Estate Planning:

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For those of you who have served in any of our armed forces, Thank You! Because of your bravery and sacrifice, we still enjoy the many freedoms we have in this country and you make us all proud to be Americans.

Should you, as a veteran require Long Term Care and you have a service related disability, the Department of Veterans Affairs pays for your Long Term Care and for certain other eligible veterans, you may also be entitled to additional health programs as well:

  • At home care for aging veterans with Long Term needs
  • Nursing home care

In order for veterans to stay in their homes and be more comfortable there are other programs as well.

A program that was developed in 2009 which provides veterans with a Flexible Budget in which to purchase services is a Veteran Directed Home and Community Based Services Program or     VD-HCBS as it is also known by. These are services available through the Aging Network in conjunction with the Veterans Affairs

Homebound Aid and Attendence – a cash allowance is provided to veterans with disabilities and their surviving spouses to purchase community based long-term services such as homemaker services and personal care assistance as well as to purchase a home. Eligible Veterans receive this as a supplement to pension benefits.

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For more information on reviewing your goals for Long Term Care, what is available for our Veteran’s and incorporating this into your Estate Planning, contact Daniel A. Baron of Baron Law at 216-573-3799.

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When is a Legal Guardianship Necessary for my Parents?

Cleveland, Ohio estate planning attorney, Daniel A. Baron, offers information on when it becomes necessary to change legal guardianship for your elderly loved one:

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Legal Guardianship is used when a person is unable to make or make sound decisions about themselves personally or their property. These same persons can likely be or already have been a victim of fraud or undue influence.  Although a guardianship may limit a person’s rights considerably, establishing a guardianship should be used after other actions have failed or are no longer available.

In the event a legal guardianship may not be totally necessary there are some alternatives you may want to consider that will still protect your loved one:

Some rights of the elderly which may be affected once a guardianship is put into place:

  • Medical treatment consent
  • Making End of Life Decisions
  • Voting
  • Enter into a contract
  • Possess a driver’s license
  • Selling Property

It is always best if the guardian consults with the individual to make any decisions that affect that person if they are still able to make sound rational decisions. However sometimes, the guardian must make the decisions themselves if your loved one is no longer able to participate.  The guardian should always take into consideration the individuals wishes if they are known.

Let’s start the conversation about when is the best time to consider establishing legal guardianship for your loved one. For more information on reviewing your goals for Long Term Care as part of your Estate Planning, contact Daniel A. Baron of Baron Law today at 216-573-3723.

Dan A. Baron Best Lawyer

The Importance of an Elder Law Attorney

Cleveland, Ohio estate planning attorney, Daniel A. Baron, offers information on the importance of having an Elder Law Attorney to help plan for your future: Elder law attorneys are sometimes considered “authorities” as, although they can handle a wide range of other legal issues, they primarily focus on the needs of older adults and also […]