November is National adoption Month
By Jeanne St. Onge
National Adoption Month, recognized each November, is an initiative of the Children's Bureau that seeks to increase national awareness of adoption issues, bring attention to the need for adoptive families for teens in the U.S. foster care system, and emphasize the value of youth engagement.
Adoption week continued to grow and become so widely recognized that in 1998 President Bill Clinton extended the week to an entire month, initiating the National Adoption Awareness Month that we celebrate today.
This year, efforts are focused on adoption for teens because teens in foster care wait longer for permanency and are at higher risk of aging out than younger children. Teens need love, support, and a sense of belonging that families can provide. Securing lifelong connections for these teens, both legally and emotionally, is a critical component in determining their future achievement, health, and well-being.
Visit the website to learn more about National Adoption Month and find tools and resources to educate yourself and your community about how we can achieve better outcomes for children and youth in need. Start the Conversation & Help Youth on Their Path to Permanency. #NationalAdoptionMonth #ConversationsMatter
Understanding Special Needs Trusts
Defining what Special Needs Trusts are and why they are so important.
By Jeanne St. Onge
What exactly is Special Needs Planning?
Special needs planning, simply put, is very similar to that of estate planning, but with a focus on an individual with a disability. The goal of special needs planning is to ensure that the beneficiary's unique medical and financial needs will be taken care of in your absence.
What is a TRUST?
A TRUST is a relationship between three parties:
Why have a Special Needs TRUST (SNT)?
TRUSTS are established to provide legal protection for the DONOR/GRANTOR'S assets, to make sure those assets are distributed according to the wishes of the DONOR/GRANTOR . Special Needs TRUSTS allow for parents, other families members, and interested parties to contribute funds for the benefit of the BENEFICIARY, while also allowing the beneficiary to still receive benefits such as Medicaid and Security Supplemental Income (SSI).
Three types of Special Needs TRUSTS
There is no minimum amount required to fund a special needs TRUST. However, how much to put into the TRUST depends on a variety of factors, including the nature of the disability and the level of care required. Trusts can also be funded by family assets, inheritances, or even life insurance policies that pay when one or both parents pass away.
How do I decide what is best for my family?
Every Special Needs TRUST situation is unique, therefore the only way to determine which special needs TRUST is right for your family is to meet with a qualified attorney to discuss your needs.
World elder abuse awareness day - June 15th
By Jeanne St. Onge
WORLD ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY
Commemorated on June 15th each year, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is an opportunity for people or organizations to take action to protect older people by raising awareness about elder abuse, why it occurs, and what we can do to stop it.
WHAT IS ELDER ABUSE?
Elder abuse refers to intentional or negligent acts by a caregiver or trusted individual that causes harm to an older person. Elder abuse takes many forms, including:
WAYS TO PREVENT ELDER ABUSE
1. Build public awareness and grass-roots involvement
2. Enhance services for older people who experience abuse
3. Enhance system responses
5. Be a "sentinel"
By Jeanne St. Onge
- WHAT IS ELDRS LEGISLATIVE WEEK? -
Initiated in 2019, the Elder Law and Disability Rights Section (ELDRS) of the State Bar, in collaboration with Capitol Services, host an annual ELDRS Legislative Week, allowing participants to meet with their Michigan legislators.
This year, ELDRS Legislative Week was held virtually May 10-14, 2021.
The week kicks off with a highly informative training session, hosted by Capitol Services. This session is perfect for anyone who needs a quick refresher of Michigan's legislature. The overview includes a brief rundown of our current legislative season, a summary of the legislators currently in office, how to be an effective advocate for your cause, and much more.
Following the training, one-on-one meetings are scheduled throughout the week, giving each participant the opportunity to meet face-to-face, or rather, screen-to-screen due to the pandemic, with their elected house and senate legislators. These meetings allow for the practitioners and legislators to begin building a relationship, in addition to the chance to promote important ELDRS legislative causes.
- MICHIGAN LEGISLATORS -
Representatives from the Bassett Murray Law Group, PLLC, including attorney Amanda Murray, participated in this year's Legislative Week. During the week, they had the opportunity to meet with staff of the following legislators:
- ELDRS LEGISLATIVE CAUSES -
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, being able to provide legal services for the elderly and persons with disabilities has proven to be a challenge. Early in the pandemic, Governor Whitmer issued a series of executive orders, which allowed for the use of digital technology to perform remote witnessing and notarization of legal documents. Legislature enacted PA 246-249 of 2020 to place language in the executive order into state law, effective until June 30, 2021.
NURSING HOME CAMERAS (SB 33)
It is well known that senior citizens and persons with disabilities who live in group settings are often abused and/or neglected. It is a growing concern as more and more stories are hitting the news about the horrific events taking place in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, etc.
Senator Jim Runestad is currently sponsoring a Senate Bill to put language into effect giving nursing home residents the right to have cameras placed in their rooms.
Download your own copy of our
"ELDRS Legislative Week"