The Graham Law Office, P.A., Susan M. Graham, Managing Attorney Telephone: (208) 344-0375 • Fax: (208) 344-1510 • E-mail: 1009 W. Fort, Boise, Idaho 83702 November 5, 2004 Please forward this free Elder E-Alert to your friends, who may subscribe by clicking below.

Medicaid Agency Authorized to Pursue Assets Transferred by Surviving Spouse of Recipient (ND) Husband owned a single-premium annuity. In 1995 he transferred $5,000 from the annuity to a joint money-market account with his wife. In 1996 he applied for Medicaid coverage for his nursing home care, and he transferred the remaining funds in the annuity and the money-market account into a new account at the same institution in his wife's name. Over the next few years the wife moved money from her new money-market account into an investment account, pre-paid her own burial and funeral expenses, and moved money back into the money-market account and then to her checking account. All these transactions involved the same financial institution and the same original funds. In 2002, less than one month before her death and after having been advised that Medicaid might have a claim against her accounts, she withdrew substantially all of the remaining funds and made gifts to children and grandchildren. After her death her personal representative sought to set aside those gifts, and the state Medicaid agency sought to intervene. The trial court granted the motion to intervene, but dismissed the estate's (and the state's) action against the children, finding that the decedent had the authority to dispose of her funds as she saw fit, and that the state had no claim against her estate. The state Supreme Court disagrees, and reverses the trial court. Because the state can trace the asset once held by the deceased husband, it can assert a claim against the asset. Because the wife transferred the asset "without receiving a reasonably equivalent value in exchange" and made her insolvent, the transfer violated the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act. The Court concludes that the Medicaid agency has the authority to "void" the transfer and recover the funds. Reversed and remanded for proceedings consistent with the opinion, though it is not completely clear whether the Supreme Court has mandated entry of an order in favor of the State or simply directed further findings. Full case: Estate of Bergman Supreme Court of North Dakota, October 20, 2004

Study: Elder Abuse Is Pervasive and Requires Urgent Response A substantial number of older persons -- from 2 to 10 percent of the elderly population -are physically or mentally abused, and mistreated seniors are three times more likely to die within three years than those who are not abused, report two Cornell University gerontologists in this week's issue of the medical journal The Lancet. Reviewing more than 50 articles, researchers Karl Pillemer and Dr. Mark S. Lachs reviewed the risk factors, screening, clinical manifestations, diagnosis and treatment of elder abuse. The Cornell gerontologists call for a multidisciplinary team approach to assess the situation and develop solutions that are tailored to the individual victim's needs and problems. Lachs and Pillemer assert that elder abuse directly affects quality of life, and helping patients resolve an abusive situation is one of the most gratifying experiences for physicians and other health-care professionals. Source: The Lancet (2 Oct 2004) Full story: x=x.pdf

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