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Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Health Care Law

I just read a blog on Obama's health care entitled "Republicans Draw a Bead on Obama Health Care Law."  When I read these emotionally charged comments, without any sort of facts or figures supporting them, I just shake my head and wonder if the ones for the new health care law are Democrats and if the ones against it are Republicans.  Could it really be that simple? 

I personally believe that every United States citizen has the right to good health care.  Actually, I believe that every human being on this planet deserves decent health care. Do I have all the answer about how we can get there?  Not yet. Maybe never.  I don't understand all the facts and figures any better than those who comment on the new health care law.  However, to say that we should go back to the way we were before the new health care law appears wrong to me.

Young women should not be denied coverage or pay extremely high premiums because they are in the child-bearing years.  People who need health insurance the most, due to pre-existing conditions, should also not be denied coverage.  Older Americans who have paid taxes and into social security their whole lives should not have to pay thousands of dollars a month for medicine due to the "donut hole."

Before we all start shouting about what is right and wrong, let's take the issue to a personal level.  If your daughter was denied insurance and had to go without prenatal care because of the high bills for doctor office visits, would you be so fast to say no to the new health care law, especially if the baby was at risk of being born sickly due to inadequate prenatal care?  If you had a pre-existing condition, say prostrate cancer, and could not get insurance coverage, would you say these new laws have no place in America?  I know I would not. I would want my daughter and her unborn baby to have the best care possible.  And if I had cancer and could not get health insurance because of that, I would want someone in Congress to fight for me, even if the first round of the new law isn't perfect.

With the advance of Republicans this last election, I truly hope that the balance will encourage everyone to work together on good health care reform.  It is what we pay them to do, isn't it?

Take care,


Foreclosures After Death

About four months ago, a neighbor of ours passed away due to cancer.  During her cancer treatment, she was unable to work and we had heard her mortgage was in foreclosure as she had a job that only paid if she was there.  Her chemo treatment wiped out all of her energy and left her very sick, so when she passed, we were sad to see that her house was up for sale under a foreclosure.  

I can only imagine how difficult it had to be for her to go through chemo, not be able to work, and to know that her home was in jeopardy of keeping.  

I saw her mom a few weeks after my neighbor's passing and I asked if she was going to move into the home, but she said no, the mortgage was too far in the rears to try to keep it.  I knew that the mother had considered moving into the home, as it was a lovely way to remember her daughter, but she could not afford to get the payments caught up.

Rick, the Probate Guy, looked at a similar situation where the father of a deceased son was being brought into a foreclosure legal suit and the father was concerned he would be responsible for the amount owed on the home that was in foreclosure.  A little different facts, but it's important to know that if you are handling an estate for another and there are debts being collected including a foreclosure on a home, you most likely need to contact an estate lawyer in the state of the property to research the best course of action.  

While you, the executor, are NOT held liable for the decedent's debts, the estate may very well have to pay the debts, including any foreclosure activity in order to bring the past-due payments current, if there are funds available from the estate.  There is always a possibility that the estate lawyer can negotiate the best outcome for the estate, even when a foreclosure is involved, so it's worth at least a preliminary phone call with an estate lawyer you have researched and trust.

I wish the mother had moved into her daughter's home as they are a wonderful family and we would have loved to have her as a neighbor.  I will always wonder if she contacted an estate lawyer to see if she could save the home through some sort of negotiations with the bank, but after a loss of a daughter, that is not a question I could ask.  

Take care,


Pet Trusts

I just recently learned that even when you have a Trust set up to ensure your family pets are taken care of after you die, many states do not enforce or hold the caregiver responsible if they decide to spend the Trust money on something other than your pet.  This just seems down right wrong, doesn't it?  

In order to compensate for this oversight in some of our state's legal systems, Massachusetts animal lovers are hoping to have a new bill signed into law this week by their governor which will legally hold pet caregivers responsible for the care of any animal placed under their care through a Pet Trust.

Should you have an estate lawyer create a Pet Trust for your beloved 4-legged friends, ask about your particular state laws should the person you appoint as the caregiver not perform up to your agreement with them.  It is definitely OK for the caregiver to receive payment for their services, but never to the point of your pets not having enough money later on for their vet bills.  

Some points of a Pet Trust to consider come from Gabriela Sandoval's website:  

"A pet trust is a legally sanctioned arrangement providing for the care and maintenance of one or more specific pet animals in the event of your disability, death or an extended absence. This way, you know your animals will be in good hands even if you can’t be there to take care of your best friend yourself.

"The trust has to name a caretaker to take responsibility of your pet and must also name a trustee to manage the trust fund. The fund is money set aside for the caretaker to follow through on your wishes. The trustee, per your specific instructions, can check in periodically with the caretaker to verify your wishes are being carried out." 

There is no certain amount to put into a Pet Trust, but when putting aside money for the care of your pets, consider their health, their age, and what care you want them to have should they become ill and need medical care.  

Since I still have 5 cats and 2 dogs (and don't forget my fish, Chef), what happens to them should I not be able to take care of them is very important to me.  I am going to look into a Pet Trust now that I know more about them.

Take care,