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August 2017 Archives

What does my cell phone have to do with a will or power of attorney?

Your cell phone has lots of information about you, including photos, access to Facebook and similar sites, passwords for financial and personal healthcare records, email, documents and contact information. These are "digital assets." If you die or become disabled due to accident or illness access to that information will be denied to those who want to help you unless you have signed a will or power of attorney. Even though you have very little money, giving written permission to someone you trust can be very helpful.

Important facts regarding powers of attorney and living wills

When you hear the word wills within the context of estate planning or elder law matters, do you automatically think of property, assets and inheritance? If so, you're likely not alone as asset distribution is commonly associated with wills. However, if you're one of many Illinois residents helping an elderly parent execute an estate plan, you'll definitely want to make sure your mother or father knows that there are different types of wills and that it's crucial to understand the differences before putting anything in writing.

The "Extra Help" program pays my Part D prescription plan and gives discounts. What do these notices mean?

Read the notices carefully, since you might have to respond. An ORANGE notice explains the small changes in your co-pays for next year. There are two types of BLUE notices. The first kind says that you will be reassigned since your insurance company is leaving the Medicare program. The second kind says that you will be reassigned since the insurance company's premiums are rising above the government levels. Under both of these blue notices if you want to choose your own insurance company you must act before the end of the year. If you receive a GREY notice, you should take action before the end of the year. This notice means that the government believes your income or assets have increased or your premium is increasing too much; it may be necessary to file an appeal or choose a new insurance company. SHIP counselors can help you at (800) 252-8966 or email [email protected]

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Leonard F. Berg, Attorney at Law