Page 18 - Senior Times South Central Michigan October 2020 - 27-10
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Page 18
Senior Times - October 2020Ask the ATTORNEY
Michael Walling, Special to Senior Times ASSET PROTECTION
QUESTION: My husband and I each have our own trust. We did this because it is a second marriage for both of us. My husband now has dementia. I am worried that he will have to go into a nursing home. Are my assets protected in my trust?
ANSWER: If you mean are your assets protected if he has to go on Medicaid, then no, they are not. When you are married all of your assets and his assets are counted towards his Medicaid qualification. It does not matter if you owned them separately before you were married or after you are married. That being said, there are ways to protect your assets through planning.
Married couples have more options than single people to protect assets.
This is because you have a spouse that will have to survive on his or her own at home when the other spouse is in a nursing home. As such, there must be allowances for the stay at home spouse. Under the MDHHS rules,
the stay at home spouse is allowed to keep up to approximately $126,000. However, the “up to” portion of that statement is not as clear as it seems.
Dr. Christina V. Jacobs, Breast Imaging Director
Breast cancer is common. It accounts for nearly one out of every three cancers diagnosed in women. Fortunately, treatment success rate is high when breast cancer is detected early. Mammograms are the most effective tool to help with the early detection and diagnosis of breast dis- ease. Women who get screened reg- ularly and have been diagnosed with breast cancer, have a much greater chance of survival. One recent study found that women diagnosed with breast cancer who had regular mam- mograms had a 60% lower risk of dying from the disease in the 10 years after diagnosis compared to women who didn’t have regular screening. According to, 70 per- cent of cancer is found through mam- mography and 62 percent of cancer found through mammography is stage I. Early detection is key.
3D mammography, or tomosynthe- sis, is the next level of testing to look at breast tissue. This allows the breast tissue to be viewed in thinner sections. It can show things that may be hidden with a standard mammogram, and decrease the chance of a false positive
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keep all of the couple’s assets. This is done through working with an expe- rienced attorney who practices asset protection planning for long term care. I would advise you to contact such an attorney as soon as possible. Timing
          There are also legal planning strat- egies for the stay at home spouse to
Michael B. Walling is an Elder
Law attorney with an advance Master of Laws degree. He manages the
Elder Law Center and the law firm of Michael B. Walling, PLC. He has offic- es in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek. Mr. Walling is also a part-time professor at Western Michigan University. Please email any questions you would like addressed to: This column is intended for general information purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice to any particular person.
is everything when it comes to cases involving long term care.
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Wills • Trusts • Powers of Attorney
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 screening exam due to overlapping tissue.
Dense tissue is associated with an increased risk for breast cancer and decreased sensitivity of mammogra- phy. In addition to a mammogram, women with dense tissue can increase early stage breast cancer detection with whole breast ultrasound screening.
  Being female and growing older are the two largest risk factors for developing breast cancer. Family history plays a role in less than 25% of cases.
 All women should be assessed for breast cancer risk by age 30. Average- risk women should begin yearly screening mammograms at age 40. Screening with both mammograms and MRI, starting at age 30, is recommend- ed for high-risk women. All women should practice breast self-awareness. A clinical breast exam by your primary care provider or gynecologist is recom- mended every three years for women age 20-39, yearly for women age 40 and older, and twice a year for high- risk women. Regular screening should continue as long as a woman has a life expectancy of 5-10 years.
 As leading experts and innovators in breast cancer detection, Bronson radiologists have been providing breast imaging services to southwest Michigan for more than 30 years. Bronson was the first imaging center in southwest Michigan to offer 3D mammography, available at our testing locations in Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Paw Paw and South Haven.
For additional information on mam- mograms, as well as locations, visit

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