11:00 AM11:00

"Demystifying Medicaid: Myths & Realities"

A family recently came into our law office and said they were reluctantly expecting to move Dad to a nursing home soon. But they thought getting him on Medicaid was impossible because they had transferred assets to a trust within the past five years. 

 While this family is compassionate and savvy about seeking legal support for the process, this example demonstrates a common Medicaid myth: you can't qualify for Medicaid because of something called the "five year look back."

 It's just one of the Medicaid Myths we busted on Life Happens Radio, Saturday, August 10th. Estate planning attorneys Aaron Connor and Frank Hemming demystified this Federal program for long-term care.

 Aaron and Frank discussed these myths:

·         You don't need an attorney to get Medicaid

·         If you go on Medicaid, they government or nursing home will take everything that's left

·         It's better to get divorced for Medicaid purposes

Listen to this podcast of Life Happens Radio so we know…you’ll “be prepared!” 

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2:00 PM14:00

"Beating the Summertime [Insurance] Blues"

Bob Vandy and Brian Johnson, from Advisors Insurance Brokers, share a bit of an “insurance potpourri” on this Life Happens Radio podcast.

We discuss some of the latest developments in insurance to protect your retirement and financial plan. Brian and Bob also share exciting news of the upcoming Life Happens Radio/WGY workshop entitled “8 Keys to a Successful Retirement,” which will be held in September.

Coincidentally, September also begins Life Insurance Awareness Month, so Bob and Brian also provide you with a “peek under the tent” of some of the initiatives in place and things to explore as “LIAM” gets closer.

Listen to this Life Happens Radio podcast and we know…you’ll “be prepared!”

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11:00 AM11:00

"Keeping it All in the Family"

If you are a fan of the 1970's television show, All in the Family, then you remember how Archie Bunker could complain about everything, including his family at times. At the core, though, 'family' meant everything to the Bunkers: Archie, Edith, Gloria and Michael (the Meathead). The home and all its contents were at the center of their lives.

On this LHR podcast, we examine how families can use legal strategies to keep property and other assets IN the family for further generations, which can involve complex planning.

Attorneys Lou Pierro and Rebecca Cerny describe how to design a plan that secures your legacy, including:

  • The family vacation home - how to structure who inherits it, how bills will be paid and repairs will be made

  • Your valuables - how heirlooms and keepsakes should be handed down

  • Family "LLC" strategies to protect assets from in-laws!

  • Advantages of Beneficiary-Controlled and Standalone Retirement Trusts

Listen to our July 27th podcast to learn how to keep your 'stuff' IN the family for generations to come.

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12:00 PM12:00

"Tune Up Your Estate Plan: Questions and Answers"

Just like your car needs to go into the shop for a periodic check-up, an estate plan should get a regular 'once over' to make sure it runs smoothly and efficiently.

 While the auto mechanic may find a spark plug needs replacing, an estate planning attorney can make updates and adjustments to your directives, asset protection tools and long-term care plans - that will keep them on track.

 An estate plan 'inspection' often generates questions, however, and on the July 20th Life Happen Radio show, hosts Lou Pierro and Aaron Connor tackled some of the most common ones we hear from clients. The attorneys also dispelled several misconceptions people bring to the table...some you may recognize.

 For instance:

  1. Can the creator of a revocable trust make whatever changes he/she wants without telling anyone?

  2. Do I need to change my estate plan every time I move?

  3. How do I draft a Power of Attorney that lessens the chances of abuse?

  4. What are the characteristics of a good Living Will?

  5. How can I create an estate plan that benefits my child with special needs?

  Click on this podcast to learn more.

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11:00 AM11:00

Innovate. Inspire. Retire!

If you look up the definition of "Innovation," you'll find descriptors like: change, revolution, and transformation. Our favorite is from, and it's short and to the point: "The process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value..."

On this podcast, we devoted the Life Happens Radio Show to innovations that inspire and add value to our listeners' plans. If you're interested in building wealth, and minimizing taxes plus risk, you'll want to hear the step-by-step instructions on how to pull an innovative plan together with the added value of proper legal planning.

Hosts Bob Vandy and Lou Pierro walk you through powerful innovations in life insurance and annuities that you may not have heard about...with combinations that work even better when integrated into a rock-solid estate plan.

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12:30 PM12:30

Medicaid Mistakes: Know your Rights!

Medicaid is the only public program that covers long-term care. Despite this, many people are told that they aren’t eligible, even when they could be. They are told they have too much income or assets, would need to “spend down” their life savings to qualify, or that they simply can’t remain in their home because they could not get the hours of home care that are needed. It is critical to know the law, and how it can work for you, in order to access this essential benefit.

On the July 6th Life Happens Radio show, attorneys Lou Pierro and Frank Hemming discussed the importance of knowing the law and the facts about Medicaid. They shared real-life stories from clients who they’ve helped qualify for Medicaid after being told previously they would never be able to, and described how you can plan now to be ready if the need arises.

Click on this podcast of Life Happens Radio!

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9:30 AM09:30

"Declare your Family's Freedom - through Proactive Planning"

The 4th of July holiday is to celebrate our Nation's independence. Often this also means getting together with family members, which is a great time to consider how legal planning can ensure the freedoms we value so dearly.

Estate and long-term care strategies should be part of the plan to protect the life savings you have acquired, spell out your wishes for children and grandchildren, and safeguard your goals for aging as health changes.

On this podcast we focus on Freedoms. Elder law attorneys Aaron Connor and Frank Hemming use real life stories to explain how we've helped thousands of clients acquire:

  • Freedom from probate

  • Freedom to age in place (at home)

  • Freedom from the Medicaid Spend Down

  • Freedom from family squabbles (if an estate plan is done correctly)

Listen to the podcast above to hear more!

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11:00 AM11:00

"Legislative Session Wrap-Up and its Impact on You"

After a flurry of debates and votes, the New York State legislative session came to an end. While proposals to legalize recreational marijuana and surrogacy floundered, bills that strengthen sexual harassment laws and protect against surprise medical bills passed.

But what about legislative solutions to the challenges faced by New York's seniors and individuals with disabilities? Did lawmakers act to expand access to affordable care and resources that improve quality of life?

On June 22, Assemblymember Phil Steck made a special appearance on WGY's Life Happens Radio to answer those questions. He joined host Lou Pierro to share a legislative wrap up that includes topics important to you, including:

  • Community-based care for older New Yorkers

  • Laws that protect you from exorbitant prescription drug costs

  • Efforts to make long-term care more affordable, including home care

Lou and Phil were also joined via phone by Al Cardillo, President and CEO of the Home Care Association of New York State.

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11:30 AM11:30

Estate Planning…with Strings Attached

We hear this from our clients every day: 'We've worked hard to build a nest egg and want to structure an estate plan that takes care of our children and grandchildren after we're gone.'

But here's a catch. How do you build in certain conditions, aka 'strings attached' that are near and dear to your heart? For instance:

  • Making sure your heirs don't cash out their inheritance soon after you pass.

  • Ensuring money stays in the 'bloodline' so that a divorce or debt with one beneficiary doesn't drain funds meant for all direct family members.

  • Planning for a child with a disability without assigning a sibling with the serious responsibility of managing the trust

On Saturday, June 15, elder law attorneys Aaron Connor, Lou Pierro and Rebecca Cerny shared their top strategies for inter-generational planning. They explained how special needs trusts, beneficiary-controlled trusts and standalone retirement trusts are effective options that can customize your wishes into a sound legal plan.

Click on this Life Happens Radio podcast to learn more.

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10:00 AM10:00

“To Tell the Truth” - The Truth About Annuities

You’ve probably heard or seen the ads: “annuities are bad,” “don’t buy annuities,” etc.

But, as is often the case with what we see in a brief ad – on TV or the Internet, even on the radio! – there is often more to the story!

Annuities come in MANY different varieties, and sometimes all annuities are painted with the same brush.

The fact is, annuities can play a vital role in some clients’ overall financial plans. They can provide tax deferral, income or any number of other benefits. The question is, “are they right for EVERYONE?” The short answer is, no, and no more “right” than ANY other financial solution to our planning.

Listen to this LHR podcast to hear Bob Vandy and Brian Johnson give you the REAL story behind annuities, including an objective look at the different types of annuities, their features and benefits, and how YOU can decide if annuities are worth considering for your planning!

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2:30 PM14:30

Avoid These Major Planning Mistakes

In this week’s podcast of Life Happens Radio, Attorneys Lou Pierro and Rebecca Cerny share tips and tools to avoid the most common estate planning downfalls.

Estate planning may seem simple to some, but there are certain traps that are easy to fall into. For example, if you are in a second marriage, it may seem “fair” to name both your adult child and new husband or wife as Health Care Proxy. However, this can cause complications down the line if the two parties don’t agree on a plan of action- even if they otherwise have a good relationship. Choosing one person you trust can save stress on everyone.

Some other common Estate Planning mistakes Lou and Rebecca discussed:

• failing to fund a trust

• not checking beneficiary designations and

• not planning for a disability

Listen to this Life Happens Radio podcast with Lou and Rebecca so when Life Happens, you’ll be prepared.

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10:00 AM10:00

Transferring assets the right way - Tax, Medicaid and Practical Implications

Many clients tell us they aren't interested in 'gifting' but "I want to put my child's name on my deed." That's a gift! And it has far-reaching implications.

The way our Medicaid laws are written, the government looks back five years for any asset transfers, and levies a penalty on people who transferred assets without receiving fair value in return. This penalty is a period of time during which the person transferring the assets will be ineligible for Medicaid.

How do you avoid this dilemma? Tune in to this LHR podcast from May 18, 2019 to understand how assets play the key role in Medicaid eligibility.
Attorneys Lou Pierro and Frank Hemming describe:

  • which assets fall under the transfer rules

  • the 'burden of proof' that Medicaid applicants face

  • how trust planning can help families preserve assets

  • how to prove a transfer was made for a purpose other than to qualify for Medicaid

  • the difference between nursing home Medicaid and Medicaid home care for asset transfer rules

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10:00 AM10:00

"Things About Income Replacement Planning that Mom Never Told Me!”

In this 2019 Mother’s Day podcast of Life Happens radio, co-hosts Bob Vandy and Brian Johnson welcome AIB colleague and Disability planning specialist, Don Baurle, to the airwaves. May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month, and Don (and Brian and Bob) share some valuable planning tips on how to best protect our incomes in the event of an unforeseen accident or sickness (first tip – aren’t they ALWAYS “unforeseen?”). 

Our Moms have always had sage advice for us, but having the right Income Replacement tools in place for the unexpected is probably not on the list! Listen to the Mother's Day LHR podcast to help you plan for such unexpected instances and “…be prepared!”

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3:30 PM15:30

Planning... to Honor Our Mothers

Each year around Mother’s Day, LHR host Lou Pierro often shares a memorable quote his late mother once said, "This is the house I raised my family in, and the only way I am leaving is feet first." Honoring that wish for his mother was very important to Lou, and has driven him to help other families navigate the long-term care process and fulfill that wish for their loved ones. With advancements in technology, and changes to traditional care programs, a growing number of seniors who once would have had no other option but to move to a nursing home, are now able to age in the comfort of their own homes.

On this LHR podcast, Lou is joined by Nora Baratto, LCSW-R, EverHome Care Advisors and guest host Elizabeth Martin, CEO of Consumer Directed Choices (CDChoices). Aimed at helping seniors control their own home care, CDChoices is a Medicaid funded program that allows individuals to directly hire, train and pay a home health aide of their choosing. Giving consumers the ability to hire people such as their children, neighbor, or good friend can ease the stress of finding the right caregiver. Listen above to hear Lou, Nora and Elizabeth share more information about this program, and other ways to plan for the future.

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10:00 AM10:00

"The Timeline of Estate Planning - and Why It Matters"

When it comes to estate planning, 'milestones' can make a big difference. Getting married. Starting a family. Approaching retirement...and caring for aging parents.

Planning ahead with those benchmarks in mind can save time, protect life savings and avoid costly proceedings like probate or unnecessary long-term care expenses.

On this LHR podcast, attorneys Aaron Connor and Frank Hemming share an ideal estate planning timeline that will help you keep your plan on track. That includes actions for:

  • What to do when a child turns 18

  • When you should creating a will and other advanced directives-- at adulthood, upon marriage, or ?

  • What stage of life a revocable or irrevocable trust makes sense

  • What age you should consider long-term care insurance or asset protection for eventual Medicaid

  • When applying for Medicaid, the critical dates that get you coverage the fastest

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1:30 PM13:30

Solo Seniors -Planning for the Future

Are you a “Solo Senior?” Or do you know someone who has a limited support system, and may feel socially or physically isolated?

You may also be a caregiver who just doesn’t have enough hours in the day to care for mom or dad like you had hoped.

Close to 30% of the senior population lives alone, and may not have close relatives or children nearby. For individuals in this group it’s important to create an estate and care plan that builds a secure and safe infrastructure.

In this for Life Happens Radio podcast, attorneys Lou Pierro and Frank Hemming along with Life Care Coordinator Nora Baratto, LCSW-R, address the issues specific to “Solo Seniors.”

Learn the key steps to safeguard your future or those you love.

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2:30 PM14:30

"Don't Put All of Your [Insurance] Eggs in One Basket"

We know, it’s easy. We’re busy. We see, read or hear a headline and draw a conclusion about a story, even though a full reading of that story may paint a completely different picture. We see it ALL the time in insurance planning. This TV show host, or blogger, or even radio personality(!) may offer up his or her opinion, without knowing ANYTHING about your specific situation, planning desires or goals. For example:

 “EVERYBODY should have ONLY term life insurance.” Is that true? Is term insurance best for EVERYONE?

 “I heard Long Term Care Insurance rates have gone up 100%, and will keep going up, so I just won’t bother” Is that REALLY true and, worse yet, is that REALLY the approach you should take to your LTC planning?

 The problem is that some people are basing some of their most important planning decisions on some of those conclusions. It’s been said, “if something you thought to be true…turned out NOT to be true…when would you want to know?” I think we would all respond “right away!” 

 Click on this podcast to hear Bob Vandy and Brian Johnson on Life Happens Radio, along with guest host Lou Pierro, as they help you roll up your sleeves on some of these issues, clarify some of the misinformation out there, and help you do your best planning by NOT putting “your [insurance] eggs in one basket.”

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12:30 PM12:30

“Secrets to IRA Planning”

When we ask our clients what kind of retirement assets they have, there's one we hear about less frequently: a pension. More people are facing retirement today without any fixed pension other than social security, resulting in the increasing importance of 401k, IRAs and other retirement accounts.

On this Life Happens Radio podcast hosts Lou Pierro and Rebecca Cerny reveal little-known facts and strategies around Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) - and how you can maximize wealth while minimizing taxes.

Lou and Rebecca discuss:

  • minimum distribution rules

  • income tax issues

  • Roth retirement plans

  • beneficiary rules

  • considerations for single vs. married participants

  • trust planning for retirement benefits

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2:00 PM14:00

“Estate Planning to Keep You Out of Court”

Dealing with the hardship of family disputes, a contested will, or claims of inheritance can be emotionally difficult, expensive and lead to months or even years of stress as the court determines who is rightfully entitled to the assets.

On this Life Happens Radio podcast, attorneys Aaron Connor and Frank Hemming offer guidance on how to avoid the costly, time-consuming situation of probate, which is the proving of a will in court. They also discuss common estate planning conflicts and how to keep family matters from escalating into contested legal battles. This show provides simple steps and sound strategies that will help you avoid lengthy disputes over the distribution of an inheritance and contests over a probated will, guardianship or disability.

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9:30 AM09:30

“Anatomy of a Medicaid Application: How it Really Works"

A few years ago, the process for becoming Medicaid eligible was the hardest part. You got all your documents in order, sent them to the County and the County would decide whether to approve the application.

Now, because of rule changes about attaining care for the applicant, it's very different. You have more offices to deal with: the County, an insurance company and New York State. Timelines are also strictly followed.

How do you figure it all out? How can an elder law attorney help?

On this podcast, Attorneys Lou Pierro and Frank Hemming explain the anatomy of a Medicaid application on Life Happens Radio. They also share real-life client stories and talk about the advantages of Trust planning for Medicaid.

Whether you're the adult child of an aging parent or a retiree who is planning for long-term care, don't miss this LHR podcast!

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5:00 PM17:00

“Your Estate Planning Crisis Checklist"

Clients often call us in a crisis, when decisions over the legal affairs or care of a loved one are imminent. While each situation is unique, there are some common guidelines that can help everyone move forward through times of turmoil.

On this Life Happens podcast, attorneys Aaron Connor and Rebecca Cerny outline a Crisis Checklist that families can use to to keep Estate Plans on track.

Our checklist includes:

*Avoid making emotional decisions under stress

*React - but don't overreact

*Involve your Advisors

You never know when a crisis will hit with legal or elder care challenges. So plan ahead to be ready for that day!

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10:30 AM10:30

“Caregiver Concerns & Challenges: An Open Discussion"

There is a growing level of frustration with finding appropriate care for our loved ones and navigating the complex care delivery system.

On this February 23rd podcast of Life Happens Radio, we'll focus on the action steps you can take to address these frustrations, including gaps in care.

Elder law attorney Lou Pierro and Life Care Manager Nora Baratto will discuss alternatives to the shortage of quality and affordable home care. They’ll describe how the use of technology can maximize consumer safety and reduce caregiver stress. Technology doesn’t replace human contact but when there aren't enough home health aides available, digital tools are the wave of the future.

Listen to this LHR podcast to hear about solutions that to home care challenges.

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4:30 PM16:30

“Using Trusts to Protect Your Assets: Is It Right for You?"

We often talk about trust planning on Life Happens Radio. But is a trust right for you? What benefits can you receive? How do they work? Why are trusts important and when should you create one?

 On Saturday, February 16th, attorneys Lou Pierro and Frank Hemming answered those burning questions during our Life Happens Radio show. They also described different kinds of trusts geared for Medicaid planning, Veteran's Benefits and Special Needs, as well as aspects involving 'Basis Step-up" and impact on the STAR exemption.

 Listen to this podcast to learn how you can make an informed decision about trust planning.

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12:30 PM12:30

"Insure Your Love"

In this Valentine’s Day 2019 edition of Life Happens Radio, Bob Vandy and Brian Johnson from AIB shared their thoughts on this time of year when we think of the ones we love.

Have you considered what the impact on that one you love might be if you died prematurely, got sick or hurt and couldn’t work, or had a loss of the ability to engage in everyday activities without assistance from someone else?

Brian and Bob discussed some of the ways “Life Happens” in a not-so-pleasant fashion and, more important, steps you can take to make sure your loved ones are protected, so they can maintain the lifestyle they and we want in the event of the unexpected.

Listen to this podcast about Insuring your Love – and give Bob and Brian a call if you’d like to take the next step: (518) 371-6131.

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3:00 PM15:00

“2019 Medicaid Update: How It Could Impact You"

The numbers are out. New regulations are in effect. Medicaid, the Federal program that the poor and middle class often use to pay for long-term care, is changing in 2019.

Do you know how it will impact you or your loved ones? Listen to this Life Happens Radio podcast to get all your Medicaid updates. Whether you are just thinking about Medicaid eligibility or your parents are currently getting these benefits, attorneys Lou Pierro and Frank Hemming bring you up to speed on:

  • Higher Monthly Income allowances

  • Higher Monthly Resource allowances

  • New Appeals processes

  • Changes in reinstating services after a hospitalization

  • MLTC "Lock-In" - explained

  • Fast Track Medicaid Applications in Immediate Need

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11:30 AM11:30

“Optimize Value and Reduce Risk: An Estate Planning Road Map"

Picture all the assets you've worked hard to acquire: a home, an investment portfolio, insurance and retirement accounts.

It takes years to build value into that portfolio, but have you taken steps to protect it? What happens if you face significant long-term care costs, stock market volatility or unexpected family turmoil such as divorce or debt? Paying for these expenses out-of-pocket can deplete your nest egg fast.

Consider a new strategy: one that combines value optimization with 2019 trust planning techniques and tax saving opportunities you may not know about.

Check out our Life Happens Radio podcast recorded on Saturday, January 26, when hosts Lou Pierro and Rebecca Cerny discussed ways to secure your assets while maximizing value. They'll also described how this works through real-life examples.

As always, catch the LIVE show every Saturday on 810 AM or 103.1 FM so when Life Happens, you'll be prepared.

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1:00 PM13:00

“Double Down on Your Planning"

If you've taken any steps to establish an estate plan, you're on the right track to secure your future. By laying out your wishes, naming agents to represent you in legal and health care decisions, and considering asset protection, you're taking a proactive approach.

Now, consider the Power of Two, by adding creative insurance products to your plan. In this way, you're adding protections against healthcare crises and other risks, as well as improving your financial situation.

On the January 19th Life Happens Radio Show, hosts Aaron Connor of Pierro, Connor & Strauss, and Bob Vandy of Advisors Insurance Brokers shared real-life stories of how combining the best strategies with estate planning and insurance have given families a great advantage.

Listen to this podcast to hear the show, including the calls from our listeners!

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2:00 PM14:00

“[Insurance] Resolutions for the New year – 2019 Edition”

Did you make some resolutions for 2019? How is it going so far? Have any fallen by the wayside yet? We hope not! Did you make any INSURANCE resolutions? Probably not.

On the January 12 show, Bob Vandy and Brian Johnson layed out some INSURANCE resolutions for the New Year. We often make resolutions based on desires for better health, financial situation improvement, travel, etc. More than likely, we haven’t made any resolutions to make sure our insurance house is in order for the coming year. Ironically, having the right insurance plans in place can help our “sleep at night” factor (better for our health), make the best use of our insurance dollars (improving our financial situations) and more.

Listen to this Life Happens Radio podcast so you’ll “be prepared” with insurance resolutions for the New Year.

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10:00 AM10:00

Coping with Care Crises: A New Year's Guide

Chances are you didn't expect to usher 2019 in with a string of unanticipated doctor's appointments and hospital visits. But it's inevitable when a family member's health worsens over the holidays. These crises can also lead to quickly scheduled meetings to discuss the financial and legal ramifications when your loved one needs immediate or long-term care.

On this LHR podcast, attorneys Aaron Connor and Frank Hemming share real life stories of holiday care crises, and how estate and trust planning plays a critical role. At Pierro, Connor & Strauss, we frequently get calls between Thanksgiving and early January from clients who have gathered for holiday celebrations - only to find an imminent health care need for aging parents. Aaron and Frank discuss strategies to:

  • Ensure estate documents are drawn up correctly, so that funds can be transferred if necessary, and your family member's wishes will be carried out

  • Update health care proxy and the MOLST form which governs life-sustaining treatment

  • Protect assets that could otherwise be spent down for medical costs

  • Become Medicaid-eligible as quickly as possible

  • Manage immediate care needs affordably

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2:00 PM14:00

A Goal for the New Year: Ensure Your Wishes Will Be Met

Decisions about end-of-life medical care are very personal. The start of a new year is the perfect time to make sure those wishes are well documented.

Whether you want your life to be extended as long as possible or whether you want no life-sustaining measures at all, you need to make that choice clear beforehand. Chances are you won’t be able to express yourself when a crisis is at hand and a decision needs to be made.

The traditional way to communicate one’s end-of-life wishes is through an advance directive, and while advance directives are a good start, by themselves they may not guarantee that your wishes will be followed.

On this podcast, attorneys Lou Pierro and Peter Strauss discuss the important things you can do to ensure your wishes are met, including:

• Naming a health care proxy – a person who will make medical decisions for you when you can’t.

• Make sure you have an ongoing conversation with this person about the kind of care you want

• Create a MOLST (Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment)- a medical form to indicate which types of life-sustaining treatment a seriously ill patient wants or doesn't want if his or her condition worsens.

Lou and Peter share real-life stories that show the importance of making sure this your end-of-life wishes are, and how an Elder Law attorney can help you achieve that goal.

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