Elder Law & Medicaid

Confused about Medicaid? You’re not alone! The complexity surrounding this constantly changing area of the law can sometimes feel overwhelming… it doesn’t need to be.

Caring for the elderly and ensuring their assets are protected are some of the primary services offered by our law firm.

WHAT IS ELDER LAW?

Elder Law involves planning for the complex health care, long-term care, and other issues facing elderly and disabled individuals and their families. Studies show that we stand a 40 percent chance of needing long-term care at least once before we die. Therefore, everyone should take into account that at some point residency in a nursing home or an assisted living facility may be needed.

However, the substantial cost of nursing home care for an incapacitated person can wipe away a family’s nest egg and the inheritance planned for surviving family members. The primary alternative to privately paying the nursing home is Medicaid.

MEDICAID PLANNING MYTHS

So many times clients come to our office under the mistaken impression that there is nothing that can be done to protect assets from nursing home costs. Fortunately much of the circulating consumer knowledge is false or misinterpreted. For example, it isn’t always necessary to wait 5 years after gifting assets to become eligible for Medicaid. The answer actually depends upon the specific facts of your case. With the help of an experienced Elder Law and Medicaid Planning attorney many of the assets you have spent a lifetime accumulating can be protected from high nursing home expenses.

MEDICAID ASSET PROTECTION STRATEGIES

Although with the recent passage of the Deficit Reduction Act, increased restrictions affect the use of some techniques, other asset protection strategies remain viable, especially for married couples where one spouse requires long-term care. Some of these techniques may include setting up an Irrevocable Living Trust, making gifts to family members, and paying for certain Medicaid expenses.

Whether you are facing long-term care issues yourself or you have a family member who is, we encourage you to call with your questions or ask us for a free report. Be sure to call sooner rather than later because the timing of the decisions families need to make has a dramatic impact on whether or not someone can actually qualify for this type of support.

Elder Law involves planning for the complex health care, long-term care, and other issues facing elderly and disabled individuals and their families. Studies show that we stand a 40 percent chance of needing long-term care at least once before we die. Therefore, everyone should take into account that at some point residency in a nursing home or an assisted living facility may be needed.

However, the substantial cost of nursing home care for an incapacitated person can wipe away a family’s nest egg and the inheritance planned for surviving family members. The primary alternative to privately paying the nursing home is Medicaid.

INCAPACITY PLANNING

Incapacity planning is a broad area of law that covers how you are cared for if you become physically or mentally unable to care for yourself. The type of care could range from simple tasks like buying groceries, paying bills, and handling financial matters to more important decisions such as selling real estate, gifting assets to your children, or making critical medical decisions.

Depending on the needs of the individual or family, incapacity planning could include a number of planning techniques such as Property Powers of Attorney, Health Care Powers of Attorney, Living Wills or Advance Health Care Directives or Guardianships/Conservatorships.

WHAT IS A GUARDIANSHIP OR CONSERVATORSHIP?

Guardianship, also known as Conservatorship, is a court-supervised proceeding which names an individual or entity to manage the affairs of an incapacitated person. A Guardianship may also include the duty to care for the incapacitated person.

Our law firm helps clients create a plan to handle their affairs in the event they become disabled, thereby avoiding the necessity of a public Guardianship proceeding.

SPECIAL NEEDS PLANNING

Families who have a family member with a disability must plan for the future very carefully. How assets are left after your death can have a tremendous impact on the quality of life for that person. In the past, a Will may have been enough, but times have changed. To protect a person with special needs, a well-defined estate plan is vital.

HOW A SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST WORKS

A Special Needs Trust allows a parent, grandparent or guardian to provide funds for a child with a disability without disrupting the child’s eligibility for government aid. Setting one up is a fairly simple process. Important points to remember while investigating the use of this estate planning tool are:

  • Decide on an appropriate guardian for your child
  • Determine who would be a suitable Trustee(s) to manage the Trust’s assets and supervise your child’s finances
  • Outline instructions for your child’s education, housing, personal and emotional needs

Our law firm helps families address the financial, legal and social aspects of a person’s life to develop an effective plan for the future. Our goal is to ensure that their needs are met and that they have the opportunity to expand their horizons and follow their dreams.