What Is Elder Law?
Elder law focuses on the legal issues that people need to address as they grow older. This includes estate and lifestyle planning through the use of Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Proxies and Living Wills. It also includes Medicaid Planning, Long Term Health Care Planning, Elder Abuse and Guardianship Proceedings. I can help you with it all.
What you need to know
It is never too early or too late to think about the future. However, for those individuals that have reached retirement age and/or who have acquired the majority of their assets, there are more specific issues that may need to be addressed:
Have you planned for long-term nursing home or in-home care in the event that you should need it? Will the associated costs diminish or possibly deplete your savings?
Purchasing long term care insurance is usually the best available option. Unfortunately, if you don’t purchase it before you reach your 60s the premiums may be too high. Another option is the use of annuities and investments to ensure adequate resources when the time comes. But that too requires planning well in advance. Most individuals do not plan that far in advance and may have to use up almost all of their assets before becoming eligible for government programs such as Medicaid, which will pay the expenses necessary for long term care.
Medicaid planning is an advanced method of estate planning. When appropriate, I help my clients plan accordingly to ensure their eligibility for the Medicaid program without having to use up their assets. Even if income and assets are presently too high to otherwise qualify, using certain estate planning tools will allow individuals to transfer assets in order to take advantage of this government program. It is important to do Medicaid planning as early as possible in order to ensure eligibility.
If you or your spouse should suffer a serious illness, is someone legally empowered to made medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot? It is important that as you grow older you make sure that advanced directives are in place such as a durable general power of attorney, health care proxy and living will with HIPAA compliant release forms. By executing these forms, you can make your wishes about your health and welfare known so that they will be followed in the event that you are unable to communicate them yourself. Your loved ones can be relieved of the stress involved with making difficult decisions and you can rest assured that, in the event of an emergency, you will be treated in the manner that you wish.