Elder Law is defined by Law.Com as
“a specialty in legal practice, covering estate planning , wills, trusts, arrangements for care, social security and retirement benefits, protection against elder abuse, and the concerns of older people.”
Experienced elder law attorneys also advise clients regarding options for payment of long-term care, including eligibility requirements for Medicaid.
Most individuals seek the assistance of an elder law attorney when
(1) a loved one is in need of long-term care due to a decline or sudden illness;
(2) when a spouse will need long-term care and asset protection for the non-disabled spouse is important; and
(3) when a loved one is deemed incapacitated by physicians and no prior estate planning was done by the loved one.
Families need to first explore all options for long-term care, including the type of facility that will be best suitable to provide for their loved one:
- a fully licensed nursing home;
- a community based residential facility (CBRF);
- assisted living facility; or,
- in one’s own home.
In evaluating each of these options, methods available for payment will be important.
There are basically three ways individuals can pay for long-term care needs (as the same are not covered by traditional Medicare or Health Insurance):
(1) liquidate assets to pay costs of long-term care;
(2) utilize a long-term care insurance policy; or
(3) qualify for Medicaid.
In addition to the foregoing, some Veterans may be eligible for additional long-term care benefits through the Aid & Attendance Pension, even if you do not have a “disability” resulting from your service in the military.
For families who have an incapacitated loved one with no prior planning in place either for his/her financial support while receiving long-term care or by designating someone to speak for them when they cannot speak for themselves, a Guardianship will likely need to be obtained through the Court system. In this Court proceeding, a "guardian" will be appointed over the person's estate (for management of financial matters) and over the person's health (to make health care decisions).
At Koeppl Law Offices, we take pride in our ability to take the stress out of an otherwise stressful situation. We meet with families and analyze their ability to pay for their loved one’s long-term care needs.
We also advise on legal ways to safeguard couple’s assets to provide continued care for a spouse who is not receiving long-term care when his or her loved one enters a long-term care facility or otherwise requires help at home. We continue in helping those clients who would qualify for Medicaid benefits by advising and helping them through the application process.
If families come to us in a time of crisis, we guide them through the intricate legal system of obtaining guardianship and help families fulfill the technical reporting requirements, required of guardians, to the Court.
Because state and federal laws continually change it is important to seek up to date advice regarding elder law matters from an attorney whose primary focus is on elder law and estate planning.