Elder law is often confused for estate planning. That’s understandable since elder law and estate planning tend to be grouped into the same practice area. While elder law issues differ from estate planning, elder law cases can overlap into estate planning.
As you conduct your own research about elder law you’ll discover that many elder law attorneys also specialize in estate planning, like the ones here at Robinson & Henry, P.C.
Set up a free meeting with an elder law attorney at 303-688-0944. You may also schedule a visit on your own when you click here.
What is Elder Law?
So much about our lives change as we grow older. The specialty area of elder law aims to prevent or resolve the numerous issues that can affect seniors.
From scams and abuse to limited income and long-term care, elder law attorneys help aging individuals and their families create a plan that meets their needs and ensures their safety and well-being.
Common Elder Law Needs
- Long-term Care Planning
- Medicaid Pre-Planning
- Medicaid Crisis Planning
- Healthy Spouse Impoverishment Protection
- Document Guidance & Preparation
How an Elder Law Attorney Helps
Long-Term Care Planning
In Colorado, in 2020, one month in a nursing home costs nearly $9,000. That’s more than $100,000 over the course of a year. Many elderly individuals spend down their life savings on nursing home costs so they can eventually qualify for financial assistance.
If both spouses are living, and one of them is healthy, the well spouse can be left with little money on which to survive. An elder law attorney can help families avoid this unfortunate, but common, scenario.
At Robinson & Henry, our elder law attorneys have legal strategies that can safeguard an aging individuals (or couple’s) assets from the cost of long-term care:
- asset protection trusts
- income trusts
- irrevocable life insurance trusts
Every case is different, but an elder law attorney can advise you or your loved one about which course of action is best for the particular circumstances.
Long-term care planning and Medicaid pre-planning often go hand in hand. Many times, when individuals look at a long-term care plan, they discover their savings will not go nearly as far as they anticipated.
Planning for Medicaid in advance, before you get sick, will allow you to protect more of your savings and assets for the future.
There are ways, for instance, to qualify for Medicaid without having to sell your house.
However, planning for Medicaid is a very complex process. If the law isn’t exactly followed an individual can easily disqualify themselves for assistance for months, even years, so it’s important to engage the advice of an lawyer before proceeding with Medicaid pre-planning.
If you can pre-plan for Medicaid, you will have more options to protect your assets.
Medicaid Crisis Planning
Everyone will not have the opportunity to plan in advance. And some people, unfortunately, receive bad advice about how to qualify for Medicaid assistance. In either instance, you can still plan and possibly save some remaining assets.
As you can imagine, Medicaid crisis planning tends to be more complex with fewer options. However, a knowledgeable elder law attorney will have strategies that can help individuals and couples facing a critical financial situation.
Healthy Spouse Impoverishment Protection
Part of long-term care planning includes preventing the well spouse from becoming impoverished if or when the other spouse requires nursing home care.
An elder law attorney can help you navigate governmental allowances so you or your loved one has a steady stream of income.
For instance, the Community Spouse Resource Allowance is useful when there is concern the couple has too many assets to receive financial assistance from Medicaid to pay for long-term care. This particular allowance lets the healthy spouse keep a portion of the join assets, up to $128,640 in 2020.
Another allowance, the Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance, or MMMNA, lets a well spouse retain part of their ill spouse’s monthly income.
Document Guidance & Preparation
As previously mentioned, elderly individuals are often the victims of scams. They can also lose their ability to manage their affairs, such as paying bills, handling insurance claims, or even making their own medical decisions.
An elder law attorney will explain which documents are needed to ensure your or your loved ones needs are taken care of in the event of incapacitation.
A good example: powers of attorney.
These are vital documents for aging individuals to obtain. They allow trusted individuals to access financial accounts and be privy to medical information so important affairs and decisions can be handled in a timely and appropriate manner.
Because changing laws can affect long-term care plans, it’s important to consult an elder law attorney to ensure your or your loved ones powers of attorney are in accordance with current laws.
Download the following Medicaid planning information graphic.
Meet With One of Our Elder Law Attorneys
Whether your loved one needs to qualify for Medicaid now or you want to outline a strategy for the future, our elder law attorneys can create a plan that will accomplish your goals.
Set up a free meeting at 303-688-0944. You may also schedule a visit on your own when you click here.