What People Need to Know to Protect Themselves and Their Families
Why is it in a person’s best interest to know something about Elder Law?
It can have significant effects on a person’s financial future, and on the financial future of the person’s family.
What is Elder Law?
Elder Law deals with Medicaid and related matters, in addition to Wills, Trusts, Probates, Powers of Attorney, and the like.
Why is it important to know about some of these issues?
It can be important to be able to recognize situations where help is available. Many people need some background information to do this.
People with a certain amount of background information can help their friends and family recognize when they may benefit from help.
People are often unaware of fairly simple things that can be done to preserve their independence, or to maintain the independence and dignity of family members who may be affected by the high cost of health care.
Individuals and their families are also often unaware of preventative legal care which can preserve independence and assure proper handling of their affairs if they are affected by mental or physical conditions in the future.
People often misunderstand the rules that govern Medicaid. Sometimes they are misinformed by well meaning friends, or other persons who do not understand the rules that govern Medicaid.
This can lead to people failing entirely to qualify for Medicaid.
It can also lead to people mistakenly spending down assets that could have been preserved for a person, or for the person’s family.
This can, in turn, have devastating effects for a person’s spouse or disabled child.
Common mistakes can result in:
Property being trapped in trusts, and required to be used for the cost of care before a person qualifies for Medicaid, when the spouse needs (and otherwise would have been allowed under Medicaid rules) to use these funds for his or her own needs.
Creation of a life estate (the right to use property so long as you live), which may result in the State claiming 20% or more of the value at a later date.
The State being able to force a probate, in which the State is awarded 25% to 100% of a well spouse’s estate, in order to recoup Medicaid expenses of the ill spouse.
NOTE: The above are only some of the times that one can benefit from legal advice from a person who is well versed in elder law matters, Medicare and Medicaid issues, estate planning, wills, trusts, guardianships and conservatorships or similar matters. The above should not be considered legal advice, nor should it be taken as a statement of the only time that one might benefit from consulting a legal or other professional.