Family caregivers – typically a close family member providing support for an elderly or ill senior – often find themselves overwhelmed task of caring for their loved one, while working to make their final years as peaceful and enjoyable as possible. Thankfully, elder law attorneys are experienced in making caregiving more manageable. Elder lawyers are responsible for helping seniors and their loved ones find solutions to their long-term care needs. It is common that the healthcare and financial matters that aging Americans experience are often difficult to manage alone. From a legal standpoint, it simply makes sense to have an experienced attorney as a part of the team helping you navigate through legal matters that will arise throughout this process. From governmental benefits such as Medicaid, to choosing a retirement plan, an elder law attorney is knowledgeable in all aspects of senior matters and is willing and ready to assist your aging loved ones.
While elder law attorneys are known for overseeing legal issues that seniors face (i.e. healthcare, living arrangements, estate and other financial matters), there are many more ways an elder law attorney helps family caregivers. Keep in mind, no two situations are alike. Therefore, it is important to consult your attorney for the best options for you and your loved ones. For now, here are three ways elder law attorneys can assist you in your caregiving efforts:
Seniors looking for a way to preserve their money for long-term care facilities, medical needs and/or inheritance purposes should look into estate planning. Elder law attorneys typically specialize in helping create plans that govern how assets and family will be managed upon your loved one’s death. This work also includes the creation of appropriate documents that will appoint and empower your loved one’s chosen agents to provide care if your loved one becomes incapacitated. Proper estate planning will help allocate income and assets for use while the senior is still living, and manage the distribution process of finances after death. In order to ensure your estate is being properly handled according to your wishes and within the law, it is essential to secure the assistance of an expert estate planning attorney.
Medicaid & Long-Term Care Planning
At times individuals find themselves in need of long-term nursing care but are unable to satisfy the $6000-$10,000 monthly cost for such care. In such situations, it may be appropriate and necessary to pursue governmental sources, such as Medicaid. Seniors will qualify for Medicaid if they meet specific asset and income requirements according to the laws in each state. This is reason enough to begin Medicaid planning, through the assistance of an elder care attorney. The Elder Law expert will help seniors qualify for Medicaid in time for long-term care needs. With the help of an elder law attorney, seniors and loved ones will learn the difference between the types of assets that could disqualify them for Medicaid. For example, the value of a person’s residence is generally not counted towards Medicaid qualification (although there may be a home equity value limit, which varies according to the place of residence), which means the home may not impact your loved one’s application. Nonexempt assets, such as cash, savings and retirement accounts, for example, may be counted against the Medicaid asset and/or income limit rules in the senior’s residing state. Medicaid planning and pursuit can get pretty complicated. It is therefore crucial to secure the assistance of an Elder Law expert to assist with this process.
Elder abuse and fraud
Sadly, seniors are targets for unscrupulous individuals looking for a quick buck. Seniors are usually home during business hours, when telemarketers are at work finding their next victims. The naughty neighbor or fair-weather family member knows that seniors are least likely to know how to spot or how to take action against fraud. Thankfully, an elder law attorney knows how to identify financial abuse and fraud and will work with local authorities and (legitimate) relatives to expose any exploitation. Not only are telemarketing scams breeding grounds for unsuspecting victims, but email and snail-mail scams will also have seniors signing away their bank accounts! True Elder Law attorneys are passionate about fighting this problem!
We will all grow older, and one day find ourselves as seniors. This reality then means that there is a chance we will need long-term financial and healthcare assistance. For now, we owe it to our loved ones to provide support and care as well as we can. The hardships connected to caring for the elderly can be enough for anyone to throw in the towel. This is reason enough to reach out to an elder law attorney who is skilled in the tough decision-making that will determine the overall fate of your beloveds. If you find yourself providing such care for an elderly individual, feel free to give the attorneys of TGQ Law a call. We are happy to answer any questions and give clarity on the matters listed above, and more.