The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that almost 70% of folks aged 65 and over will need some type of long-term care in their remaining lifetime. What will this care look like? How will this care be paid for? How will the senior’s family be affected? Answering these questions and creating a plan is a major part of elder law.
Long-term care insurance can be very expensive and hard to qualify for. Instead, many folks would prefer to qualify for long-term care Medicaid benefits. Planning for care allows the senior to have flexibility and options when the time comes for the need for long-term care.
Why does planning need to be done? There are both income and resource limits when qualifying for long-term care Medicaid. In addition, there are penalties for transferring assets during a certain period before the Medicaid application is submitted. Qualifying for long-term care Medicaid involves many rules and procedures that can be confusing, vexing, and time-consuming. Planning can minimize the frustration of the application process and maximize the ability to protect the senior’s savings.
When does planning need to be done? As with most things, the sooner the better. If a plan is put into place while the senior is healthy and not in need of care, an elder law attorney can likely protect most of the senior’s assets. But if a plan is not put into place and the senior finds that they need care soon, some of their assets can still be protected and a plan can still be advantageous.
Who can help with long-term care planning? An elder law attorney! The goal of the elder law attorney is to give the senior information and choices. A plan will be put into place that is best suited for the senior’s goals and family situation. This way, the senior can have peace of mind knowing that if care is needed, they won’t leave their family in a stressful situation. Also, the senior can be assured that their hard-earned savings is protected to leave a legacy for their loved ones.
How can an attorney enter into elder law? Many attorneys who practice in other areas of law make the switch to elder law. Most practitioners find that elder law services truly help their clients, and they find satisfaction in making a difference in their communities. Also, this area of law is usually underrepresented in communities, so it presents a good business opportunity for their firm.
ElderCounsel loves helping attorneys make the switch to elder law! We have the education necessary to get the attorney up-to-speed on legal-technical rules and the document drafting software, ElderDocx®, to make drafting client documents a breeze. Contact us today to learn about all of the benefits of membership.
Have additional questions about what elder law attorneys do and how they can help members of their community? Watch this video and learn how elder law combines the estate, Medicaid, Veterans Administration, and special needs planning areas to provide optimal planning for your clients during their lifetime.