Estate Planning and Elder Law
ESTATE PLANNING AND ELDER LAW
As the number of older Americans continues to grow, we are dealing with health and legal concerns that most Americans fail to anticipate. We are experienced in estate planning and can also aid you in preparing for long-term care, preventing elder abuse, obtaining government aid, and establishing guardianships.
Government programs such as Medicare cannot be your only safety net. Medicare only covers the first twenty days of nursing home care in full, and part of the cost for another eighty days. Medicare does not cover long-term health care or extended recovery time. Medicaid is designed to assist low-income citizens with medical bills, and will cover long-term care costs. However, individuals with higher incomes do not qualify, and can see their estates vanish given the cost of staying in a nursing home. An estate plan can aid you in planning for the possibility of entering a nursing home.
Medicaid will not allow you to simply transfer your assets immediately before entering a nursing home. You should consult us in order to plan ahead for your long-term care needs. While it is never too early to consider these possibilities, it is also never too late.
If your health deteriorates and you are unable to manage your own personal and financial affairs, state law can require that a conservator or guardian be appointed to look after your affairs. A conservator has the authority to make legal and financial decisions on behalf of a disabled person. In most states, a conservator is required to purchase a “surety bond” to protect the estate. The estate of the disabled person pays the cost and expenses of the conservator and any attorney’s fees.
There can be disadvantages to this system. There is little guarantee that a court-appointed conservator will understand and work towards your goals or wishes for your estate. You should set up an estate plan, and choose a trusted person to manage your affairs if you are incapacitated. A living will can provide direction to your doctors on whether to put you on life support. A durable health care power of attorney allows you to grant a trusted person the ability to make health care decisions on your behalf.
Early planning allows you to alleviate concerns over these issues before they come up. Given the potentially serious consequences of these decisions, it is vital to consult with us to ensure that your rights are protected and your estate planning needs are met.
If you would like to schedule an initial consultation with one of our attorneys please call us at (515) 332-1157, or fill out our form below.