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Elder Law

Estate Planning for Disability or Incapacity

If you or a loved one faces a loss of mental capacity or has had a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, dementia or other disease that can affect cognitive functioning, it is important for them to have a Last Will and Testament, Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, Durable Power of Attorney for Finances and Advance Directive in place before she or he can no longer make financial or personal decisions independently.  These estate planning documents are needed for disability planning and they allow individuals to retain their rights and often avoid the need for a guardianship and/or conservatorship even if mental capacity diminishes after the documents are executed.  

I help clients plan for incapacity by preparing durable powers of attorney, wills, trusts, health care advance directives, and mental health advance directives.

Long-term Care Planning

Are you worried about the cost and means to pay if you or a loved one will need to go into assisted living or a nursing home?  Do you have a relative or loved one who needs more supports and assistance to live at home?  Are you or a loved one in a care facility but concerned that you may run out of money to pay for the care?  Do you have questions about asset protection should you or a loved one need to receive Medicaid?  Have you talked with an experienced attorney to guide you in seeking benefits?

Some people are surprised to learn that Medicare plans do not cover costs for Long-Term Care for assisted living, nursing homes and adult day care.  When you or a family member needs long-term care, it can be a life-changing event.  The costs of receiving care in skilled nursing and other assisted living are very high. I help clients plan for long-term care through by navigating options and public health benefits to find solutions for receiving in-home care and receiving long-term care through Medicaid.  Proper planning can help families and individuals save real dollars in their estates and early planning can help individuals and families reap more benefits.

Special Needs Trusts

Wills with Testamentary Special Needs Trusts can provide extra protection for assets and allow people who receive government benefits to retain those benefits while still receiving an inheritance or settlement.  First-party or self-settled Special Needs Trusts are created with assets belonging to the individual with disabilities.  The person must be under 65 years old at the time the trust is established.  Medicaid recovers funds remaining in the trust at the beneficiary’s death for reimbursement before left-over funds can be transferred to anyone else.

Third-party Special Needs trusts are created with assets provided by parents, grandparents or other relatives or friends of the beneficiary.  The beneficiary’s assets cannot be used to create a third-party special needs trust.  This type of trust can be created and funded as an inter-vivos trust or as a testamentary trust.  The third party does not require that residual funds are used to reimburse Medicaid for services provided to the beneficiary.  If there are remaining funds in the trust after death, named beneficiaries may receive those assets.

Pooled special needs trusts involves sub-accounts belonging to many beneficiaries are managed as a single entity with trustees.  Pooled special needs trust can be useful to families with small special needs trusts, since the family can have access to highly experienced trustees at a cost-effective rate.