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Elder Law

Our Elder law practice area is focused on enhancing the well-being of older adults and persons with special needs.

Guardianships

Guardianship is a legal process in Superior Court which allows an appointed guardian to exercise the legal rights of an adult or minor. To qualify for a guardianship, the court must find that the adult or minor incapacitated person is at a significant risk of harm based on a demonstrated inability to adequately manage property or financial affairs or to provide for nutrition, health, housing or physical safety for him or herself.

When a guardianship has been established, incapacitated persons may lose the right to:

  • Marry or divorce
  • Vote
  • Enter into a contract
  • Have a driver’s license and drive
  • Buy, sell, own, or lease property
  • Consent to or refuse medical treatment
  • Decide who will provide care

Alternatives to guardianship should be explored before seeking a guardianship.  There may be less-restrictive options available which allow for the proper care of the vulnerable person while providing more decision-making authority to the guardian. 

Long-Term Care

Given the high cost of health care and cost of services, the financial pressures of long-term care are a significant concern for many seniors.  Medicaid does not pay for custodial long-term care expenses such as those typically needed by older adults after a serious fall, or those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.  It is the sad reality that regular health care insurance policies and Medicaid do not cover these expenses and the cost can use up any person’s lifetime savings quickly.

There are a variety of options to use when planning for long-term care needs.  Preparation and legal planning can help clients alleviate financial concerns and uncover ways to pay for necessary services.  We help clients identify and evaluate their options and find ways to pay for long-term care.  We also prepare customized estate planning documents to plan for incapacity.

Medicaid

For those who cannot afford to pay the high costs of long-term care in a nursing facility or in their homes, Medicaid is way to pay for necessary services if the eligibility requirements are met.  We help clients determine if they meet the Medicaid requirements and advise them of alternatives.  In order to qualify, a person must be medically and financially needy and also meet the income and resource limits set by state and federal laws.

We help clients prepare Medicaid applications and represent them at hearings.  Medicaid is a very complex area of the law and the government may seek recovery against the estate under certain conditions.  Persons or couples who have assets or income should contact an elder law attorney get advice before applying.