ELDER LAW OVERVIEW
Elder Law provides an integrated approach to resolving the issues facing aging clients including: estate planning, guardianship, asset protection (preservation and transfer of assets), benefits and entitlements (Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, SSI), long term care, elder abuse, nursing home issues, mental health issues, disability planning, and planning for financial and personal needs management during life (Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, Health Care Proxies) and after death (Wills, Trusts, beneficiary designations). The experienced elder law attorney performs a comprehensive review of the client's finances, health care issues, mental health issues, planning documents already in place, support systems available, benefits and entitlements, objectives, and planning for various scenarios. The family dynamic, social supports, and the client's concerns about their loved ones should be considered in doing any planning. Recent legislation has created additional issues for the elderly and disabled, including upcoming restrictions on transfers of assets if Medicaid home care is on the horizon, changes to retirement benefits planning and payouts under the SECURE Act, restrictions on Pooled Income Trusts, and other significant Medicaid changes. Actions taken by seniors with regard to a single matter may have unintended legal effects in other areas, and should be considered in a comprehensive manner.
A typical example of a problem facing seniors is the well spouse who wants to plan for an ill spouse through his/her Will or Trust. There may be a strong likelihood of long-term care, either at home or in a nursing home, given the ill spouse's prognosis. The elder law attorney should provide a comprehensive plan to maximize the income and assets for both spouses if at-home care or nursing home placement through Medicaid will be required, with consideration toward preserving those assets that can be saved for the couple and their heirs, if possible.
Another common scenario is when an elderly or disabled person is in a nursing home and cannot return home. The assets are dwindling and the home is in his name alone. The elder law attorney will consider the best options available and will evaluate whether there is an available exempt transfer to avoid incurring a penalty for Medicaid coverage, as well as other options to preserve the assets through the use of promissory notes or annuities with gifting, and a spend-down plan. If the person does not have capacity to engage in planning, a well-drafted Power of Attorney with a proper agent may allow the appointed agent to achieve the planning goals. Commencement of a guardianship proceeding should be considered when the planning cannot be accomplished with the documents as drafted, when there are no planning documents in place, or when powers needed are not included. The experienced elder law attorney can identify and analyze the myriad of issues facing the elderly and disabled, and will consider and integrate the legal and social aspects involved.
In order to plan for your future and resolve any of these issues, contact Fern J. Finkel or Julie Stoil Fernandez at Finkel & Fernandez, LLP, 16 Court Street, Suite 1007, Brooklyn, New York 11241, 347-296-8200 (telephone), 718-965-3185 (fax), firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
*Disclaimer: The information contained on this website is provided only as general information and is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be used as a substitute for a complete review of your case by an experienced elder law attorney. All situations differ. By visiting this website, there is no attorney-client relationship established between you and Fern J. Finkel, Julie Stoil Fernandez, or Finkel & Fernandez, LLP.