Elder Law Fundamentals
Many people don’t understand what Elder Law represents, but it’s a very important field of law geared toward protecting your wishes and wealth in your later years of life. Elder law is a field of law practice that requires attorneys to complete specific training.
Rosenstein Chicatelli is trained to specialize in Elder Law. We are able to help you successfully plan for your long-term care needs with the lowest impact on your personal wealth. For example, we can assist you in protecting your home and savings from being consumed by the high price of nursing home care. We do this by developing a customized long-term care plan that takes all of your personal assets, end-of-life wishes, and personal relationships into consideration.
Areas of Elder Law that We Cover
Long-Term Care Planning
Nursing home care is very common for the later stages of life, with more and more Americans requiring additional care every year. Perhaps this is due to life expectancy rates holding steady at 78 years old and the average age of those moving into nursing homes being 65. But regardless of the cause, having a long-term care plan can relieve the worry for your loved ones that this expensive, savings-consuming care will drain your hard-earned resources.
Medicare and Medicaid Planning
One popular avenue for long-term care planning is Medicare and Medicaid planning. Medicare is a program that you pay into throughout your life, and those funds open up to you when you hit a certain age – typically 65 years old. Medicaid, however, is a program that is reserved for people with financial hardship to help them pay for things like nursing home care. Many people incorrectly believe they are not eligible for Medicaid if they don’t experience financial hardship. But the truth is that there are many ways to protect your assets from nursing home costs through professional and legal Medicaid planning.
There are ways to qualify for Medicaid with the help an experienced attorney, even if you believe you own too much or your income is too high. An experienced Elder Law attorney can help you and your family save thousands by understanding what is and is not included in eligibility for Medicaid. It may be assumed you have to “spend down” your net worth to qualify for Medicaid, but we can help devise a plan that does not require you to spend more before qualifying for Medicaid.
Power of Attorney and Guardianship
Life can take an unexpected turn in the blink of an eye. Suddenly, you may find yourself incapacitated and unable to make decisions about vital matters. Whether caused by a car accident, disease, mental illness or other calamity, we can help with planning your power of attorney and guardianship. While it’s uncomfortable and even scary to imagine an outcome like this that would leave you in need of a guardian or power of attorney, the lack of planning can leave your home, savings and loved ones at risk.
In the event that something severe does occur, selecting a trusted friend or family member as your agent under a power of attorney or guardianship is an important step in navigating your care. It removes the gray areas of the situation and helps to determine the next steps in your medical, financial and legal situation.
Creating a power of attorney document can protect your loved ones from having to petition the courts for guardianship. These types of documents can be drafted so they won’t go into effect unless you become unable to speak on your own behalf.
Special Needs Planning
Special Needs Planning provides families and individuals with severe or chronic disabilities the protection you deserve. If they have a loved one with special needs, it is important to get their affairs in order with the correct legal documents. This plan may include powers of attorney, supplemental needs trusts, as well as a will and other supporting documents. We can help you every step of the way, including setting up a guardianship which will allow a trusted person to make important decisions on behalf of your loved one.
The Two Major Categories of Guardianship in New York
It is important to understand the different types of guardianship that are available in New York State. The first type of guardianship pertains to children. This guardianship is set in place in case a parent becomes unavailable. The second type of guardianship is for any non-child situation. In this case, the guardianship may refer to a property. The guardian under each type of guardianship is responsible for the welfare and best interest of participating parties.
A guardian can help you with all of your personal healthcare needs, such as finding the right in-home or nursing home care facilities, managing your day-to-day needs, making medical decisions, and managing your personal finances or properties. You want to determine who will be making these critical decisions before anything happens to you so you aren’t left unable to choose who will care for you and how.