What do Elder Law attorneys do and how can they help?
In contrast to the role of traditional estate planning attorneys, who help clients plan for the end of life, Elder Law attorneys focus on their clients’ needs during their lifetime. They are advocates for the elderly, the disabled, and their loved ones, assisting them and their caregivers to deal with issues related to health care, long-term care planning, guardianship, retirement, social security, medicare/medicaid, and other important matters.
Seniors and the disabled are vulnerable because they are dealing with unique and complex legal concerns. Therefore, it is important for people to work with an attorney who is an expert in the field and who can also help them navigate the system and coordinate with the broad range of other professionals and government agencies serving this group.
Utilizing various strategies, Elder Law attorneys assist seniors and the disabled to accomplish their goals of continuing to live with meaning, and to die in peace and with dignity.
Elder Law Strategies
Some strategies that are used by Hector & Irene de Jesus to help seniors and the disabled to accomplish their goals include the following:
- Family asset protection planning for long term care. Using legal and ethical planning tools, personalized for each family, we assist families to obtain public benefits, including various types of Medicaid and Veterans’ benefits, to help offset the costs of long-term care. We help clients to obtain government assistance for care that they can receive in their homes, in independent and assisted living facilities, and, if and when the time comes, at the best skilled nursing facilities.
- Estate planning. Unlike traditional estate planners (who do very good and valuable work), as Elder Law attorneys, we help clients and their families put together and refine a plan of care, so that as our clients’ lives change, they are legally prepared in case of an emergency or an unexpected change in health.
- Guardianship. We help with the appointment of a guardian to act on behalf of an incapacitated individual’s person or property or both, under the court’s supervision. A family member can assume this responsibility, or, the court can appoint a professional guardian to serve.
- Guardianship advocacy. We help with the appointment of a guardian advocate, who is a person appointed by order of the court to act on behalf of a person, regardless of age, with a disability that constitutes a substantial handicap that can reasonably be expected to continue indefinitely, such as retardation.
- Special needs planning. In order for disabled people to obtain certain government benefits, they must qualify financially. We utilizes strategies and individually plans for clients and their families to provide for the long-term care of members of their families with disabilities. Such benefits are irreplaceable and their value cannot be measured.
- Probate and trust administration. When a loved one passes away, it takes an emotional toll on families. Navigating the legal landscape to achieve the loved one’s final wishes in an orderly manner can be overwhelming. We can help from the initial court filings through distribution, as well as advise clients as part of long-term trust administrations.
Who Needs Elder Law Planning?
Thanks to healthier lifestyles and enhanced medical technology, life expectancies in the U.S. are at an all-time high. But that also means more seniors will require some form of long-term care. Whether in-home assistance or a long-term nursing home stay, it’s becoming inevitable that most of us will require such care at some point in our lives.
Problem is, such long-term care is growing more expensive every day. In fact, some studies estimate that nearly two-thirds of families will run out of money within the first year or two of moving into a nursing home. Unfortunately, most private health insurance plans and Medicare don’t cover long-term care costs—which can average $4,000 to $12,000+ per month in the U.S., depending on where you live and what level of care you require.
With such exorbitant costs, it’s no wonder we’re facing a looming elder-care crisis in this country. Indeed, it’s heartbreaking for seniors to see their entire life savings (and the inheritance they worked so hard to leave their family), get gobbled up by long-term care expenses.
How We Can Help
Fortunately, with the proper planning in place, you can rest assured that you and your loved ones will have the proper safeguards in place to keep you at home as long as you desire, cover the expenses of your care and receive the maximum quality of care, when it’s needed. We can also help you qualify for Medicaid and other benefits to help cover these ongoing expenses.
Indeed, using trusts and other asset-protection strategies, you and your loved ones may be able to take advantage of government benefits without “spending down” all of your assets or losing everything you own. As elder law attorneys, we can help you create a comprehensive plan that allows you to live out your golden years without worry or financial hardship.
Navigating the complex elder law landscape can be a daunting task. Having an experienced lawyer like us at de Jesus Law Group who’s familiar and specially trained on the process of long-term care planning can be invaluable for ensuring not only the security and care of your loved ones, but also your peace of mind. Contact us today who can help you put the proper planning in place.