Elder Law & Guardianships
Attorneys Katherine A. Young and Amy J. Eddy
Nursing Home Planning
The process of nursing home planning is the formulation of a plan that provides for a loved one’s nursing home care while preserving their assets for either their spouse’s use or their beneficiaries’ inheritance. Our attorneys will work with you to formulate a plan that considers your individual circumstances and that is designed to meet your particular needs.
Medicaid (also called Medical Assistance) is a joint federal-state program that provides health insurance coverage to low-income children, seniors and people with disabilities. In addition, it covers care in a nursing home for those who qualify. Our attorneys have specialized knowledge of the Medicaid resource and income rules, transfer penalties, spousal protections, liens and estate recovery.
Medicare is the federal government’s principal health care insurance program for people 65 years of age and over. Coordination of Medicare and Medicaid benefits is very important when a loved one is faced with the need for nursing home care. Our attorneys are familiar with the conditions and rules for obtaining Medicare coverage for nursing care and are skilled at coordination of benefits for both in-home and institutionalized care.
Special Needs Trusts
Supplemental needs trusts (also known as “special needs” trusts) allow a disabled beneficiary to receive gifts, lawsuit settlements, inheritances or other funds and yet not lose eligibility for certain government programs that may pay for nursing home care. We can assist you with preparing these types of trusts and insure that the trust is drafted so that the funds will not be considered to belong to the beneficiary in determining eligibility for public benefits. We can also provide access to “pooled trusts” which pool the resources of many disabled beneficiaries, and have the added advantage that at the beneficiary’s death the state does not have to be repaid for its Medicaid expenses paid on behalf of the beneficiary.
If a loved one becomes incapable of making responsible decisions due to infirmities of aging or a mental disability, the court will appoint a substitute decision maker, often called a “guardian.” We can assist you with the legal documents and court appearances necessary to obtain a guardianship.
Our attorneys can also assist with petitions to the probate court for the voluntary appointment of a “conservator,” if an individual determines that he or she is unable to manage his or her financial affairs, but has the capacity to make the decision to have a conservator appointed.
If you are unable to make health care decisions for yourself, you can designate someone to make those decisions for you with a Power of Attorney for Health Care. You can also give instructions to your health care provider, through a living will, to withdraw life support if you are terminally ill or in a vegetative state. We can help you decide which documents meet your needs and assist you with the document preparation. Our attorneys can also provide you with a wide variety of other estate planning services. See Estate Planning and Probate.
Our elder law attorneys can discuss the legal avenues available if you or someone you love is the victim of physical, emotional or financial abuse, as well as assist you with obtaining access to resources and support.
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