Many seniors and their families shy away from consulting a lawyer to plan for long-term care needs or to optimize Medicaid benefits, often because they are afraid of the cost involved. But to the contrary, hiring the right team of professionals can help you avoid the costly mistakes and pitfalls the Medicaid system presents. This saves money in the long run as well as ensures your loved one is getting the best care possible.
At Stefans Law Group PC, we utilize a holistic Life Care Planning model to provide legal advice. This model considers all the key issues that people face as they age such as: planning for sudden disability and long-term care needs, managing housing concerns, and maintaining financial independence and overall quality of life. We have a professional team of attorneys, Certified Financial Planners, and tax experts that work together to ensure all aspects of care are properly integrated and aligned with your goals. We are also tied to an extensive network of social workers, assisted living facilities, home health care agencies, and other professionals who may also be of assistance to you.
Here are a few more good reasons why you may reconsider making estate and Medicaid planning a “do-it-yourself” project:
- State Law Governs Elder Law & Estate Planning Matters State laws are very specific about the methods by which a Will, Trust, medical advanced directives, and other estate planning documents are drafted and executed in order to be valid and, therefore, useful. Additionally, although Medicaid is a federal program, state governments administer the benefits at the local level. Therefore, the rules and regulations that govern estate and Medicaid planning vary greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. An elder law attorney is well aware of these differences and can easily and quickly navigate around these complexities. For example, a person may use legal software to execute an irrevocable trust to qualify an aging parent for Medicaid benefits, only to find out several months later the document was not signed by the proper type of witness or was missing vital information and, therefore, is not legally valid. Such errors can delay Medicaid eligibility for up-to five (5) years and cost families thousands in medical costs over that time period.
- No Conflict of Interest When nursing homes refer families of residents to non-lawyers for assistance in preparing a Medicaid application, the preparer has dual loyalties — both to the facility that provided the referral and to the client applying for benefits. To the extent that everyone wants the Medicaid application to be successful, there should be no conflict of interest. But it is generally in the nursing home’s interest that the resident pay privately for as long as possible before going on Medicaid, while it is generally in the nursing home resident’s interest to get Medicaid benefits as quickly as possible. Our team has a duty of loyalty to our clients only and will work only to achieve our client’s goals.
- Deep Knowledge and Experience Professionals who work in any field on a daily basis over many years develop both the depth and breadth of experience to advise clients on how they might achieve their goals. Such goals include: maintaining independence and dignity, preserving funds for children and grandchildren, or staying home rather than moving to an assisted living facility or a nursing home. Less experienced advisers, however well-intentioned, cannot take into account the larger picture when they only know how to complete one piece of the puzzle. Our team has over 17 years of elder law and estate and Medicaid planning experience and over 24 years of tax experience. We understand the real-life problems people face as they age, anticipate future needs, and proactively plan for those needs.
- Saving Money Nursing homes can cost upwards of $20,000 a month here in New York, so it is unusual and unlikely for legal fees to equal the cost of even one month in such a facility. Many families are easily able to save this much in long-term care costs, insurance, and probate costs by engaging in proper asset protection planning.
- Peace of Mind With our help and effective asset protection planning, a family can achieve long-term financial freedom and peace of mind. At the very least, a meeting with Stefans Law Group can assure you that you have not missed an important opportunity to preserve assets or achieve Medicaid eligibility more quickly. Additionally, if obstacles arise during the process, as they often do, we will be there with you every step of the way to help find the best solution.
We look forward to sharing how we can help you and your family. Please call us at (516) 692-2744 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Planning ahead always provides multiple opportunities for you to preserve your assets, qualify for Medicaid (and other government benefits), and maintain that qualification. It is always worth learning more about your options.
To find out more about our practice, our talented team, and our upcoming workshops and events, please visit us online at www.stefanslawgroup.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/stefanslawgroup and LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/stefans-law-group.