Elder Law Documents
Elder law encompasses legal concerns that become important as we age. As more and more baby boomers cross into their sixties, the area of law is growing. But “elder law” can mean different things to different people. At the least, every estate plan for an older person should include a durable power of attorney and health care proxy. These documents remain legally enforceable if a person becomes mentally impaired or disabled. For that reason they are essential ingredients of elder law planning.
Increasingly as clients speak to us about their Wills and estate planning, we migrate onto the subject of protecting assets in the event they, or a loved one, needs nursing home or other long term care. Often if clients have seen this happen to an older family member, they often want to factor this in to their own estate planning.
The government insurance for those age 65 and older (Medicare) typically does not cover health care costs in connection with degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. When family members need nursing home care or have very heavy medical expenses not covered by Medicare, they may need to apply for Medicaid.
Medicaid is a jointly run federal and state program that provides medical coverage for people who cannot afford the cost of health care, or who require coverage for things not covered by Medicare. Special rules impact what assets will be counted to determine your eligibility, including assets you give away. There are limits on income and assets you can retain. Payback rules may require an estate to repay Medicaid for benefits you receive while alive, if your estate has assets. This can impact assets you leave to your heirs.
Medicaid planning is best done well in advance of a health emergency. At the law firm of Susan G. Parker Esq., PC, we take these factors into account as part of estate planning for our older clients.