Many seniors and their families don’t use a lawyer to plan for long-term care or Medicaid, often because they’re afraid of the cost. But an attorney can help you save money in the long run as well as make sure you are getting the best care for your loved one.
Instead of taking steps based on what you’ve heard from others, doing nothing, or enlisting a non-lawyer referred by someone, you can hire an elder law attorney. Here are a few reasons why you should at least consider this option:
- 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 and expertise to advise clients on how they might achieve their goals, whether those are maintaining independence and dignity, preserving funds for children and grandchildren, or staying home rather than moving to assisted living or a nursing home. Less experienced advisers, however well intentioned, can’t know what they don’t know. Jeff Stinson is Certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation and has almost twenty years of elder law experience.
- No conflict of interest. A non-lawyer assisting in preparing the Medicaid application, may have dual loyalties, both to the entity that provides the referral and to the client applying for benefits. To the extent everyone wants the Medicaid application to be successful, there’s no conflict of interest. But, this goal may not be so cut and dry. The entity is interested in securing a source of payment, while the applicant may want to work to preserve funds for funeral, supplemental finances, or family needs. An attorney hired to assist with Medicaid planning and the application has a duty of loyalty only to the client and will do his or her best to achieve the client’s goals. We will ensure your plan is customized to meet your goals.
- Saving money. Nursing homes can cost as much as $10,000 a month in some areas, so it is unusual for legal fees to equal the cost of even one month in the facility. It is not difficult to save this much in long-term care costs. Our firm will consult with new clients at a modest consultation fee to determine what might be achieved before the client pays a larger fee.
- Malpractice insurance. While we should expect that every professional we work with will provide outstanding service and representation, sometimes things don’t work out. Fortunately there is a remedy if an attorney makes a mistake because almost all attorneys carry malpractice insurance. This is probably not the case with other advisers in the Medicaid arena. We hope to never need to use our malpractice insurance, but we recognize that everyone makes mistakes and insure ourselves accordingly to minimize risks to our clients.
- Peace of mind. In the rare instances when the elder law attorney advises a client that there is not much you can do to preserve assets or achieve Medicaid eligibility more quickly, the consultation will provide peace of mind that you have not missed an important opportunity. In addition, if obstacles arise during the process, the attorney will be there to work with you to find the optimal solution. We can ensure that both you and your family receive the most up-to-date options to secure your future.
Medicaid rules provide multiple opportunities for individuals to preserve assets for themselves, their spouses and children and grandchildren, especially those with special needs. There are more opportunities for those who plan ahead, but even at the last minute there are almost always still steps available to preserve some assets. It’s always worth checking out whether these are steps you would like to take. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to review your options.
Jeff is Certified as an Elder Law Attorney (CELA) by the National Elder Law Foundation, a distinction held by only a handful of lawyers in Indiana. For almost 20 years, he has focused on elder law, estate planning, long-term care planning, Medicaid planning, Veterans Affairs benefits planning, special needs planning, guardianships, and estate administration.