When you are looking for an attorney for any purpose, you should consider areas of emphasis. Different attorneys focus on different aspects of the law. If you want to plan your estate, you should find a legal professional who specifically focuses on estate planning.
Most estate planning attorneys also deal with elder law issues.
What is elder law? The name to a large extent explains this legal niche. An elder law attorney in Hartford CT will handle matters that are of particular interest to senior citizens.
One very pressing concern within the elder law community is the state of long-term care costs. These costs are extremely high at the present time, and they are rising year-by-year. It is logical to assume that nursing home and assisted-living costs would be significantly higher than they are today 20 or 30 years from now.
In the state of Connecticut, the average cost for a year in a nursing home exceeds $100,000. The average length of stay exceeds two years.
Unfortunately, Medicare will not assist with long-term care expenses. By the time you need long-term care you may not have hundreds of thousands of dollars to part with comfortably.
Elder law attorneys help clients plan ahead for these potential expenses.
One possible solution is Medicaid. Medicare will not pay for long-term care, but Medicaid will cover the costs if you can gain eligibility.
As most of us are aware, Medicaid is a program that is intended for people with virtually no financial assets. This may cause you to wonder why it would be relevant to elder law attorneys assisting retired people who were never poor.
It is an unpleasant reality, but you could be forced to use all of your financial resources to pay for long-term care until you are essentially broke. You would then qualify for Medicaid to help pay for your living assistance.
You can take advance steps to prepare yourself for Medicaid eligibility in the optimal manner. Rather than allowing the long-term care costs to absorb all of your savings, you could potentially divest yourself of assets in advance of applying for the program.
This can include giving gifts to people who are on your inheritance list.
However, you have to do this well in advance of applying for the Medicaid program because there is a penalty imposed if you give away assets within five years of submitting your application.
There are also some complicated rules regarding what your spouse could keep if you need long-term care while your spouse is still able to live independently.
Elder law attorneys assist clients who are interested in obtaining Medicaid eligibility. With the appropriate planning, you can take the necessary steps and keep much of what you own in the family.