Advances in science and medicine mean that the average life expectancy of an American has increased significantly over the last 100 years. Add to that the fact that the unusually populous Baby Boomer generation has started reaching retirement age and we suddenly have a historically large population of older Americans. The growing number of elderly Americans led to the need for a specialized area of the law to address their needs and the needs of their caregivers. Because many older Americans need assistance covering the high cost of long-term care, elder law often involves incorporating long-term care planning into an existing estate plan. At Amato Law, PLLC our experienced elder law attorney can help you with all your elder law concerns, including the need for Medicaid planning.
What Is Elder Law?
Unlike most other areas of the law, elder law attorney do not focus on one narrow subject matter within the law. Instead, elder law attorney look at how a broad spectrum of legal issues impact the elderly and those who care for them. For example, you might need an elder law attorney to:
- Plan for the high cost of long-term care
- Draft and execute advance directives
- Update an estate plan
- Petition for guardianship of an elderly loved one
- Address housing discrimination
- Investigate and pursue liability for elder abuse
- Plan for retirement
- Appeal a denial of veteran’s benefits
Paying for Long-Term Care
The longer you live the better the odds that you, or your spouse, will need long-term care (LTC). Failing to plan for the high cost of that care could put your retirement nest egg at risk, so planning early is vital. Here are five options available to you:
- Medicare: Provides very limited long-term care coverage. Many people incorrectly assume Medicare will take care of their nursing home expenses. Unfortunately, Medicare typically covers a maximum of 100 days of long-term care.
- Long-term Care Insurance: If your loved one has a policy it may cover most – or even all – of his or her nursing home expenses. It’s important to review the policy as soon as you suspect a nursing home stay may be necessary.
- Children and Loved Ones: There is no good reason for you to bear the responsibility for your parent’s nursing home bills. Often, however, nursing home agreements attempt to make a resident’s children or other loved ones responsible for a resident’s bills. Check the agreement and do not sign anything that you don’t understand – and don’t take the nursing home’s word for it. Get guidance from a qualified Elder Law Attorney.
- Reverse Mortgage: When savings and income are not enough to cover the entire bill for long-term care, reverse mortgages are becoming an increasingly popular option. Homeowners can draw on the equity in their home, and not have to worry about the loan coming due as long as they reside in the home. It is not a good choice for those who want to pass their homes on to their heirs.
- Medicaid: This is the most popular option for the American middle class and contrary to popular belief, you do not have to impoverish yourself or your family in order to qualify. Depending on their income and assets, your loved one may be able to qualify for Medicaid. Pre-planning for Medicaid allows you to work within the guidelines to create a plan that protects the majority or all of your assets from long-term care expenses.
Please note we do not offer Medicaid crisis planning and do not offer services related to qualifying for immediate Medicaid assistance.
Our attorney at Amato Law can help with all your elder law concerns that can be incorporated into your estate plan. Contact our office today by calling 212-355-5255 or filling out our online contact form.