Legal professionals typically devote themselves to specific specialties, and our firm is dedicated to estate planning and elder law issues. An Ossining elder law attorney helps people who are concerned about the eventualities of aging.
What does the area of elder law involve?
Many people are confused by the words “elder law” and wonder what it actually means. Frankly, there are good reasons for that confusion, since elder law covers a wide variety of different legal areas – and many attorneys only routinely handle certain kinds of issues. At its core, however, elder law can be defined as including all of those areas of the law that directly impact senior issues and interests. As a result, it can include everything from estate planning and nursing home care to age discrimination and elder abuse. Thus, an Ossining elder law attorney could provide you with assistance in dealing with many different elder law issues.
You should certainly consult with an elder law attorney so that you can brace yourself for the contingencies that you may face as a senior citizen. If you do decide to speak with an Ossining elder law attorney, here are some questions that you may want to ask, followed by some general answers.
What is the single most pressing elder law issue that I should know about?
Long-term care is at the top of the list. Though Medicare will provide health insurance for most senior citizens, the program does not pay for custodial care. This is the type of care you would receive in a nursing home or assisted living community. Around 70 percent of people who are turning 65 today will need living assistance at some point in time. Since long-term care is very expensive, this is a big deal.
Medicaid is a government health insurance program that does pay for long-term care. Since it is a need-based program, it takes careful planning to divest yourself of assets in an intelligent manner so that you can obtain eligibility. An Ossining elder law attorney helps people who want to implement nursing home asset protection strategies.
Assistance with Social Security and other benefits
Some seniors also need help when applying for certain benefits and entitlements. These situations can include those that involve claims for Social Security and Medicare or preparing an appeal of a disability denial. Seniors often need assistance as they try to obtain veterans’ benefits as well. An Ossining elder law attorney can help to eliminate much of the stress associated with these benefit approval processes and help to ensure that seniors get the assistance they deserve.
The importance of Medicaid planning
This is often cited as one of the most important elder law concerns – and with good reason. Seniors who need nursing home or other long-term care are often confronted with costs that amount to hundreds of dollars a day. For the average senior, that high cost of care can spell doom for any meager savings amassed over a lifetime of hard work and leave them with no assets for themselves or their heirs. An Ossining elder law attorney who practices in the area of Medicaid planning can help to avoid those dire consequences.
Do you lose your home if you apply for Medicaid?
Fortunately, your home is not considered to be a countable asset, but there is an equity limit. During the current calendar year, that equity limit is $828,000. However, a Medicaid lien could be placed on your home if you used Medicaid to pay for your long-term care.
Does Medicare pay for everything that it does cover in full?
There are actually a number of out-of-pocket expenses that you must pick up yourself if you are enrolled in the Medicare program. These would include deductibles, co-payments, and premiums. You should certainly budget for these expenses when you are devising your retirement plan.
Being prepared for incapacity
The state would appoint a guardian to manage your affairs if you do nothing to prepare for later life incapacity. To prevent this, you could execute a legally binding document called a durable power of attorney.
When you create a durable power of attorney, you name an agent or attorney-in-fact. If you were to become incapacitated at some point in time, your hand-picked representative would be legally empowered to act as your representative.
If you have questions regarding elder law issues or any other estate planning matters, please contact the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Mary A. Miller, P.C. for a consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us at (914) 939-6565. We are here to help!
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