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Elder Law

Elder Law & Medicaid Planning

Only hire an Elder Law attorney for Medicaid and long term care issues.

Medicaid has a maze of complex rules and regulations that most people find almost impossible to understand and navigate. Unless they’re Elder Law practitioners, even attorneys are generally ill-equipped to provide accurate advice about the Medicaid system and the strategies that can properly be used to protect clients’ money, property, or income. Wrong or incomplete advice can cost you a fortune.

As an example, in a number of cases we have reviewed documents drafted by other law firms that created trusts for clients, which supposedly protected their assets from Medicaid’s “spend down” rules. Unfortunately, we found that the language in these trust agreements allowed the clients access to principal funds, thereby nullifying any protection the trusts might have provided. Trusts established for long-term care planning require very specific, tightly-worded provisions in order to function properly, and to withstand Medicaid scrutiny.

An Elder Law attorney is not the same as an estate planning lawyer. This is a recurrent fallacy, based on a misunderstanding of the difference between Elder and estate law. Elder Law planning seeks to preserve your money, income and assets, to be used for your benefit and care while you’re still alive. Estate planning focuses on distribution of your assets, typically in a tax-advantaged manner, after you die.

While Elder Law strategies often involve estate and tax planning, the two practices are different. If you need long-term home or nursing facility care, your needs will best be served by an Elder Law attorney.

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