About Elder Law and Medicaid Consultations

Elder Law Advice
Medicaid Advice (Medicaid Planning)


Elder Law Advice

An attorney specializing in elder law helps older people and their families or caregivers with elder-specific legal issues, estate planning and long term care planning.

Many of these attorneys spent a great deal of their time helping individuals or couples qualify for Medicaid and preserve assets from Medicaid spend down and recovery. Property ownership, special transfer allowances, application for hardship review, Miller trusts and family-beneficial use of spend down monies are areas where their services can protect family members and healthy spouses from undue hardship. Although they typically can't charge to fill out a Medicaid application, elder lawyers, through advice and guidance, can often accelerate the approval process saving the family a great deal of money. This often more than compensates for their fee.

On the other hand many elder attorneys do not just limit their practice to Medicaid planning but help elders and their families with all types of issues. Below is a partial list of what an elder or Elder Law attorney might do:

  • Preservation or transfer of assets seeking to avoid spousal impoverishment when a spouse enters a nursing home
  • Medicaid qualification and application and Medicaid planning strategies
  • Medicare claims and appeals
  • Social security and disability claims and appeals
  • Supplemental and long term health insurance issues
  • Disability planning, including use of durable powers of attorney, living trusts, "living wills," for financial management and health care decisions, and other means of delegating management and decision-making to another in case of incompetency or incapacity
  • Conservatorships and guardianships
  • Estate planning, including planning for the management of one's estate during life and its disposition on death through the use of trusts, wills and other planning documents
  • Probate
  • Administration and management of trusts and estates
  • Long term care placements in nursing home and life care communities
  • Nursing home issues including questions of patients' rights and nursing home quality
  • Elder abuse and fraud recovery cases
  • Housing issues, including discrimination and home equity conversions (reverse mortgage)
  • Age discrimination in employment
  • Retirement, including public and private retirement benefits, survivor benefits and pension benefits
  • Health law
  • Mental health law


Medicaid Advice (Medicaid Planning)

A person facing the prospect of long-term care with moderate income and assets may eventually have to rely on Medicaid to pay part or all of the cost of care. But many states rob a healthy spouse of a previously adequate income by allowing too little in protected resources and income. Likewise, children, relatives and friends are not recognized for the financial sacrifices they make in providing the early care before a recipient becomes bad enough to need Medicaid funded professional help.

Medicaid planning, using a professional Medicaid planning advisor or qualified elder law attorney, allows you to correct inequities in the system. Medicaid planning has gotten a bad name because some individuals, who would normally have too many assets to ever qualify for Medicaid, deliberately use it, many years in advance, to give away everything to their family so as to qualify for Medicaid. It is wrong to abuse the system in this way and to use taxpayer dollars to insure an inheritance for the family. And if that person is not anticipating immediate care, this strategy is just plain dumb.

Medicaid planning is no different from tax planning. In fact a Supreme Court decision condones honest methods of eliminating income taxes or estate taxes. Just like tax planning, Medicaid planning uses existing laws to structure legal strategies.

Tax planning and Medicaid planning both put an additional burden on taxpayers, but one is considered ethical and the other not.

We believe that all strategies have their place in the scheme of things. Medicaid planning fits certain circumstances usually where families are in a crisis mode trying to preserve a few assets such as a house or a savings plan. There is no attempt to take advantage of the taxpayers. Using other strategies for paying the cost of care is much better for a younger generation wanting a plan that will allow for home care, assisted living and a choice in care services.