Elder Law is a relatively new specialized field of law that deals with the issues faced by the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, the elderly. The major subject areas of elder law are:
- Dealing with the high costs of long-term care in a nursing home or elsewhere, and becoming eligible for Medicaid or other governmental programs to pay for such care;
- Estate Planning to pass assets to the next generation ( wills and trusts);
- Planning for incompetency ( powers of attorney / guardianships);
- Health care decision-making.
“Medicaid planning” has become more complicated since Congress passed the Deficit Reduction Act in December 2005. That law lengthened the “lookback period” from 3 years to 5 years ( gifts of assets made during the lookback period before applying for Medicaid affect someone’s eligibility).
However, despite that change in the law, it is important to note that many good planning strategies still remain in effect to help seniors with preserving their assets and qualifying for Medicaid and other programs to pay for the cost of care. Even when the elderly person is already in a nursing home and has not done any advance planning, there are still legally-proper techniques that can be used to preserve a substantial portion of his/her funds for family members, and to help the resident qualify for Medicaid.
We provide sound and knowledgeable legal advice about the Medicaid eligibility rules, and assist clients with implementing asset-protection strategies. The elderly person’s share of the burdensome costs of long-term care can thereby be reduced.