3 Situations Where You Might Need a Full-Service Elder Law Attorney
Oct. 19, 2021
Elder law attorneys are not just for eldercare. There are many situations where elder law advice is needed, even if elder care is not an issue. To determine whether you need a full-service elder law attorney to help with your situation, take a look at these 3 situations:
You have been named as the executor of someone's will but don't know what that entails
You want to protect your assets from being spent down by Medicaid
You want to plan for how you would like to live now and in the future
Let’s start by looking at the first situation - when you’ve been named executor, but don’t know what to do.
You Have Been Named Executor of Someone’s Will
A lawyer who practices elder law can guide executors through all of the various steps involved in settling a will. This includes advising executors on how to administer an estate, filing income tax returns and paying any taxes that may be due from the estate's funds, locating beneficiaries, notifying those people if necessary, and filing the executor's final tax return.
An executor can also seek advice on how to deal with challenges to a will, such as claims by someone named in the document that it was signed under duress or forged. With proper guidance from an elder law attorney, executors should be able to achieve all of their goals without running into legal trouble.
Elder law attorneys can also be useful for executors on a more personal level, as their services may extend to helping executors determine how much of the estate they are entitled to receive and which assets they should keep or distribute among beneficiaries named under the will. This guidance is particularly important if there are disputes between different family members over how to distribute the estate.
You Want to Protect Your Assets From Being Spent Down By Medicaid
Another way an elder law attorney can help is by making sure you are aware of what assets are “exempt” for Medicaid purposes. There are some exceptions for countable resources, including your house and vehicle if they meet certain requirements. Also, there are sometimes income exemptions that individuals may qualify to receive which will not affect their Medicaid eligibility.
In a nutshell, elder law attorneys can help you determine if you or your loved ones may be able to take advantage of Medicaid for medical expenses while still protecting your hard-earned assets. This is especially important given the growing costs of medical care for the elderly and terminally ill - something which can drastically reduce the size of the estate you leave behind for the benefit of your children.
You Want to Plan for How You Would Like to Live Now and in the Future
An elder law or estate planning attorney is trained to help you find estate tax reduction strategies, like proper use of trusts and life insurance. They can also help you understand state requirements for end-of-life matters like wills, advanced directives, and power of attorney documents. Depending on your goals, an estate planning attorney may also help your loved ones avoid probate - a public legal process that can be costly and time-consuming.
Finally, an estate planning attorney can advise you on benefits like social security, medicare, and veterans’ benefits - and how you can maximize those benefits during your lifetime (without negatively impacting your loved ones).
Our Office Can Help With All Your Estate Planning Needs
If you have questions about being appointed executor, applying for Medicaid, or would simply like to know how to plan for your future, contact my office for a free strategy session. I can help you protect your loved ones and preserve your legacy, no matter what your specific goals may entail.
Don’t Hide the Negative. Life isn’t perfect or easy, and parents who try to hide this fact do their children a disservice. Help your children deal with adversity with honesty and transparency. By discussing negative events and consequences, you’ll likely establish a deeper bond with your child and help them understand that they are a part of something larger than themselves.