Elder Law (Elder Care Law) is about empowering you to live independently and with dignity as you age, and to have the financial stability and protection to do so. It comprises most of the topics on this website and, as Elder Law attorneys, we have been practicing all of them on a regular basis for decades combined. Together, those topics can be life-altering. Whether you need long term care, an estate plan, powers of attorney, medical directives, Medicaid, VA Aid and Attendance, probate, or special needs planning, each topic represents an opportunity to avoid a problem or obtain a valuable benefit which can preserve your lifestyle and life’s savings!
Durable Powers of Attorney (DPOA):
When you are no longer competent to act on your own behalf, you also are no longer competent to sign a DPOA. There is no substitute for proper preparation. A DPOA is very inexpensive and very flexible. Yours can become effective upon signing or, if you prefer, only upon your future incapacity (“Springing” DPOA). It can name one person or multiple people (agents) to act on your behalf, either concurrently or consecutively. DPOAs must incorporate all the powers which your loved ones will need, including those to protect assets from Medicaid and VA. However, most standard forms, available on-line and even through many lawyer’s offices, do not include all of the necessary powers. Some clients with pre-existing powers of attorney have had to obtain conservatorships (much more expensive) to accomplish results which would have simple and easy under a more carefully-prepared DPOA. A proper DPOA can be worth your entire estate.
Health Care Directives:
If you remember Terri Schaivo, you know that the only way to make sure your wishes are carried out is to state them on proper forms. A Living Will provides that you don’t want life support treatment if—and only if–you are in certain conditions. An Appointment of Health Care Representative names someone to communicate your wishes when you are unable to do so. A Designation of Future Conservator specifies who shall serve as your conservator if one is ever needed. We can review your existing documents (the laws have changed in recent years) and guide you through the delicate treatment decisions and selection of representatives and alternates. Remember: you never know in advance that you will be in a situation on a given day so that you can execute proper documents the day before.
Nursing Home Issues:
Signing a nursing home admissions agreement for a family member can expose you to a liability greater than your mortgage. Those contracts are prepared by lawyers representing nursing homes’ interests and should be reviewed by lawyers representing your interests. In addition, one wrong move in qualifying a loved one for Medicaid can result in a costly payment gap, conservatorship and lawsuit. We assist residents and family members in avoiding such problems, as well as enforcing residents’ rights, affording care, transitions to home care or assisted living, and protection of the healthier spouse.
Geriatric Care Issues:
Managing the continuum of care through independent living, home care, assisted living, and nursing home care is complicated. Mistakes can deplete resources, thereby forcing your advancement to the next level of care before you medically need it. There are no do-overs. We comprehensively help families assess the critical issues, evaluate the options, develop a sustainable plan, coordinate support services, and holistically empower you to thrive and succeed. In doing so, we bring to bear our decades of experience assisting families like yours, and our collaborative relationships with area senior service providers. Through proper planning and implementation, you can maximize your enjoyment of each stage of life.